What are the Exercises?

St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, developed the Spiritual Exercises so that people could retreat for 30 days of prayer and silence to grow in their relationship with God and learn to listen for the voice of the Spirit in their lives.


Eventually, he also adapted these Exercises for people who could not, for various reasons, go away for 30 days. This adaptation, called the 19th Annotation, is the basis of the SEEL retreat. It invites people to experience the Exercises with the guidance of a spiritual director over a period of nine months, while continuing to live their daily lives.

Image by Thays Orrico

About SEEL Portland

SEEL Portland is a ministry of Jesuits West which gives people the opportunity to experience the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius in their everyday lives over a period of nine months. The Spiritual Exercises are composed of meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices developed by St. Ignatius Loyola to help people deepen their relationship with God. The Exercises present a pathway to deeper prayer, good decisions guided by keen discernment, and an active life of service to others.

To learn more about SEEL, please email Jeanette at



SEEL Portland would like to offer an Ignatian “virtue of the month” in honor of our patron and founder of the Society of Jesus.

November – the Virtue of Generosity: The Call of the King

“Whoever wishes to come with me must labor with me.”  (Spiritual Exercise 95)

This is the month where we express thanksgiving, where we express gratitude. Last August, we explored the virtue of Gratitude:

Gratitude is at the heart of the Spiritual Exercises-Ignatius asks us to ponder a Creator who created us out of love and who continues to create us each moment of our lives.  Gratitude is intentional – perhaps we could see each day as a gift from a loving Creator, who desires to gift us and love us each day.  Gratitude is a virtue that needs attention, so that we may remember the gift, as well as the giver and open our hearts in love and generosity.

All IS gift!

Ignatius realized that when we develop and “exercise” the virtue of gratitude, we begin to live our lives with an attitude of abundance rather than scarcity. Ignatius asks us to pray for the grace to respond with generosity to the call from our loving Creator to labor and co-create with God so we can live a life of generous and loving service to those in need.