last modified: Monday - VI- 25 - 2007   

Saint Ignatius Loyola: Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome



The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola in Pictures

The following pictures have come to me by way of the late Father Joseph MacDonnell, S.J. who acquired them from the John J. Burns Library of Boston College through the Burns Library director, Robert O'Neil. They were originally produced in 1673 by early fathers of the Society of Jesus and printed "chez Michel Cnobbaert, a L'enseigne de S.Pierre." I have taken the liberty to correct some of Fr. MacDonnell's titles that accompanied the drawings as well as the order in which they appear. I also added captions, mostly taken from the Exercises and Scripture quotations from the N.A.B.

John Brown, S.J.

Approval of the Spiritual Exercises by Pope Paul III

    ...Our beloved son Ignatius de Loyola, General of the Society of Jesus... has compiled certain instructions, or Spiritual Exercises, drawn from Holy Writ and from experience in the spiritual life, and has reduced them to an order which is excellently adapted to move piously the souls of the faithful...
--- 31 July, 1548,
Pope Paul III


An Inspired Ignatius

    As he went along occupied with his devotions, he sat down for a little while with his face toward the river, which ran down below. While he was seated there, the eyes of his understanding began to open...
--- The Autobiography of St. Ignatius Loyola


The Foundation

    Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created...
--- S.E., 1st Week,
Principle and Foundation


The Particular Examen

    Then let him make the first Examen, asking account of his soul of that particular thing proposed, which he wants to correct and amend. Let him go over hour by hour, or period by period, commencing at the hour he rose, and continuing up to the hour and instant of the present examen...
--- S.E., 1st Week,
Particular Examen


The General Examen

    The first Point is to give thanks to God our Lord for the benefits received. The second, to ask grace to know our sins and cast them out. The third, to ask account of our soul from the hour that we rose up to the present Examen... The fourth, to ask pardon of God our Lord for the faults. The fifth, to purpose amendment with His grace.
--- S.E., 1st Week,
General Examen


Sin of the Angels

    ...they, being created in grace, not wanting to help themselves with their liberty to reverence and obey their Creator and Lord, coming to pride, were changed from grace to malice, and hurled from Heaven to Hell...
--- S.E., 1st Week,
1st Exercise, 1st Point



    ...bringing into comparison with the one sin of the Angels my so many sins, and reflecting, while they for one sin were cast into Hell, how often I have deserved it for so many.
--- S.E., 1st Week,
1st Exercise, 1st Point


Hell will be here to ask for interior sense of the pain which the damned suffer, in order that, if, through my faults, I should forget the love of the Eternal Lord, at least the fear of the pains may help me not to come into sin.
--- S.E., 1st Week,
5th Exercise, 2nd Prelude


Death consider, as if I were at the point of death, the form and measure which I would then want to have kept in the way of the present election...
--- S.E., 2nd Week,
2nd Way, 3rd Rule



    ... looking and considering how I shall find myself on the Day of Judgment, to think how I would then want to have deliberated about the present matter, and to take now the rule which I would then wish to have kept, in order that I may then find myself in entire pleasure and joy.
--- S.E., 2nd Week,
2nd Way, 4th Rule



    ... to see ... the great fires, and the souls as in bodies of fire... to hear ... wailings, howlings, cries, blasphemies against Christ our Lord and against all His Saints... to smell ... smoke, sulphur, dregs and putrid things ... to taste ... bitter things, like tears, sadness and the worm of conscience ... how the fires touch and burn the souls.
--- S.E., 1st Week,
5th Exercise, 1st Point


The Prodigal Son

    Coming to his senses he thought, "How many of my father's hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger."
--- Luke 15:17


Christ the King

    "It is my Will to conquer all the land of unbelievers. Therefore, whoever would like to come with me is to be content to eat as I, and also to drink and dress, etc., as I: likewise he is to labor like me in the day and watch in the night, etc., that so afterwards he may have part with me in the victory, as he has had it in the labors."
--- S.E., 2nd Week,
Call of King, 2nd Point


The Annunciation

    And coming to her, he said, "Hail favored one! The Lord is with you."
--- Luke 1:28

... To see Our Lady, and the Angel who is saluting her, and to reflect in order to get profit from such a sight.
--- S.E., 2nd Week,
The Incarnation, 1st Point


The Nativity

    ... to see Our Lady and Joseph and the maid, and, after His Birth, the Child Jesus, I making myself a poor creature and a wretch of an unworthy slave, looking at them and serving them in their needs, with all possible respect and reverence, as if I found myself present; and then to reflect on myself in order to draw some profit.
--- S.E., 2nd Week,
The Nativity, 1st Point


The Two Standards

    The one of Christ, our Commander-in-chief and Lord; the other of Lucifer, mortal enemy of our human nature.
--- S.E., 2nd Week,
The Two Standards, intro


The Three Classes

    The third want to rid themselves of the attachment, but want so to rid themselves of it that they have even no liking for it, to keep the thing acquired or not to keep it, but only want to want it or not want it according as God our Lord will put in their will and as will appear to them better for the service and praise of His Divine Majesty...
--- S.E., 2nd Week,
The Three Pairs of Men, 3rd Pair


The Three Degrees of Humility

    ... I want and choose poverty with Christ poor rather than riches, opprobrium with Christ replete with it rather than honors; and to desire to be rated as worthless and a fool for Christ, Who first was held as such, rather than wise or prudent in this world.
--- S.E., 2nd Week,
The Three Degrees of Humility, 3rd Humility


The Election

    ... when enough light and knowledge is received by experience of consolations and desolations, and by the experience of the discernment of various spirits...
--- S.E., 2nd Week,
Good Election, 2nd Time


The Washing of Feet

    Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples feet and dry them with the towel around his waist.
--- John 13:5


The Arrest in the Garden

    So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
--- John 18:3


The Apparition to the Blessed Virgin

    He appeared to the Virgin Mary. This, although it is not said in Scripture, is included in saying that He appeared to so many others, because Scripture supposes that we have understanding, as it is written: "Are you also without understanding?"
--- S.E., Mysteries of the Life of Christ,
Resurrection, 1st Point


The Contempaltion to Gain Love

    First, it is well to remark two things: the first is that love ought to be put more in deeds than in words. The second, love consists in interchange between the two parties... So that if the one has knowledge, he give to the one who has it not. The same of honors, of riches; and so the one to the other.
--- S.E., Contemplation to Gain Love


Daily Meditation

    The petition has to be according to the subject matter; that is, if the contemplation is on the Resurrection, one is to ask for joy with Christ in joy; if it is on the Passion, he is to ask for pain, tears and torment with Christ in torment.
--- S.E., Meditation on Sin,
2nd Prelude