To see the list of Spiritual Exercises offered by the IVE throughout the year you can find it here.
The great Spanish knight Ignatius of Loyola underwent a spectacular conversion to God while he was recuperating from wounds received in battle. While he was bedridden, the only books that he had available to read were the Gospels and the lives of the saints, and as he read these books, he felt a great consolation that he had never before felt, along with the desire to imitate these saints.
As he underwent his own conversion, St. Ignatius recorded these spiritual experiences. He was then inspired to organize them into a book that could help others have the same profound experience of God. This is how the Book of the Spiritual Exercises was born.
The book contains a series of practical instructions, and meditations arranged in such a manner as to help the exercitant (the person going through the Exercises) come to a deeper knowledge of both himself and God. St. Ignatius' intention is leading the exercitant to a renewed conversion and reformation of his life. This is why the title reads: "Spiritual Exercises which have as their goal the conquest of self and the regulation of one's life..." 
Now, Ignatius' plan is not just the dictation of pious sermons or meditations; instead, his program is to bring the soul through a purification of any inordinate (that is, improper) attachment and then bring his mind and will into a unique union with God:
This is St. Ignatius great plan:
1st: To reform what is deformed (in the soul).
2nd: To conform (to Christ) what is reformed.
3rd: To confirm what is conformed.
4th: To transform what is confirmed.
St. Ignatius has a great knowledge of the human soul, its nature, man's psychology, his weaknesses, and his fears. This is why his plan fits with any Christian soul, regardless of how advanced it isin the spiritual life or how far it is from perfection; for everyone the Spiritual Exercises can help lead to union with God.
There's another important step in St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises—one which distinguishes it from any other—and this is the proposal of the rules to make a choice of a way of life [169-188] (for those who are discerning vocation to marriage or priesthood this is especially enlightening). If there is no matter about which to make a major life choice, the Spiritual Exercises still propose directions for the amendment and reformation of one's way of living in his current state of life.  Through these directions, St. Ignatius helps the exercitant to prepare to go back to the world with specific resolutions, purposes, goals for the different aspects of his life (spiritual life, family life, work, etc.).
But all of this won't be expected at the very beginning. St. Ignatius helps prepare the soul (the intellect and the will) to be ready to accept God's will. He knows that we have the temptation to simply propose what we already want and then to try and bring God to accept our own decisions. No way! St. Ignatius helps bring the soul to discover God's will and accept God's own plans for us. This is why he requests "generosity with God" from the very beginning.
Now, you may wonder why St. Ignatius called these meditations and different activities "exercises". It is because they require a real effort on the part of the exercitant. The Spiritual Exercises are definitely not a vacation, nor are they just a series of nice talks or simply a way to learn more about God. They are real exercise for the soul. Just as we do corporeal exercises to be in good physical shape (and it demands sacrifice and a strong will to persevere with them), so too the Spiritual Exercises will demand a lot of spiritual work. But the sanctification of our souls is worth it!
Doing the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises means spending a few days away from the world, following the instructions that St. Ignatius gave in his book, and under the direction of an experienced priest. A unique characteristic of these Spiritual Exercises is that they are taken in silence—this is an essential aspect of the retreat. Although many people might think it's impossible to spend a few days without talking, most of those who have gone through the Spiritual Exercises have found the silence to be extremely valuable and easier to do than they first thought. In particular, they find that keeping silence helps in producing a fruitful and deep understanding of spiritual matters, as well as enhancing their personal communication with God.
The priests of the Institute of the Incarnate Word often preach the Exercises both for other religious men and women of the same Institute, as well as for any lay men and women who want to experience them. Try spending a few days in silence, doing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, and see what God says to you.
*This information is taken from our website: www.iveignatianexercises.org
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