Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, which reflects the standard volume of learning for a unit in a University qualification of this Australian Qualifications Framework type.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Graduates of programs in Spiritual Direction should develop knowledge and skills in this discipline and be able to reflect critically on the ways in which their personal development impacts upon their professional roles. In this unit, students will undertake an in-depth study of their experience of the four “Weeks” of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius as an Exercitant. Because a director’s lived experience of the Spiritual Exercises is his or her main resource, the aim of this unit is to help the student to reflect on and deepen this experience. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Synthesise their lived experience of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (GA5);

LO2 - Distinguish (in their own experience) the different modes of the Exercises, namely the purgative or healing mode (The First Week), the illuminative mode (The Second Week), and the unitive mode (The Third and Fourth Weeks) (GA5);

LO3 - Articulate the graces received during the Spiritual Exercises (GA7);

LO4 - Situate the experience of the Spiritual Exercises in the context of his or her life journey (GA5).

Graduate attributes

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 


In this unit a significant proportion of time will be devoted to reflecting on the lived experience of making the Spiritual Exercises. It will involve engaging critically and reflexively with one’s own and others’ experience.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

THSP501 will be delivered in multi-mode, that is, in various combinations of face to face and mediated learning environments, utilising strategies which may include:

  • Self-directed activities (such as completing scaffolded reading tasks or web-based exercises) which enable each student to build a detailed understanding of a topic;
  • Small-group tasks and activities (such as contributing to discussion forums or undertaking peer review) which enable students to test, critique, expand and evaluate their understandings;
  • Plenary seminars and webinars which enable students to link their understandings with larger frameworks of knowledge and alternative interpretations of ideas;
  • Practical or fieldwork activities which enable students to rehearse skills necessary to the discipline and to be mentored in that practice;
  • Critically reflective activities (such as a guided Examen or private journal-writing) which assist students to learn reflexively, that is, to identify their affective responses to the learning and to integrate their learning with action.

The unit is delivered with the expectation that participants are adult learners, intrinsically motivated and prepared to reflect critically on issues as well as on their own learning and perspectives.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to complete all assessment tasks and achieve an overall minimum grade of pass. All assessment tasks are designed for students to show their achievement of each learning outcome and graduate attribute. They require students to demonstrate the nexus between their learning, dispositions, and spiritual practice, and the evidence on which this demonstration is based.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Critical engagement with and contributions to online forum discussions (equivalent to 1000 words). This task is designed to assist students to process their experience of the Spiritual Exercises.




Presentation (30 mins, including 10 mins discussion). This task is designed to assist students to process their experience of the Spiritual Exercises in the context of peer discussion. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA5, GA7

Integrative essay (3000 words). This task is designed to enable students to consolidate their learning in narrative form by reflecting critically on their experience of the Spiritual Exercises


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA5, GA7

Representative texts and references

Barry, William A. Letting God Come Close: An Approach to the Spiritual Exercises.Chicago: Loyola University Press, 2001.

De Mello, Antony. Seek God Everywhere: Reflections on the Spiritual Exercies of Saint Ignatius. New York: Doubleday, 2010.

Coleman, Gerald. Walking with Inigo: A Commentary on the Autobiography of St, Ignatius. Gujarat: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 2001.

Dyckman, Katherine, Mary Garvin, and Elizabeth Liebert. The Spiritual Exercises Reclaimed: Uncovering Liberating Possibilities for Women. Manwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 2001.

Gallagher, Timothy M. The Discernment of Spirits : An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living. New York: Crossroad Pub. Co., 2005.

Ivens, Michael. Understanding the Spiritual Exercises. Surrey: Inigo Enterprises, 1998.

O'Brien, Kevin F. The Ignatian Adventure : Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius in Daily Life. Chicago: Loyola Press, 2011.

Tetlow, Joseph. Choosing Christ in the World: Directing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2000.

Tylenda, Joseph. A Pilgrim’s Journey: The Autobiography of St. Ignatius Loyola. revised ed, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2001.

Williams, Monty. The Gift of Spiritual Intimacy: Following the Spiritual Exeries of Saint Ignatius. Toronto: Novalis Publishing, 2009.

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