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 Ignatian Spirituality 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 various roles. This unit will help participants deepen their understanding of Ignatian spirituality as described by Saint Ignatius of Loyola in his Autobiography and locate it within the general context of Christian spirituality. The emphases of the unit will be the life of Ignatius, and core concepts and practices in Ignatian spirituality. The aim of the unit is for students to appreciate the uniqueness and efficacy of the Ignatian approach within the Christian spiritual tradition.

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 Articulate a detailed theoretical understanding of the Ignatian approach to prayer, desire, discernment and action (GA5);

LO2  Reflect on their experience of applying Ignatian practices in their own spiritual lives, in light of the literature on Ignatian spirituality (GA5);

LO3      Describe and illustrate the relevance of Ignatian spirituality in today’s world (GA2).

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

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


Topics will include:

  • Christian spirituality: an introduction to its history;
  • The life of Ignatius Loyola;
  • Distinctive Ignatian spiritual concepts;
  • Distinctive Ignatian spiritual practices;
  • Incarnating Ignatian spirituality;
  • Contemporary relevance of Ignatian spirituality and its application in a variety of ministerial contexts.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

THSP511 will be delivered in face to face mode, as two weekend intensives (Friday evening to Sunday afternoon), eight weeks apart.

In-between the intensives, each student will make an individually-guided retreat in daily life during which the student will pray each day, make the Examen and see a retreat director once a week. The pattern of each weekend will include (i) lecturer’s input, (ii) students’ prayer and personal reflection, and (iii) sharing in facilitated small groups. Additional resources requiring critical reflection and peer interaction will be given.

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 reflection (3000-words) on retreat experience based on extensive journal notes. This task is designed to enable students to bring the experience of the retreat, its personal impact, and its Ignatian inflections into view for critical examination.




Essay (3000-words) on the distinctiveness of Ignatian spirituality and its relevance in today’s world. This task is designed to provide students with the opportunity to integrate their understanding of the historical and spiritual material of the unit, with a critical reading of contemporary contexts and the ways in which Ignatian spirituality can speak positively within those contexts.


LO1, LO3

GA2, GA5

Representative texts and references

* Recommended for purchase

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

Divarkar, Parmananda. A Pilgrim’s Testament: The Memoirs of St Ignatius of Loyola. No. 13 in Series I: Jesuit Primary Sources in English Translations. St. Louis, MO: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2006.* 

Dyckman, Katherine et al. The Spiritual Exercises Reclaimed: Uncovering Liberating Possibilities for Women. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2001.

Fleming, David. Draw Me into your Friendship: The Spiritual Exercises. St. Louis, MO: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1996.*

Gallagher, Timothy. The Discernment of Spirits: The Ignatian Rule for Everyday Life. New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2005.

Gallagher, Timothy. The Examen Prayer: Ignatian Wisdom for our Lives Today. New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2006.

Ivens, Michael. Understanding the Spiritual Exercises. Surrey, UK: Inigo Enterprises, 2000.

Silf, Margaret. Inner Compass: An Invitation to Ignatian Spirituality. 5th ed., revised. Chicago, IL: Loyola Press, 2007.

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

Thibodeaux, Mark. God’s Voice Within. Chicago, IL: Loyola Press, 2010.

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