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 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. This unit will provide an in-depth study of the key meditations of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius as well as the ‘Rules’ other than the ‘Rules for the Discernment of Spirits’ as outlined by Ignatius (Rules for Alms-giving; Rules for Thinking with the Church; Rules for Eating) from a director’s viewpoint. The aims of this unit are: to introduce students to the key meditations of the Spiritual Exercises and selected Rules; to enable them to reflect on the ways in which they might be engaged in personal and professional practice; and to enhance students’ understanding of the essential elements in the art of giving the Spiritual Exercises. 

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 - Reflect critically on the key meditations of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and his Rules (GA5; GA7);

LO2 - Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the essential elements in the Spiritual Exercises (GA5); 

LO3 - Identify and evaluate the role that each of the key meditations plays in preparing the Exercitant for the Election in the Second Week of the Spiritual Exercises (GA5);

LO4 - Appraise the interplay between selected Rules and the Election (GA5);

LO5 - Articulate and analyse the key knowledge required for the giving of the Spiritual Exercises (GA5).

Graduate attributes

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 


Topics will include:

  • An overview of the structure and dynamic of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius;
  • The Annotations;
  • The principle and Foundation;
  • Key meditations in the Second Week: The Two Standards, The Three Classes of people, Three Kinds of
  • Humility, the Election;
  • Rules for alms-giving, Rules for thinking with the Church, Rules of eating;
  • Knowledge and disposition needed for giving the Spiritual Exercises

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

THSP612 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 direction practice, and the evidence on which this demonstration is based.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Engagement with and contribution to online forums (equivalent to 1000 words). This task is designed to provide students with the opportunity to test and review the quality of their learning in the context of peer discussion.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA5, GA7

Review of literature (1500 words). This task is designed to enable students to demonstrate their ability to engage critically with a range of literature relevant to the content of the unit. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5


Integrative essay (3500 words). This task is designed to enable students to consolidate their learning by reflecting critically on the unit content and considering how they might engage the knowledge and skills in their professional practice.  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5


Representative texts and references

* set texts recommended for purchase

Aschenbrenner, George. Stretched for Greater Glory, What to Expect from the Spiritual Exercises, Chicago: Loyola Press, 2004.

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

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: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living. New York: Crossroad Pub. Co., 2005.

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

Lonsdale, David. Dance to the Music of the Spirit: The Art of Discernment. London: Darton, Longman, Todd, 1992

Munitiz, Joseph A. Philip Endean, and Ignatius. Personal Writings: Reminiscences, Spiritual Diary, Select Letters Including the Text of the Spiritual Exercises. Penguin Classics. London: Penguin Books, 1996.

Tetlow, Joseph. Choosing Christ in the World: A Handbook for Directing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola According to Annotations Eighteen and Nineteen. Saint Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1999.

Williams, Monty. The Gift of Spiritual Intimacy: Following the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. Ottawa: Novalis, 2009.

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