Posts Tagged ‘Jesuit Father Rodney Kissinger’

Jesuit Conducts “Retreats of the Future”

Jesuit Father Rodney Kissinger has been a Jesuit since entering the Society of Jesus in 1942. At 96 years old, Fr. Kissinger still finds the time to help those who are interesting in experiencing the  Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.

In February 2004, Kissinger wrote an article for the print version of National Jesuit News explaining his idea of conducting retreats using the power of the internet by having the retreatant and the spiritual director conduct the retreat all via email communications. Since that time, Kissinger has had much success in conducting these very kinds of retreats and now shares with us his experiences and those who have come to him for spiritual guidance and direction. You can find out more about Kissinger’s approach to the Spiritual Exercises by visiting his site at www.frksj.org.

Most of my priestly life of over 60 years has been spent giving the Spiritual Exercises. I have given the preached retreat, the guided retreat, the personally directed retreat, the 19th annotation retreat and now I am giving, with great joy and much success, a type of retreat of which Ignatius could never have even dreamed. And a type of retreat that I am sure the author of the “tantum quantum” and the “magis” would have joyfully embraced. It is the email retreat.

Email is the ideal vehicle for doing the 19th annotation because it is least intrusive into the daily life of the retreatant. My edition of the email retreat runs for 14 weeks. I suggest that the retreatant do at least half an hour of prayer daily and make the exam of consciousness each night. This time frame, however, is flexible and adaptable to the retreatant. One may want to spend another week on one of the meditations; others may have to interrupt the retreat for a medical or business emergency. No problem, I just withhold the next meditation until they are ready. How foolish to try to corral the Holy Spirit into a certain time frame.

Most of the requests for these retreats I have received have come from the laity. We should not be surprised at all of this since Ignatius was a layman when he wrote the Spiritual Exercises and it was as a layman that he gave the first retreat to laymen. He also did a lot of counseling by letter. In fact, it is said that he was one of the most prolific letter writers of his day. How enthusiastically would he have embraced email!

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