Campus Ministry

Campus Ministry

The Spiritual Exercises at Canisius College 

The Spiritual Exercises of the Jesuits are a set of prayers and meditations designed hundreds of years ago by Saint Ignatius, with the express purpose of freeing us from a kind of false self with its destructive patterns, or anything addicting, in order that we may discover and love our True Self which longs to walk in union with God. The Spiritual Exercises are Catholic but have a universal and evolutionary design that makes them inherently accessible to people of all faith traditions. The Exercises are a door to discovering your own Spirituality. At Canisius College we invite you to do these Exercises and review your experience with a trained spiritual companion who helps you understand these experiences.

The Jesuits and our friends here at Canisius College are involved in God’s adventure into the world of today. Our Journey was born from our experience of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. If you want to explore your most authentic self and enjoy new discoveries in your relationship with God, who loves you and our world and has a special place for you in this mission, please consider doing some form of the Spiritual Exercises described here.

Click to hear Dr Michael Pardales speak about how The Exercises, as a conceptual framework, gave him a method to connect with his own spirituality, at his own pace

INVITATION: The Spiritual Exercises at Canisius College

The goal of the Spiritual Exercises is to free us from the false self with its destructive patterns that we may discover and love our True Self, which longs to walk in union with God. The Spiritual Exercises are Catholic, and have a universal and evolutionary design that makes them inherently accessible to people of all faith traditions. We invite you to do the Exercises with a trained spiritual companion.

The Spiritual Exercises are not a “one size fits all” program, but are hand tailored to each person to fit your current desires and hopes.  We invite you to take a step gently into your spirituality, at a pace that is suitable for you.  The length of your reflective prayer and frequency of meetings with a Spiritual Director depends on your current desires and availability. 

“Programs” for Staff, Faculty and Students that are popular today:

  1. Online Daily “Three Minute Retreat” from Loyola (provides a daily email with music & Pictures).
  2. Integrating the Examen into Your Daily Life – From Gratitude to Love
  3. Doing The Spiritual Exercises, adapted to your, time and energy
  4. Doing the full Spiritual Exercises over an eight month period*
  5. A Lenten or Advent Retreat
  6. For faculty, “The Other Retreat,” a Reflective Experience tailored for  those involved in writing and teaching.

Who will benefit from the Spiritual Exercises?
* Individuals who seek to discern their profession. 
* Those who desire to grow in their relationships with God and Mystery. 
* Those who want to integrate Jesuit spirituality into their lives. 
* Those who experience doubt, or feel they do not belong to anything. 
* Those interested in the “Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm.” 
* Those who have important decisions to make.
* Those wanting to balance personal spirituality with a busy life. 
* Those who are in transition.
* Those who want to be part of God’s transformation of the world. 

When do the Spiritual Exercises Begin?  

    a) The Spiritual Exercises start at the beginning of each academic year.
    b) Fr. Tom would like to chat with you before we begin, to design what fits you.
    c) Some retreats are seasonal and begin with Lent or Advent

What do these Spiritual Exercises require?

The Spiritual Exercises depend on your current desires and availability. These experiences involve prayer in your everyday life and meeting regularly with a person trained as an Ignatian Prayer Guide.  The Spiritual Exercises are individually adapted to each person’s spirituality, and perspective.  Ignatian spirituality will deepen your own spirituality, whether it is Christian or ‘other.’ There is a monthly free luncheon meeting for everybody involved.  There is no required sharing. 

If you are interested, email Fr. Tom Colgan, S.J.,  or call  888-2488. 

Spiritual Directors include laymen and women, sisters and priests.

"The Spiritual Exercises were a life-changing experience for me." This quote is frequently spoken by people who have completed the 28 week retreat which begins in mid-September and ends in mid-May. The goal of the retreat is the quest for spiritual freedom and an increased awareness and ability to "find God in all things." Each person making the retreat at Canisius College is accompanied by a trained Prayer Guide. The application process includes a personal interview.

If you want to hear more from those who have experienced the Spiritual Exercises, see the videos below of faculty, alumni and staff who will share with you their experience. 

Canisius Faculty:  

Professor Steven Chanderbhan shares how The Exercises supported his integration of head and heart as a teacher, how challenging the time factor is for faculty, and how fruitful it is to make the time for this. 

Click to Watch Video

Canisius Staff:

Image of Michael Pardales

Michael Pardales, Dean of Education and Human Services, also shares how time became a gift of the Exercises. Doctor Pardales shares about doing the Exercises as a Greek Orthodox Christian, and how Ignatian Spirituality deals with core issues that transcend many faith traditions.

Click to Watch Video

Canisius Alumni:

Image of Clare Dean

Clare Dean, a member of the Canisius Alumni Board, shares on the Spiritual Exercises Program that is available for alumni. She shares her growing realization that God is present and how God helps us with important choices. 

Click to Watch Video

Do you have more questions or want to apply?

Contact Fr.Tom Colgan, SJ at 716-888-2488 or email
Spiritual Directors include priests and sisters, laymen and women.