Wild Ignatius


Holly Rockwell            

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius offer powerful tools for developing greater intimacy with God. Further, this awakening to God's presence in all things opens us to a new way of being in the world providing a solid base from which to expand our ideas about justice and the beloved community to include other species and generations of people yet unborn. Applying Ignatian practices from an eco-spirituality perspective connects us to the role nature can play in that process. 

Ignatius understood that true relationship arises from the particular. Often an encounter in nature is more than an observation of beauty or a moment of peace—it is an opening into Mystery, a felt experience of connection to the source of all that is. Nature offers us a way to encounter God in a particularly intimate way.  

Participants will explore the “Book of Nature” using various practices (outside where possible) including contemplation, Terra Divina, sensory exploration, and their imagination and memory. We will alternate between experiences in or of nature and group sharing. Over 8 weeks, we will move through the 4 weeks of the Ignatian Exercises, exploring our relationships with an untamed God, the natural world, and our own wild souls in light of God’s unceasing creative love.

In “week one,” we contemplate creation to open our hearts to God’s revelation of love. The practices of gospel contemplation and the eco-awareness examen are introduced as well as an ecological approach to the principle and foundation.

In “week two,” we consider the Incarnation, the birth of Jesus, and God alive in all that is. We begin to consider the beings of creation as kin, beloved of God and with intrinsic value of their own. We wonder how live in communion with nature in order to cooperate with God’s dream for the world. 

In “week 3,” our focus shifts and we sorrow with Jesus. We mourn the desecration of creation. We ask God for the grace to both appreciate the beauty and interconnectedness of all created things, and my place in this web of life that also includes violence, sacrifice, and death.

Finally, in “week 4,” we move toward wild hope. We engage with the contemplation to love as God loves, seeking the awareness and the will to work alongside God in creation. 

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