Accessible Ignatian Spirituality

By Fr. Andy Alexander, SJ 

Fr. Andy Alexander, SJ

Fr. Andy Alexander, SJ
Soon after we began our work together at Creighton University in 1997, Maureen McCann Waldron and I decided to use the Internet to offer Ignatian spiritual resources to help faculty and staff understand and contribute to the university's mission. It started with web-based daily reflections. Soon, people from around the world were reading reflections written by 60 faculty and staff members.

In our new employee orientations, people would ask where they could find a copy of the Spiritual Exercises. In response, Maureen and I spent eight months translating the movements of the Exercises into an online experience with which busy people could pray. The online retreat became a new adaptation, which we thought Ignatius would enjoy.

How does it work? For the 34 weeks of the retreat, we invite busy people to put a specific grace for that week into the background of their consciousness as they go about their daily lives. That movement starts to interact with ordinary things, which engage retreatants’ minds and hearts.  One week builds upon another.

This effort was collaborative. Father Larry Gillick, SJ, wrote weekly reflections for the retreat, and Fr. Don Doll, SJ, gave us his powerful photos to use. The retreat is in five languages, including Chinese.

People have a variety of experiences on these retreats. Some experience being a loved sinner. Others have their first experience of being invited by Jesus to join him in his mission. Many learn to have a relationship with Jesus, to fall in love with him and desire to be with him and like him. Some people do the retreat alone. Others do it with a director, with a spouse, or in a sharing group. They often share posts on the website about the graces they are receiving.

Eventually, we created a Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer. It lays out the daily Mass readings and suggests how to stay focused during the week. We also collected preached audio retreats given by Jesuits. People listen to these MP3 files in their cars, on the way to work, or while exercising. In addition, we have videos of mission talks we sponsored, parish missions with which we have participated, and other presentations at Creighton.

Our site has many available resources that correspond with the seasons of the year. Frequently, we share links to Pope Francis’ homilies or writings.

People tell us our site’s many features are down-to-earth. Our ministry gives them a feel for a spirituality that helps them enter into an encounter with our Lord in their everyday lives. Any one of us who writes a reflection hears from people expressing gratitude from around the world. One user wrote, “Air, coffee, and your site. What I need to begin every day.”

Why not try it out? Google “Creighton’s Online Ministries,” and join us. 

To learn more about Creighton's web ministries, visit

Fr. Andy Alexander, SJ, is director of the Collaborative Ministry Office at Creighton University. In 2016, Creighton’s Online Ministries website received 65 million hits from all over the world, 25 million hits more than the year before.

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Sioux Spiritual Center
The Sioux Spiritual Center, nestled amid the hills of western South Dakota, is the heart of the Diocese of Rapid City’s efforts to develop native clergy and leadership on the reservations.