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Who we are
FOREWORD

1 - Nearly 500 years ago, Ignatius of Loyola stayed in Manresa for almost a year (1522-23), after descending from the monastery of Montserrat where, in a memorable vigil before the Black Virgin, he had symbolized his radical change of lifestyle by forsaking the honor of his noble garments and by renouncing the aggressiveness symbolized by his sword.

Ignatius’s stay in Manresa brought about a decisive change in his life.  Here, during long hours of prayer and penance in the Cave, he was radically converted to following the poor and humble Jesus.  In later life, when pressured by his companions, he revealed something of what happened during those moments of transformation. He remembered vividly how once while walking to Saint Paul’s church along the path by the Cardener River, he sat down and watched the river. At that moment the eyes of his understanding began to be opened and he was brought to understand many things, spiritual matters as well as those of faith and learning; everything seemed altogether new to him, as if he were a new man with a new intellect. After that, flooded with light and gratitude, he went to kneel before a nearby cross to give thanks to God.

This was the culmination of Ignatius’s foundational experience in his eleven months in Manresa, a city which since then has become a major point of reference for Ignatian spirituality and all the intellectual, social, educational, cultural and other work that arise from the spirituality.

2 - The Ignatian roots impel us toward new frontiers. and today we stand before a radical change of paradigm. The transformations that the planet is experiencing require new approaches to new challenges, and they also radically affect religions and the spiritual paths that stem from them. Consequently, the proposals we wish to make from our Centre of Spirituality must consider the signs of the times and adapt accordingly.

Just as the Exercises are the bold synthesis that Ignatius drew from the diverse currents of his time, so today we must be as daring as he was and collaborate in the formulation of global, cross-confessional syntheses. The  Enlightenment Ignatius received on the Cardener leads us in this direction. That is why the very site that commemorates this experience contains a spiral tribute which bears the names of mystics of all ages and traditions, descending and ascending from the interior to the exterior of “the Well of Light.”

In his spiritual experience beside the Cardener River, Ignatius––who until that moment had lived in solitude and isolation––felt an ever growing desire and impulse to help others. In like manner, this International Centre seeks to open its horizons to the whole world, with special attention to the victims of poverty, injustice, and every sort of human suffering. And our main inspiration when giving answers to the unexpected challenges of the future will be Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord, who went about doing good and healing all ailments and who was the unfailing reference point of Ignatius’s life.


VISION

The Cave of Saint Ignatius is an International Centre of Spirituality that offers practice, study and training in genuine Ignatian experience.  We do this: 

1.1. Through the practice of the Exercises in their various modes, giving priority to personalized accompaniment, because we are convinced that in these times of uncertainty and change the Ignatian tradition can help us to integrate both interiority and social commitment, both depth of discernment and clarity of action. 

1.2. Through study and formation on the Spiritual Exercises and Ignatian spirituality through courses, seminars and congresses, in close collaboration with the Ignatian School of Spirituality (EIDES, run by the organization Christianity and Justice). In this way an effort is made to adapt and apply Ignatian spirituality to the different circumstances of our world.


As an International Centre of Spirituality, the Cave of Saint Ignatius partakes in the search of so many people––believers and non-believers alike––for new ways of discovering and exploring interiority, while at the same time fighting against “the globalization of superficiality” (Fr. Adolfo Nicolás SJ).

Stirred by Ignatius’ experience of Enlightenment beside the Cardener River, the Centre seeks to engage in dialogue on the frontiers of our confession, always seeking to find answers to the crucial questions of existence and to participate in the creation of a more just and harmonious society. This goal takes concrete form especially in the following ways:

2.1. A range of programs of silence, interiority and contemplation that are inspired by the Ignatian pedagogy of “interior knowledge,” which carries participants into the ineffability of Mystery and moves them to let themselves be touched, like Jesus, by poverty of every sort.

2.2. Theoretical study of interiority in various religious traditions, together with participation in and promotion of forums, seminars and educational spaces.


Drawing on the history of Ignatius and the Society of Jesus, the Cave of Saint Ignatius is an International Centre of Spirituality that pays special attention to teenagers and young people, encouraging them toward growth in faith and “initiation” in the areas described in the two previous points.

3.1. The Centre offers formation aimed at promoting interiority, silence and self-knowledge (through exercises of corporal expression, dance, relaxation, silence, reflection, etc.), thus enabling adolescents to experience the joy of discovering the mystery of the Transcendent in their own hearts and in the heart of life, while at the same time coming to grips with the profound changes they encounter in themselves and others as they grow to maturity.

3.2. The Centre promotes theoretical study of the pedagogy of interiority for adolescents and young people, takes part in forums of reflection on the subject, convokes a permanent seminar of experts, and dedicates special attention to the training of “interiority coaches” who encourage the type of interiority which, following Ignatius, will be valid only if integrated with “exteriority”.


The Cave of Saint Ignatius is an International Centre of Spirituality that understands universality as being fundamental to its mission. In this way we seek to be faithful to Ignatius of Loyola, who had the conviction that “the more universal the good is, the more it is divine”, and at the same time we seek to be in tune with the dynamic of globalization that characterizes our times.

4.1. Therefore, the Centre’s scope of services seeks to attend to the demands, the proposals and the needs arising from different parts of the world, and to do so with a wide range of sensitivities, keeping in view the objectives described in the previous sections.

4.2. In order to achieve this goal satisfactorily, the International Centre of Spirituality will incorporate spiritual guides and teachers from all over the world in order to attain the synergy required for the proper fulfillment of its various objectives

 

MISSION

The year 2022 being the 500th anniversary of Ignatius’s stay in Manresa, we wish to intensify our focus on Manresa and the attraction that for half a millennium it has exercised on countless people as the birthplace of Ignatian spiritualities (both religious and secular) and of all the cultural, social, educational and other work that flow from those spiritualities.

The great “mission” of the Cave of Saint Ignatius (Shrine and International Centre of Spirituality) is to be the “memory” of this originating “source”.

And it will be “memory” (in the most genuinely Ignatian spirit) only if it is creative and lets itself be challenged by the complex reality of our day, with all its “joys and hopes, grief and anguish”.

In this epoch of internationalism and globalization we want to ensure that the Cave of Saint Ignatius will continue to be, as it has been for 500 years:

1. A point of reference for the Ignatian families and the works promoted by them.

2. A place of inner transformation as it was for Ignatius.

3. A school for formation in spirituality, especially for religious “formators” and “multiplying” agents.

4. A school of values. The activities of this Centre seek to convey a solid formation in such areas as interiority and depth, capacity for analysis and discernment, critical awareness and social commitment, individual and social conscience, etc.

As the site where Ignatius encountered the Lord Jesus personally, like one friend talking to another, we believe that this holy place, the Cave of Saint Ignatius, is obliged to respond in this way if we are to be faithful to the four ideals presented in the “vision”.

 
Cova de St. Ignasi - Camí de la Cova s/n 08241 Manresa (Barcelona) - +34 93 872 04 22 - info@covamanresa.cat