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For five years, the Maria Valtorta Onlus Foundation has been organizing the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, according to Father Vallet’s “five complete days” method of 1930, which condensed the “Ignatian month” making it in fact also available today to anyone who wants to have this strong experience of spiritual life. This method of “retreat”, developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola in 1500, has particularly animated the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) over the centuries and has profoundly influenced the life of the Church and, therefore, the whole world. It was blessed by all the Popes, more or less directly, and today it remains a privileged instrument of evangelization and personal conversion, a path from the state of sin to find and contemplate the Lord in all things. Also last year we organized two “shifts”, despite the contingent difficulties, and this year we were able to hold three. We thank the Lord and the Holy Virgin for this great grace!
But for several years we had already been thinking about how to organize and carry out a course of Valtortian Spiritual Exercises, merging them on a practical level – but without confusing them – with the most famous Ignatians.
It is easy to see, in fact, that the meditative and contemplative techniques that Saint Ignatius uses are put into practice in detail throughout the work of Maria Valtorta, despite the fact that she, neither Father Migliorini, nor Father Berti, knew the spanish saint in this way. Despite this, one may get the impression that she wrote real Ignatian contemplations, so much so that already some scholars, including prof. Léo A. Brodeur (emeritus professor of the “Département des lettres et communications”, who died in February 2001) first of all, showed closeness and similarities between the two authors.
Well, now the first attempt has been made! Between 27 September and 2 October 2021 Lucia Martinucci and I led the first course of Valtortian Spiritual Exercises. The first, we hope, of a very long series.
The external part is identical to the Ignatian one: five full days (from Monday to Saturday lunch, inclusive) of constant prayer, in various forms: s. Daily Mass, St. Community Rosary, guided contemplations, silence, accompaniment of guides always available, external support freeing you from any service, readings at the table.
The content has instead changed: that is, we have used all Valtortian texts, articulating the path as an entrance to the Temple, from the outside to the Saint of the Saints, and to the new missionary exit.
Many things could be said and much more detailed, but to truly understand what it is, the invitation is always that of the apostle Philip to Nathanael: “Come and see!” (Jn 1:46).
The testimonies of the first participants and the spiritual fruits that we have already been able to experience encourage us to continue with confidence on this path, led by the hand of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Maria Valtorta towards an ever greater knowledge of Jesus, to love him, follow him and bring him to everyone! With this in mind, in fact, we are already defining the dates for next year, to immediately invite everyone to treat themselves to a week of “Catholic vacation” for 2022 as perhaps they never did: Maria Valtorta assures that no one will be disappointed!
– don Ernesto Zucchini