Loyola Institute for Spirituality (LIS) was founded in 1997 as the successor to the Manresa Retreat House, formerly in Azusa, CA. LIS now provides many spiritual programs and services in various languages and multiple locations throughout Southern California and beyond.
LIS offers formation and grounding in Ignatian Spirituality that can lead people to a closer personal relationship with God. LIS programs and services are designed to train and empower religious leaders and lay ministers who fill many needed roles in the Church. Many LIS graduates currently serve in positions such as Faith Formation Director, Spiritual Director, and Retreat Leader.
LIS offers a wide variety of services for dioceses, churches, parishes, religious orders, and other religious groups from throughout California, Nevada, Arizona, and beyond. All programs are designed to be affordable and accessible for those who might face challenges obtaining spiritual resources due to economic or transportation limitations, or because of busy work schedules and family responsibilities.
Ignatian Spirituality: What is it?
The core of Ignatian spirituality is found in The Spiritual Exercises, a small manual written by St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) to help those who accompany others seeking God. Breakthroughs in St. Ignatius' own life story shed light on his spirituality's uniqueness. He enjoyed a deep sensitivity to interior movements, his most authentic desires. St. Ignatius found that what attracted and fascinated him, filled his imagination with hope and motivated him, often came from God. He learned that God encounters us in these affections, in powerful emotions that move us to act. We need to be truly free to discern among the various spirits that move us. St. Ignatius referred to them in terms of "consolation and desolation." When we learn to properly interpret them we have a sure way to distinguish between good and evil spirits, and to opt for life not death.
God thus encounters us interiorly and beckons us to fall in love with and follow him by contemplating the Gospel, entering deeply into the mystery of Jesus Christ. The habit of daily prayer is the key for this ongoing process. We are called to follow Jesus Christ as his disciples, thus integrating our life through loving service of others, especially the poor and marginal. And we live Christ's values in the Church, the Christian community.
St. Ignatius viewed all life as participation in an intense love affair, the one eternally unfolding in the Blessed Trinity. We integrate our lives by faithfully responding to God's creative generosity. We gratefully love God in return, and share that love with other human beings, showing love "more in deeds than in words." Ignatian spirituality stresses that the marvelous gift of "finding God in all things" is possible for all people. We become "contemplatives in action," united with God in all our ordinary activities, not just in the special moments of prayer. Ignatian spirituality breaks down the barriers between the sacred and the secular, and so it is especially suited to the laity, to men and women who seek to make sense out of their busy lives.
Loyola Institute for Spirituality is the successor to the "Loyola Laymen’s Retreat Association" that was first incorporated in the State of California in the 1930's. Its corporate name was changed in 1947 to "Manresa Retreat House," and in 1997 it was again changed to "Loyola Institute for Spirituality." LIS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit religious corporation recognized by the State of California and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The LIS Board of Directors was originally made up of the Provincial of the California Province of the Society of Jesus and his consultors. As of 2004, LIS is governed by its own Board of Directors.