Loyola House is a retreat house of the Jesuits of Upper Canada. We are the retreat component of the Ignatius Jesuit Center and are located on the outskirts of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, about an hour from the Toronto Airport.
The history of Loyola House dates back to 1964. It started as a Diocesan weekend retreat house but quickly developed into a center of spirituality attracting people around the globe. During the early days there was a burst of creative energy released through retreat work because of the vision of Vatican II. The personally directed retreat was being developed: John English, SJ and John Veltri, SJ were central in exploring the meaning and dynamic of the Spiritual Exercises. Working with a broad spiritual directing team, they turned Loyola House into a world-renowned retreat centre for spiritual training and the house became an international training centre for spiritual directors from around the world. These retreats and training programs continue, facilitated by Bill Clarke, SJ, John Govan, SJ and other women and men of our current spiritual directing team at Loyola House. However, there is more to our story.
We continue living the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and are training spiritual directors to practise Ignatian spirituality in our rapidly-changing world. Hence, today we are in a time of new creative energy. The world is always changing: values are changing, awareness is changing. People are becoming conscious of themselves as connected to and dependent on others and all creation. Our present calendar lists many different types of experiences that offer hope to people living in today’s world.
The cornerstones of Ignatian Spirituality include:
- God is always present
- God has created and is still creating
- God is inviting us to share in the act of creating by means of our choices
- We are called to seek and find God in all things
- We need to be people who are discerning
- Discernment is both a grace and a skill
- Discernment is learned by practice
- God is healer
- God is compassionate
- God is gentle
- God is comforter
- God is counselor
We know God alone is the guide. We are called to give people a safe place where they can tell their story, be listened to and come to recognize how God was present in their past and present with them now. We are privileged to be companions on the journey.
All of our programs are meant to help people discover their deepest desires so that they might discover the path God is showing them. Saint Iraeneus said ‘the glory of God is the person fully alive’. Our desire is to help people learn how to hear God’s voice, and encourage them to follow it as they continue to live their lives. It is this that brings us joy.