JESUITICA: A book for all seasons
The full four-week schema of the Spiritual Exercises was given, it seems, to as many as 7,500 people during St Ignatius’s own lifetime, 1,500 of whom were women. Of the 6,000 men, only 1,000 were in religious life at the time or became so afterwards. And the Exercises has been in huge demand ever since. Although the text itself has been described as “a book as dull as a teacher’s manual of lesson plans”, it has been published some 4,500 times, an average of once a month for 400 years. It is a book for use rather than entertainment, and its publishers include several other Christian churches.