The Spiritual Exercises are a compilation of meditations and reflections developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola to help one deepen one’s relationship with God. The Spiritual Exercises are structured in four distinct weeks, with a clear framework that carries the retreatant through a series of contemplative practices. These are not seven-day weeks, but separate, distinct stages on a spiritual journey. Ignatius wrote that the purpose of the Exercises is to conquer one’s self and learn to regulate one’s life in such a way that no decision is made under the influence of any inordinate attachment. He wanted individuals to undertake these exercises with the assistance of an experienced spiritual director who would help them shape the retreat and understand what they were experiencing.