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Short History

Program Iñigo consists of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life of 30 weeks (SEEL) as well as the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in Silence from three to thirty days (SES). The Program started in Zagreb in 1997 when a scholar Marica Čunčić, PhD had returned from Canada to Croatia with many years of experience in guiding SES and SEEL. She had her own annual SES of eight days 1968 - 1985 in Croatia under the guidance of a Jesuit Father Dragutin Hartly (1920-2008) who encouraged Marica in 1981 to start guiding SES in the frame of the Little Family of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a lay community in Zagreb, Croatia, with the Marian and Ignatian spirituality. Marica belonged to that community from 1970 to 2008 when she asked to leave in order to devote herself to the new Community and Program Iñigo.

Dr. Čunčić guided SES in Croatia (1981-1985) and in the USA and Canada (1985-1997). The most of SES in Canada were held in the Ignatius College in Guelph, Ontario, Canada where the Jesuit Centre of Spirituality with Loyola House Retreat and Training Centre is situated. The Rector of the Ignatius College at that time was the well known Jesuit Father John English (1924-2004). Marica has learned there about the spiritual exercises director training where, among others, the well known Jesuit Father John Veltri (1933-2008) was supervising the spiritual directors. Father Veltri participated in the Charismatic Renewal from its very beginning in Canada in 1970-ies and therefore in his book Orientations , where he gives the instructions for prayer companions and prayer themes for 30 weeks, Fr. Veltri has introduced the healing mood in the Spiritual Exercises.

In 1997 dr. Čunčić returned from Canada to Croatia. There she started the SEEL of 30 weeks according to the book Orientations by John Veltri. It was later translated into Croatian with Fr. Veltri's permission: Smjernice za one koji prate druge na putu nutarnjeg života (2, Part A. edited, adapted and published Marica Čunčić, Zagreb 2006, for the use of the Program Iñigo). It is available to prayer companions at our web page: DV 2008-2009 > Dokumenti > Materijali za pratitelje (P1). As the number of the SEEL participants grew steadily dr. Čunčić invited the former retreatants to accompany the new retreatants. Her decision was based on the information she overheard in 1995 during her short stay on Barbados. A Jesuit Father directed the SEEL there and said that after completing his/her own SEEL the retreatant may accompany others. Owing to the possibility of recruiting new prayer companions from the retreatants who completed the SEEL, the number of the participants in the Program Iñigo was growing every year. In the first ten years (1997- 2007) the total number of participants in SEEL came to about one thousand. In 2007-2008 there were about 1100 participants, in 2008-2009 the number grew to about 1400.

In the 2008-2009 SEEL the participants came from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Germany and other neighboring countries. They were of different age groups, from elementary school to those in their eighties. The largest age group was 40-50, the second largest group consisted of the university students and other young people. The participants’ education varies from elementary education to scholars. There were about forty theologians or students of theology, priests and nuns. The prayer companions give instructions at the regular prayer meetings in different places. In 2008-2009 there were more than 430 prayer meetings in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia.

Hundreds of retreatants have also participated in SES of three or thirty days, but mostly of five or six days, usually during the summer school vacation from June to August.

The number of prayer companions is steadily growing. It is by their effort that the Program Iñigo can develop. Dr. Čunčić takes care of the prayer companions directly through the Prayer Companion School which she started in 2008 in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia.

Some prayer companions discerned during their own SEEL or SES that they would like to devote their life to the Program Iñigo. They belong to the Community Iñigo that started in 2002. The purpose of the Community Iñigo is to take care of the Program Iñigo as a ship crew takes care of their ship and passengers.

last change: 2009-09-01