.- Czech Republic Jesuit, Cardinal Tomas Spidlik, opened this week a World Meeting on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, which will run through August 26th. The World Meeting, which is taking in the Spanish city of Azpeitia, is a part of several commemorations marking the 450th anniversary of the death of the founder of the Society of Jesus, also know as the Jesuits.
Several hundred international experts are expected to attend the event. Speaking to the EFE news agency, Pascual Cebollada, professor of Spirituality at the Comillas University, explained that the famous exercises, written in 1548, have been a “generator of religious experiences for four and a half centuries.”
Cardinal Spidlik was born on December 17, 1919, in Boskovice, Czechoslovakia (today the Czech Republic). He entered the Society of Jesus in 1940 during the Nazi occupation. He was ordained priest on August 22, 1949 in Maastrich.
In 1990, the American Bibliographical Institute of Raleigh, North Carolina, named him “person of the decade.”
The cardinal preached the Spiritual Exercises for Pope John Paul II and the Roman Curia in March of 1995. He is a member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. He is also known as a great writer and expert in Eastern Christian spirituality.
He was made a cardinal during the October 21, 2002 consistory. Because he is above the age of 80 he did not participate in the 2005 conclave which elected Pope Benedict XVI. However, he led the cardinals to the opening of the conclave in the Sistine Chapel.