THE present translation of the Exercises of St. Ignatius has been made from the Spanish Autograph of St. Ignatius. The copy so designated is not indeed in the handwriting of the Saint, but has a good number of corrections made by him and is known to have been used by him in giving the Exercises.
St. Ignatius of Loyola was a man without any great pretensions to education at the time he wrote this book. His native language was not Spanish, but Basque. His lack of education and his imperfect acquaintance with pure Spanish are enough to make it clear that a refined use of any language, and more especially of the Spanish, or, in general, anything like a finished or even perfectly correct, style is not to be expected in his work. Literary defects he removed to some extent, perhaps, as he continued to use and apply the book, but he is known never to have been fearful of such faults. His corrections found in this text are clearly made with a view to precision more than to anything else.
The Autograph of St. Ignatius was translated by Father General Roothaan into Latin and was reproduced by Father Rodeles in his edition of the Spanish text. But the original was not available to ordinary students. In 1908, however, Father General Wernz allowed the entire book to be phototyped, and in this way it was spread throughout the Society of Jesus in a large number of copies. It is one of these which has been chiefly employed by the present translator, who has, besides, made frequent use of the Manuscript itself.