Ignatian spirituality is founded on two key experiences of Ignatius Loyola before he founded the Society of Jesus. The first experience came when he was convalescing from a cannon ball injury. He began to realize that there were two effects of his daydreams. There were those daydreams that focused on what he would do to get others' attention and gain their recognition. He felt hollow and unsatisfied after entertaining these. And there were those daydreams that included God in his life. They gave him energy and a sense of peace. He knew the latter were from God and so began a journey to find and serve God. The second experience lasted many months when he was serving at a hospital in Manresa, Spain. During that time he devoted a part of his day to prayer. In his prayer, he felt God taught him like "little boy at the foot of a great teacher." So he began to write in a small note book some of his spiritual insights. He saw these insights as way to help others grow in their relationship to God. His jottings became formalized the Spiritual Exercises.
There are four characteristics of Ignatian spirituality which have their origin in the Spiritual Exercises: 1) A vision of God who is alive and active in the world and one's life. 2) A realization that all men and women are created in the image of God and are destined for eternal life. 3) An essential for living a life of living faith is to be reflective about one's experiences. 4) Christ invites women and men to follow him by reaching out to those on the margins of society.