Our Mission

The Sacred Story Institute (SSI) is dedicated to revitalizing the Ignatian Examination of Conscience. Our mission for this powerful daily spiritual discipline is to help adults, teens, youth, seminarians, priests, religious, and bishops encounter Christ, the Divine Physician, who heals us in body, mind, and spirit, transforming our lives into a Sacred Story!

Who are we

Sacred Story Institute is at the forefront of researching and developing dynamic, entirely new applications of classic Ignatian spirituality. Fr. William Watson’s research is informed by a life of study, spiritual direction, and Ignatian program development and also by research in neuroscience, medicine, psychology, and trauma studies.


The legacy of sin’s trauma, often intergenerational, is the most manifest way evil works in our world and in our personal lives. Fr. Watson’s research revealed how trauma impacts individuals’ ability to explore the very areas in their lives where Jesus wants to bring healing and hope. As a result, SSI incorporates exercises in all programs that seek to minimize fear and open individuals to the often-unconscious memories of trauma. By the gradual and patient spiritual methods of Ignatian spirituality and discernment, people can gently open to the spiritual, emotional, and physical healing Christ wants for us.

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Founder and President


Backed by his 40-plus years of successful Ignatian retreat program designs, Fr. Watson creates Christian formation programs that can stand the test of time. The Encounter program at Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon turned 44 in 2023 and has transformed the school. The Five-Day Ignatian Retreat at Georgetown University turned 36, and the Georgetown Freshman ESCAPE turned 32 in 2023.

Fr. Watson is a frequent guest on EWTN Live, EWTN Bookmark, and many Catholic radio shows. Fr. Watson has collaborated extensively with Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J. on many programs and initiatives over the last 35 years.

Aware of a dilution of doctrine that has crept into Catholic and Ignatian practices, Fr. Watson has built all SSI programming based on orthodox Catholic and Ignatian theology and spirituality. SSI’s research methodology for all new programs ensures that the ancient truths of the Faith detailed in its courses and program materials are accessible for today’s Catholics.