is spiritual direction?
Spiritual direction is a process in which individuals are assisted in developing a relationship with God. It assists a person in paying attention and responding to this personally communicating God in order to become more open to the presence of God in all aspects of life and to enhance personal growth. It helps one to discern and respond to God’s call in one’s life and take the Gospel message seriously. Spiritual direction is not counseling, therapy or psychological help.
In spiritual direction we relate to a mature Christian to whom we choose to be accountable for our spiritual life and from whom we can expect prayerful guidance in our constant struggle to discern God’s active presence in our lives.
- Henri Nouwen
does a spiritual director do?
A spiritual director listens, encourages, guides, challenges, accompanies and prays with the individual to discern the movement of the Spirit in her/his life. The spiritual director helps to free a person to more deeply discover God and shares in his/her life journey. It is important to note that the directee and the director have the right to terminate direction at any time.
With the help of a spiritual director, a person is better able to discern the unique gift he/she can bring to the service of others. Spiritual direction nurtures, therefore, the whole of the Christian life.
- Sister Vilma Seelaus, OCD
Who can benefit from spiritual direction?
- Anyone who is hungry for deeper meaning, who feels that there must be something more to life.
- Anyone who desires to grow in intimacy with God.
- Those who find themselves touched deeply by their personal life and the events of the world.
- Those who have many questions and few answers, such as who and what I am and who and what God is to me.
- Those who are feeling fragmented, disjointed, out-of-touch and distant from God
- Those who desire to become more sensitive to God’s action in all the areas of their lives.
What to look for in a spiritual director
- A director should be well versed in the theology, history, rituals and spiritual exercises of the Christian community.
- A director is spiritually mature, facing his/her demons and better understanding the activity of God in life.
- A director is able to create, establish and maintain a relationship with another person without getting in the way of that person’s experience and reflection.
- A director is someone who is engaged with God in personal prayer and reflection.
- A director is personally involved in on-going direction.
Contracting with a Spiritual Director
- You and the director may talk on the phone or meet face to face to decide if you are both agreeable.
- You are asked to respect the contracted time. Appointments are ordinarily 50 minutes to an hour once a month.
- Twenty-four hours’ notice is required for cancellations; otherwise, the person will be responsible for payment.
How Do I Begin?
Call the Consultation Center at 489-4431 to arrange a meeting with a spiritual director. Day or evening appointments are available.
Suggested donation – $40 per visit
Holy Ground: A Program for Forming Spiritual Directors
The program is designed for those who may be called to the ministry of companioning others on their faith journeys. It is open to persons who have taken steps to grow in their own spiritual lives, who have some solid background in theology, and who have received spiritual direction individually or in groups for at least two years.
During the first year of the two-year program, participants will meet monthly for approximately three hours. This time will be devoted to prayer and contemplative silence as well as to input around several vital topics.
Participants will be expected to read in some depth from required texts as well as to reflect on their own spiritual lives. The sessions will incorporate lecture, discussion, and work in dyads and triads, as well as regular opportunities for questions.
|God said: Do not
come near! Remove
your sandals from
your feet, for the
place where you
stand is holy ground.
The second year of the program will bring participants together for individual and group supervision. Each participant will be expected to have at least two directees; this interchange will enable the participant to prepare verbatim assignments for the group.
Topics to be Addressed
September: Overviews of Spirituality
October: Approaches to Prayer
November: Listening Skills
December: Assisting Someone in Prayer
January: Movements and Rhythms in Prayer
February: Resistance and Prayer
March: Discernment and Prayer
April: Boundaries, Transference/Countertransference, Other Issues
May: Family Systems and its Impact on Spiritual Development
30 years old and 3 years in spiritual direction
A good background in contemporary theology
Attend 90% of sessions
Yearly retreat and continued spiritual direction
First year, attend sessions once a month for 9 sessions from 6:00 to 9:00 pm
Complete Virtus training or provide a certificate of completion
Recommendation from pastor/parish life director and one other person
The cost for the two-year program is $1800. Participants will need to be responsible for obtaining their own books. Payment plans are available. Participants are also expected to make a yearly retreat of at least three days.
Rev. Thomas Konopka, MDiv, LCSW-R
Sister Katherine Hanley, CSJ, PhD
And additional presenters