What Is Spiritual Direction? Center for Wholistic Spirituality St. Thomas University
WHAT IS SPIRITUAL DIRECTION? • Spiritual Direction has been part of the Christian tradition for centuries. • Today, Spiritual Direction usually refers to an ongoing relationship between a spiritual director(a person gifted and prepared in the ministry of spiritual direction) and a directee(a person who desires to focus on his or her spiritual life).
Why Would Someone Desire Spiritual Direction? • Typically, one interested in receiving Spiritual Direction yearns for a deeper relationship with God. This often involves a desire to grow in the ability to discern and respond to God’s presence and action in all aspects of one’s life. • Additionally, a spiritual director can help the directee cultivate an ongoing spiritual practice suited to the directee’s temperament and life circumstances.
What Are Additional Benefits? • Ongoing work with a spiritual director can help develop a sense of inner peace, a sense of direction in life, and discernment in order to fully embrace the wonder of life in God and in God’s creation.
What Happens in a Spiritual Direction Session? • Directees normally meet with their spiritual directors for a one-hour session each month. The sessions focus on the directee’s relationship with God in any and in all aspects of the directee’s life. • There will be parts of anyone’s life where God’s presence will be more or less clear. Spiritual directors are gifted and skilled at listening with the directee for the “Holy moment” or “God seed” present in any life experience so that the person might consciously receive and cultivate it for deeper intimacy with the Holy.
What Else Is Happening in the Spiritual Direction Session? • Spiritual direction sessions occur in the context of prayer and spiritual intimacy. There is an implicit understanding that in the prayerful engagement between the spiritual director and the directee, God dwells. • Conversations between the spiritual director and the directee are considered privileged and are, therefore, kept strictly confidential.
What Is the Difference Between Spiritual Direction and Counseling? • As a general rule, counseling and therapy focus on a person’s problem areas with the goal of healthy resolution to those issues. • Spiritual Direction focuses on finding and responding to God present in the human life circumstances, whether glorious, joyful or sorrowful.
How Can I Find a Good Spiritual Director? • In the beginning, those who wish to grow in the spiritual life might simply approach someone whose way of life suggests a spiritual life and commitment they respect. That person may be willing to “companion” them or share the spiritual journey with them on an informal basis.
For those seeking a more formal Spiritual Direction relationship, it is good to find someone who: • Has had formation (education) specifically in Spiritual Direction; • Continues to receive regular supervision; • Visits their own spiritual director on a regular basis.
It is important to remember that: • A good Spiritual Director offers Spiritual Direction as a response to God’s call to this work; • This gift has been confirmed by others in the faith community; • Natural talents and spiritual gifts are enhanced by education and preparation.
Something else to remember: • Even the most excellent spiritual director is not right for everyone! • It is important that you feel at ease with your spiritual director. • Your spiritual director should be someone with whom you can feel free to be open, honest and completely yourself. • Your spiritual director should be able to treat with reverence and respect your individual and unique relationship with God.
How Can I Find a Spiritual Director? • As a service to the South Florida community of faith, the Center for Wholistic Spirituality at St. Thomas University keeps an updated list of active spiritual directors in the area. • Those spiritual directors listed: • Have completed a formation program in Spiritual Direction that includes a Practicum, • Continue to receive regular supervision, • Keep regular appointments with their own Spiritual Directors. Please note: While we do not endorse anyone as a spiritual director, this list can help people begin their search.
How Could I Become a Spiritual Director? • If you are a person of faith and believe you may be called to the ministry of spiritual direction, the Center for Wholistic Spirituality at St. Thomas University offers a 3-year certificate program to prepare Spiritual Directors and Spiritual Companions in Daily Life.
Classes begin each September and continue through the first week in May on Monday evenings from 6:30-9:00 PM at the St. Thomas University Main Campus. We Welcome Your Inquiries Contact: Susan B. Loretta, Coordinator Center for Wholistic Spirituality St. Thomas Univeristy 16400 NW 32 Avenue, Miami, FL 33054 305.628.6548 Email: email@example.com