What is spiritual direction?
Spiritual direction is the art of Christian listening, a sacred relationship in which a director helps someone to uncover and discover the direction of God in their lives. A spiritual director has been called by God and the community and trained to companion another person, listening to that person's life story with an ear for the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Why seek spiritual direction?
God speaks to us in our relationships, our work, our prayer, our challenges and dilemmas--so that is the material for spiritual direction. Maybe you have a serious issue for discernment or are going through a transition. Possibly you are feeling dry in your prayer and would like to explore that with someone. You may want someone to walk with you--someone to help you be faithful to your spiritual commitments. Maybe you just want to grow closer to God.
How often should you meet with a spiritual director?
Usually you meet once a month for 45 minutes to an hour. Sometimes this can be for a certain period, or it may continue for years.
Is it different from Pastoral Counseling?
Yes. Pastoral Counseling assumes the person is experiencing a difficulty, problem, or issue that is preventing them from living a healthy life. Spiritual direction assumes that the person is already whole, but looking for growth.
How do I find a spiritual director?
St. Mary's offers a wide choice of spiritual directors. In addition to those on pastoral staff, Fr. Charlie Banks, OMI has spaces open on Mondays, and you can sign up at the front desk that day. Fr. Michael Sullivan, LC visits once a month or so and meets with people.
To request a spiritual director, please fill out this form. It will be sent to the appropriate person and they will contact you.
In addition to campus ministers, there are a number of trained lay spiritual directors who have gone through the Diocesan Institute of Spiritual Direction and are available for spiritual direction.
A list of recommended directors is below.
Group Spiritual Direction
Besides individual direction, St. Mary’s offers group spiritual direction. This is a fruitful way to grow in spiritual formation through a small group setting (4 to 6 students, same gender per group, plus the director).
During the one hour group session you learn about spiritual principles and practices, discuss some of your own experiences (as you are comfortable), and then throughout the week try to put some of these ideas and discussions into practice in your own life.
Because it is in a group setting, you benefit not only from the educational component from the director but also from the experience of your peers, an inspiration as well as companions in the journey. This provides a unique support for your growth.
Here some testimonies from students who participated in it last semester:
“Small group spiritual direction is a fun and unique experience! You strengthen your relationship with God as well as your relationship with your small group. It gives you the chance to dive deep into shared issues and personal situations while gaining a group of prayer warriors who have your back.”
"I loved being a part of a spiritual direction small group because it gave me the opportunity to grow with other like minded girls, and give each other support in our spiritual journey. I grew closer to Christ by seeing Him in these new friendships and learning from Sister!"
“It was very comforting to talk about issues in a small group because I realized I wasn't the only one struggling in my faith. It didn't take long for everyone to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and then offering advice to others. I loved it.”