Spiritual Direction

January 19, 2012

I have worked with a spiritual director for eleven years.  My directors have included two religious sisters, two lay men, and currently, a lay woman. One of the greatest gifts on my spiritual journey has been having a “holy listener” in my life who helps me to fully understand and see God at work in my life.  These men and women help me to hear and discern what God is asking of me and to be aware of what God is asking me to pay attention to in my life.  I know that I am where I am today in my faith life because of their companionship and encouragement to continue to listen for and to look for God at work in my life.  Their gift of journeying with me helped me deepen my awareness of God who is everywhere.  

Now, I am on the other side, meeting with my own directees as part of my Certificate in Spiritual Direction program.  As I sit on the side of being the “holy listener”, I am even more in awe at the gift my spiritual directors have been to me.  What a challenge to sit and listen to another in a way that does not interfere with another’s on faith life!  At the same time, it is a gift to sit across from some one and listen to the sacred story of their lives. 

If you have never met with a spiritual director, I encourage you to consider it. Often priests and religious brothers and sisters offer spiritual direction.  Many lay men and woman, too, are trained as spiritual directors through programs at retreat houses and universities as well.  A few tips on finding a spiritual director: 

  1. Ask around and let people know you are looking for one.  
  2. Look for religious orders in your area.  Often, they have people assigned to the ministry of spiritual direction.  
  3. Finally, check out Spiritual Director’s International Seek and Find Guide.  Here, you can search online for your city, state, spiritual affiliation, etc. 

As always, if you have questions about finding a spiritual director, ask away! 

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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3 Comments

  1. Carlos

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  2. Carlos

    Thanks for this post, Becky. I have been considering engaging in spiritual direction recently, but have never done it before. While suggestion Number 1 above is easy when initiating a relationship with a director, Numbers 2 & 3 feel a bit more like cold calling, especially since you found them on the internet and you don;t know anything about them and they know nothing about you.

    There are a couple of options for me which fall squarely into 2 & 3. How do you suggest one initiate a conversation with a potential director? Is it appropriate to “test out the waters” with one director to see if you connect with them? If so, do you warn them upfront that you want to see how it goes?

    Any suggestions you may have for someone in my position of exploring the possibility of finding a director would be appreciated.

    Thanks and God bless!

    Reply
  3. Becky Eldredge

    Carlos,

    Thank you so much for your reply! It is most certainly appropriate to “test out the waters” with a potential director. Often directors will say as much at the first conversation. You may approach the people you are considering with something simple as, “I am exploring options for spiritual directors. Do you meet with people?”

    Without a doubt, the relationship with your spiritual director needs to feel right and be the right relationship for you at this time in your life. For instance, there was a time I met with a religious sister. When I was in my early transition in being a mom, I felt I needed a lay woman.

    During the first meeting you may want to explore how both of you view spiritual direction and what you are seeking. The first meeting is typically a “get to know you” and “lets see if we fit” conversation.

    At the end of your first meeting, you can say, I will be in touch about future meeting times. There is no obligation to continue!

    Praying for the right person in your life for right now, Carlos!

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