“Is this all there is?” “What does it all mean?” “How do I draw closer to God?” Individuals who are trying to make sense of a life experience or yearn for a deeper relationship with God may seek the assistance of a spiritual director. The work of the spiritual director is not advice-giving or problem solving. It is helping people take time to reflect and see God working in their lives. The relationship of spiritual direction is sacred, safe and strictly confidential. Our spiritual directors can offer you the gentle encouragement to open fully to God's loving presence, and to discern the action of the Spirit in your life.
Formation of Spiritual Directors
Sisters of Mercy have been pioneers in creating authentic, integrated formation programs in spiritual direction for lay and ordained people from around the world from every denomination. Mercy Center Burlingame, California, offers a two-year certificate program, The Art and Practice of Spiritual Direction, which begins in September 2014, and summer internships in retreat direction, supervision and other topics for experienced spiritual directors.
Mercy Center at Madison in Connecticut also offers a two-year Spiritual Direction Practicum to train and supervise those who are discerning a call to this ministry of spiritual companionship. The program includes readings, classroom discussion on topics in spiritual direction, written assignments, self reflection and prayer, and the hands-on experience of offering spiritual direction to at least two directees.
The heart of the program is the process of presenting verbatims of spiritual direction sessions and case studies for in-the-moment supervision by peers and faculty mentors, and in turn, serving as a peer supervisor for classmates. This is a dynamic process that requires the capacity to receive and offer honest and constructive feedback in service of deepening self awareness, personal growth and skill development.
In the 1990s, the late Sister Mary Ann Scofield was one of the founders of an international organization called Spiritual Directors International, which today includes more than 7,000 members around the world. Spiritual Directors International- http://www.sdiworld.org