You may have noticed that spiritual companioning is an important part of our programs at Companions on a Journey.
What exactly is Spiritual Direction?
We believe that it is very helpful for most people to have someone to help them on their faith journey as they seek to deepen their relationship with God. Spiritual direction exists in a context that emphasizes growing closer to God (or the holy or a higher power). Spiritual direction invites a deeper relationship with the spiritual aspect of being human. Spiritual direction offers a place to explore prayer practices, meditation, spiritual experiences, and our growing desire for significance. Although spiritual direction is not a counseling or therapeutic relationship, many find that spiritual direction is a helpful companion to understanding what is happening in many aspects and settings of one's life.
Spiritual direction is specific to your own unique spiritual journey. If you are taking the first steps to learn to pray, or have been actively participating in prayer for a while, spiritual direction is valuable. Taking into consideration your unique personality and nature, spiritual direction is a place to reflect on how to pray, your ongoing or unfolding spiritual practices, and the stages of spiritual development in your life. Like prayer, contemplation and meditation, spiritual direction cultivates and supports the spiritual aspect of being human, allowing us to serve with authenticity and grace-filled hearts.
Who is Spiritual Direction for?
Anyone who is:
- seeking a deeper understanding of his/her life,
- struggling with transitions
- desiring a deeper relationship with God.
Many of us are seeking a deeper connection with the Holy in our lives. The process of spiritual direction is for everyone who feels a longing for a more peaceful and hope-filled life.
You do not need to be catholic to participate in spiritual direction. Some form of spiritual direction or spiritual companionship exists in all the major religions of the world.
What is a Spiritual Director?
- A spiritual director listens to us
A spiritual director is a companion to another on his/her spiritual journey. When we need someone to hear our life story, a spiritual director offers hospitable and sacred space for us to speak and be heard, helping us articulate our thoughts, feelings, questions, and experiences in relation to God.
- A spiritual director helps us to notice God's presence
It takes practice to see the grace of God in everyday life. A spiritual director can be a mentor helping us pay attention to signs of grace, to listen for God's "still, small voice" in our daily encounters and experiences. A spiritual director can also guide our attentions to the dynamics of our heart, so that we can become more aware of how God speaks to us through it.
- A spiritual director can help us to respond to God
When we begin to notice God's presence, guidance, and challenge in our daily lives we are faced with choice. How shall we respond? God's presence is comforting, but God can also call us to a new sense of purpose and mission in life. Discerning those choices can be a challenge. A spiritual director guides the person to the blessings that God intends for him/her and enhances the discerning process by helping balance the choices.
- A spiritual director points us to practices of spiritual growth
Without the help of particular practices it is difficult to become more aware of and responsive to God's activity in our lives. A spiritual director can suggest various prayer practices to increase our awareness of the spirit in our midst.
How often do people meet with their spiritual director?
Frequency of visits varies with the person and with the happenings of one's life at a particular time. Some people come once a week, others every two weeks, some every month, or even less often. Most sessions last for one hour.
How does one go about finding a spiritual director?
We work with the Spirituality Center at Saint Benedict's Monastery (320-363-7116) and Abbey Guest Services at Saint John's Abbey (320-363-3929). You may call either center to arrange for spiritual direction on your own.
If you would like assistance, contact our office. If you already have or know of a spiritual director you would like to work with submit their name to our office prior to your first session.
If you live outside the central Minnesota area you can find a listing of spiritual directors at Spiritual Directors International's Web site.
What are the qualifications of the Spiritual Directors?
The Spiritual Directors we will refer you to have been trained in recognized programs that follow the guiding principles and components of Spiritual Directors International (SDI). These components include:
- theological and psychological dimensions of direction
- practicum/certification in Spiritual Direction
They have adopted the proposed ethical guidelines of SDI. The spiritual directors are committed to their own personal growth by seeking monthly spiritual direction and by active participation in a community of faith. They are also committed to ongoing professional growth by attending at least one continuing education event in the field each year, and by participating regularly in a supervision process.
Does meeting with a certified spiritual director/director have a cost connected with it?
Spiritual direction usually costs between $40 and $50 for 1 session. Companions on a Journey offers this programming to members involved with our Journey Group program. We will cover the cost up to $45 per session, 1 session per month during the academic year (September through May).
Requests for spiritual direction must be submitted to our office prior to the start of the sessions. You will need to renew your spiritual direction coverage if you would like to continue your sessions beyond 1 academic year. Renewals are due in August of each year that spiritual direction is requested.
If you are interested in receiving spiritual direction please complete the Spiritual Direction Request form and submit it to our office prior to your first session.