Spiritual direction has been a vital ministry in the Church down through the ages. It is sometimes referred to as spiritual guidance or spiritual companioning. Spiritual direction is on-going relationship in which a person seeks to be attentive to his or her spiritual journey. It is a means by which people seek to deepen their relationship with God and to grow in faith and holiness. Through spiritual direction reconciliation and healing can take place.
The specific purpose of spiritual direction is to help the person to become more attuned to God’s presence, in order to respond more fully to that presence in life’s situations.
Problem solving or therapy is not the main focus. Rather, the emphasis is centered on being present to the presence of God in all the events of life.
The person who comes for spiritual direction is called the directee. The directee maintains the responsibility for his or her own life with God.
The directee meets with the spiritual director usually once a month for about an hour. At this time a prayerful atmosphere is sought where together they can be attentive to themovements of the Holy Spirit who is the ultimate spiritual director.
The focus of the directee should be a willingness to seek God through prayer,and an openness to reflect upon life experiences and share these with the director.
The directee is encouraged to allow God to be the object of attention. The directee is also helped to recognize his or her reactions to God. This awareness enables the person to respond to God more freely.
The spiritual director is trained in the dynamics of spiritual direction and communication skill, using various resources in prayer and Scripture.
The director must be a person of prayer, assuming responsibility to pray for the directee, as well as openness to God for whatever is called for on behalf of the directee during the session.
The role of the director is to facilitate the growth of a loving relationship between an individual and God, as he or she accompanies another on life’s spiritual path.
•Those who take seriously the Gospel message.
•Those seeking to deepen their relationship with their God.
•Those who seem to be at a crossroad in their search for God.
•Those who hunger for a more meaningful prayer life.
•Those who feel the need for someone to help in discerning the call of the Holy Spirit.
•Those who desire a companion to listen and to walk with them on the spiritual journey.
It is important to pray about finding a spiritual director, asking God to guide your search and to open your eyes to possibilities available to you. Seek someone who is trained in the ministry of spiritual direction, and who is also receiving spiritual direction. Choose a director, schedule an appointment, and discern if there is a mutual sense that the potential for open, honest and clear communication is present and that there is a reverence for the unique way God is working in each of you.
You should expect that the director will keep the focus on your relationship with God. By reflective as well as challenging questions and offering resources, the director should enable you to grow through possible resistances and blind spots.
During the initial interview such matters as financial arrangements will be discussed.
Sister Eileen Marie Flanagan, SSJ is a spiritual director with over 25 years of experience. She holds a Master’s Degree in Christian Spirituality with special training in spiritual direction and retreats. Sister obtained her degree from Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska. Currently, she assists with the infirm Sisters at Lourdes Convent.
Sister Margaret Jeanne has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Marywood University, Scranton, PA. She received her certification in spiritual direction from Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. Sister has many years of teaching and serving as principal for Florida Catholic schools. She served twice as the Administrator of Our Lady of Lourdes Convent, Sisters of St. Joseph retirement facility. Sister served at St. John Neumann Renewal Center in Tallahassee as Spiritual Director and retreat presenter. She also is the former Vicar for Religious for the Diocese of Palm Beach.
For an appointment:
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Spiritual direction is conducted by a Sister of St. Joseph...a suggested donation is $35 - but no one will be turned away!
All proceeds go to the care of the Sisters.