Spiritual Guides, Spiritual Directors, and Spiritual Mentors – What’s the difference?
A: Good question. Depending upon the source of training of the spiritual director, there are different types or titles of those who offer spiritual direction. For instance, a number of movements in the Church offer training for lay people so that they can provide spiritual direction. These organizations often make a distinction between ordained (men) or consecrated (men and/or women), referring to them as “spiritual directors,” and laypersons who might be called “spiritual guides” or “spiritual mentors.” The distinction is usually a reflection of the level of training and education possessed by the one providing the guidance. When these distinctions are made, it is likely that those with the title “Spiritual Director” have received a level of formation that is higher than those who might be called “Spiritual Mentors” or “Spiritual Guides.”
It is important not to get caught up in the specific titles. Nor would it be appropriate to assume that someone with a lower level of formation would be less equipped to help you with your spiritual life. Spending time with another soul that is aggressively pursuing Christ and has some experience that exceeds yours can be very beneficial. The goal is to understand and pursue Christ in the process regardless of the specific titles that may or may not be applied to the individuals available to help you do so.
PS: This post is an excerpt from Dan’s upcoming book on Spiritual Direction and Spiritual Growth. If you would like to be personally updated on the progress of this book or to have Dan speak at your parish or Catholic group, send an email to RCSpiritualDirection@gmail.com.
Other Posts on Spiritual Direction:
- Spiritual Direction Index
- Spiritual Direction is NOT a Boss-Employee Relationship
- Spiritual Direction is NOT Spiritual Friendship or Spiritual Mentoring
- Spiritual Direction is NOT a Catholic Self-Help Program
- Should My Confessor and Spiritual Director be the Same Person?
- Spiritual Direction is NOT Confession
- Spiritual Direction is NOT Psychological Counseling
- Spiritual Direction is NOT Wandering Around With a Spiritual “Companion”
- Spiritual Direction is NOT Just About Prayer… or Virtuous Action
- Spiritual Direction is NOT a One Time Emergency Room Event
- Spiritual Direction IS…
please consider supporting our mission with a donation!