Q: Dear Dan, I have a two sided question that I would like to ask about schools for spiritual direction. Are there schools that I can call to see if I can find a graduate/director in my area? Secondarily, I think I might be called to provide direction to others. I do recognize the serious nature of this calling (the care of souls) and would like to pursue the necessary formation to provide sound direction. Any recommendations?
A: Dear friend, we can answer both of these questions at the same time by simply recommending schools that are faithful and that offer quality programs. There are three that I am personally aware of in the United States and have had some opportunity to evaluate (unfortunately, I am not yet aware of schools we can recommend outside of the U.S.). Regarding all three, beyond my personal research, I have also received positive feedback from those who have received instruction from each school. Here they are:
- In collaboration with Holy Family School of Faith, the Apostles of the Interior Life Spiritual Mentorship Program is a two-year course of study combining eight distance learning courses with four one-week intensive sessions offered in-residence at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas. The program aims to form Spiritual Mentors to serve as guide and companion to others on their journey to holiness. It is designed for Catholics who have a desire to develop a deep prayer and sacramental life, a desire to increase their knowledge of the Catholic faith, a desire to grow in the virtues and a desire to help others do the same. For more about this school, you can find my recent interview with Archbishop Naumann here. Also, I have provided a series of testimonials sent to me by the attendees of this school at the bottom of this post.
- The Cenacle of Our Lady of Divine Providence® School of Spirituality has established its Spiritual Direction Program in response to Christ’s call to personal holiness and the Church’s need for well-trained spiritual directors to assist God’s people on their spiritual journey. As a recognized institution of God’s vineyard approved by the Bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida and in association with the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, this program is designed to form and train candidates over a two year period through prayer, teachings and supervision. The program exposes the student to the spiritual heritage of the Church and highlights the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Ignatius of Loyola.
- The Lanteri Center, established by the Oblates of the Virgin Mary in 2004, exists to make spiritual direction, daily prayer with Scripture, and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius more available to those who seek holiness. The Lanteri Center also provides training and continuing education opportunities for spiritual directors.
It is important to note that when I have offered posts regarding this kind of training in the past, some have recommended other schools around the country. At each suggestion I have evaluated the recommendations. Unfortunately, with each, I have found a significant emphasis on teachings that stray from the heart of the Church’s teachings on prayer and the spiritual life. As we state on our FAQ page here, our focus here is to lift up the teachings that reflect a higher level of commitment to the pure and endlessly deep wells of Catholic mystical and ascetical theology. Rather than using the combox for recommendations, if you have any recommendations, feel free to send them to me at RCSpiritualDirection@gmail.com. For those who have attended or support the schools listed above, feel free to tell us about your experience in the combox on this post.