How do you get a "spiritual director?"


#1

I called my parish today and asked about obtaining a spiritual director. The secretary was totally clueless. She said confession was every third Saturday. I said, "No, I need a priest that I can speak with on a regular basis regarding my faith life and spiritual development." She said, "There is ladies Bible atudy Tuesday nights." I tried to explain again and she said I could call the director of the "Stephen's Ministry" if I needed support going through a hard time. I said I did not need to utilize that lay ministry but would like to meet with a priest for maybe 30 minutes every other month and maybe be able to call or send emails once in a while in between. I may as well have asked her to set me up on a date with him. Later on Fr's personal assistant called me back and asked the same round of questions and told me Fr. Could never accomodate this type of thing because "what if everyone asked?" We have 3,000 households in our parish and one priest admin. and one that travels between our parish and the seminary. I'm at a loss. Please be honest with me - was I asking too much? I feel like I am in need of some solid spiritual direction but it is not possible to obtain it! There is another parish in town, but both of their priests have advised me to use ABC in the past when I have come to thwm in confession struggling with that issue.


#2

To get a good priestly spiritual director is a great grace!
And yes, it's hard to come by.
I suggest to you that you offer this up to Jesus in the blessed sacrament and even fast for it for a good while.

God can send you someone!

Michael


#3

Check with your diocese. They may have a list of people who offer spiritual direction in your area.

A spiritual director does not have to be a priest. There are many deacons, religious sisters & brothers and lay people who are also spiritual directors.

You could also check with "retired" priests. They usually do not have "parish duties" and therefore have more time.

If you live near a monastery or retreat center, you can also try there.

Good luck & peace be with you on your journey!


#4

First of all, pray. The Holy Spirit will help you.

Make an appointment with your priest and ask him to recommend someone. Odds are he won't suggest himself, but he may know of someone.

Check with a local monastery, convent, or retreat house to see if they have someone available or could suggest someone.


#5

He does if the OP ever wants to discuss “matters of conscience.”

Yes, a good priestly spiritual director is a grace to have. I am so blessed to have my spiritual director. I have to have a good spiritual director because I’m discerning a vocation. I put off my vocation discernment for almost a year because I was overwhelmed with the task of finding one. I wasn’t even going to ask our priest because they’re so busy and there’s only two of them, and one’s only here half of the week (FSSP, so he has to travel on weekends). I called him up to meet with one of them, told him my dilemma and asked, “if that was something he could help me with” as in, help me find a good and holy priest to be my spiritual director. There must have been a miscommunication because he agreed to be my spiritual director. I was shocked because I know they’re such busy priests. What he said was that it’s not something he will/can do with everyone, but because I’m actually discerning a vocation, I need to have one.

My advice would be to look for a retired priest. I know our previous priest’s spiritual director was one of the retired priests living in the rectory. I went to him for confession and he’s a wealth of knowledge on the spiritual life, and not the weird modernist spirituality. The good stuff like St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila.

Pray for a spiritual director, and if you get one, pray for him every day!


#6

[quote="Oneofthewomen, post:3, topic:315037"]
Check with your diocese. They may have a list of people who offer spiritual direction in your area.

A spiritual director does not have to be a priest. There are many deacons, religious sisters & brothers and lay people who are also spiritual directors.

**You could also check with "retired" priests. They usually do not have "parish duties" and therefore have more time.

If you live near a monastery or retreat center, you can also try there.**

Good luck & peace be with you on your journey!

[/quote]

When I can, these are good ideas for me, as well. There is a monastery somewhat nearby, too. Thanks...


#7

Thank you! You're right, I need to pray. There are no convents or monasteries nearby, or retreat centers. There is a small seminary close by, but very few actual priests there and the public has zero access to the grounds.

Unfortunately we're in a very liberal parish so this is not going to be easy. I hate to put extra burden on the few priests we do have, too. I hope with prayer something will pop up eventually!


#8

[quote="JackieMom, post:7, topic:315037"]
Thank you! You're right, I need to pray. There are no convents or monasteries nearby, or retreat centers. There is a small seminary close by, but very few actual priests there and the public has zero access to the grounds.

Unfortunately we're in a very liberal parish so this is not going to be easy. I hate to put extra burden on the few priests we do have, too. I hope with prayer something will pop up eventually!

[/quote]

Are you sure you actually need a spiritual director?


#9

[quote="Deo_Gratias42, post:8, topic:315037"]
Are you sure you actually need a spiritual director?

[/quote]

Hi Deo Gratias, along these lines and in your previous post - what are matters of conscience, and why cannot a religious person or lay person deal with this?

Many thanks.


#10

[quote="Joy2day, post:9, topic:315037"]
Hi Deo Gratias, along these lines and in your previous post - what are matters of conscience, and why cannot a religious person or lay person deal with this?

Many thanks.

[/quote]

I was going to ask the same thing.


#11

[quote="Joy2day, post:9, topic:315037"]
Hi Deo Gratias, along these lines and in your previous post - what are matters of conscience, and why cannot a religious person or lay person deal with this?

Many thanks.

[/quote]

Matters of conscience are matters dealing with sin and such which are appropriate to Confession as well as things requiring one to make a moral judgment.

They can't deal with these matters because they are not authorized to. It is an area that is given to priests as part of their ministry.


#12

[quote="Deo_Gratias42, post:11, topic:315037"]
Matters of conscience are matters dealing with sin and such which are appropriate to Confession as well as things requiring one to make a moral judgment.

They can't deal with these matters because they are not authorized to. It is an area that is given to priests as part of their ministry.

[/quote]

Are you saying that only priests are capable of assisting people with moral judgements? That would be a surprise to the many lay professors of morality that are teaching in universities and in seminaries throughout the world.


#13

Why not ring the Bishops office up and ask them for a spiritual director. And at the same time in a friendly way feed back to them how your request was met with the secretary. The secretary misunderstood your request by the sounds of it. It mayn't be with your regular priest but someone who the Bishops office who knows who is in good stead with spiritual direction. It actually suprised me that not all priests offered this in that they don't all do that service and ours indeed has warned me he be happy to offer me the occasional spiritual direction but he warned me he isn't a spirtual director. That suprised me because I did think all priests could and he listens well and guided me when I really needed it so... but it may be that your priest isn't a spiritual director anyway. So my guess is that your best bet would be to contact your Bishops Office and ask them for contact details of spiritual directors.

I do not know how one does so for Catholics and my guess is if your priests are as busy as ours are then they are busy and to get a regular appointment would be lucky.

By some good fortune and by my own personal need I have good contact with my current priest and I am actually lucky that I do not mind that he doesn't reply back. I don't need that from him and he has brought me nearer to God. But it does seem to be a matter of luck the support we get when we get it from priests.


#14

[quote="JackieMom, post:7, topic:315037"]
Thank you! You're right, I need to pray. There are no convents or monasteries nearby, or retreat centers. There is a small seminary close by, but very few actual priests there and the public has zero access to the grounds.

Unfortunately we're in a very liberal parish so this is not going to be easy. I hate to put extra burden on the few priests we do have, too. I hope with prayer something will pop up eventually!

[/quote]

Yes, prayer and persistant prayer. But, please do not be discouraged. The search may take awhile. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you think of what step to take next. The answer will come in His time and a few doors may shut as you search. But, do not give up!

I have a spiritual director and I highly recommend that everyone have one. Our sanctity is worth the price of time and effort. I hope you will be able to find this "faithful friend" to help you draw closer to our Lord. Meditate on Sirach 6:5-17 which discusses friendship.

Also, I recommend that you read, "Seeking Spiritual Direction," by the late Fr. Thomas Dubay. I read this while I was seeking to find a spiritual director and I also asked for Fr. Thomas's intercession to help me find the right one.

I will pray for you.

houston1


#15

[quote="Deo_Gratias42, post:8, topic:315037"]
Are you sure you actually need a spiritual director?

[/quote]

No, I guess I'm not sure. I don't know any serious, faithful and knowledgable Catholics in real life (our parish is very liberal.) Living out the faith is really hard when most people I know are of the cafeteria variety. I guess I am actually looking for anyone who can offer support in living the faith fully and faithfully.


#16

[quote="JackieMom, post:15, topic:315037"]
No, I guess I'm not sure. I don't know any serious, faithful and knowledgable Catholics in real life (our parish is very liberal.) Living out the faith is really hard when most people I know are of the cafeteria variety. I guess I am actually looking for anyone who can offer support in living the faith fully and faithfully.

[/quote]

You've said several times that your parish is liberal. Honestly, I don't think that a liberal, a middle-of-the-road, or a conservative parish is going to make you holy.

How is it that you want to live out the faith? What do you want to do that you're not doing now? What's keeping you from it?

Have you considered joining (or starting, if necessary) a group in your parish that might help you live a more spiritually fulfilling life? A small faith-sharing community might be good, or a women's spirituality group of some kind.

And if you do want a spiritual director, you can still talk with your priest. You also mentioned a seminary nearby. It would certainly be worth contacting them. You said there were no monasteries or retreat centers close by, but you didn't specify how near or far they might be. I drive an hour and a half to see my spiritual director and consider it well worth the drive. (He used to be close but moved to another parish.) It can take a little effort on our part to find what we need.


#17

[quote="SuscipeMeDomine, post:16, topic:315037"]
You've said several times that your parish is liberal. Honestly, I don't think that a liberal, a middle-of-the-road, or a conservative parish is going to make you holy.

How is it that you want to live out the faith? What do you want to do that you're not doing now? What's keeping you from it?

Have you considered joining (or starting, if necessary) a group in your parish that might help you live a more spiritually fulfilling life? A small faith-sharing community might be good, or a women's spirituality group of some kind.

And if you do want a spiritual director, you can still talk with your priest. You also mentioned a seminary nearby. It would certainly be worth contacting them. You said there were no monasteries or retreat centers close by, but you didn't specify how near or far they might be. I drive an hour and a half to see my spiritual director and consider it well worth the drive. (He used to be close but moved to another parish.) It can take a little effort on our part to find what we need.

[/quote]

You mention some fine ideas. Let me just add:
The initial problem was getting through to the secretary, who didn't or couldn't take the time to understand the request, never mind fulfill it with at least a suggestion. I am not in RCIA yet and it has been since November, and it started with a secretary. In each case, they may have been over burdened, but with mine, two months + ? It sounds like her church is keeping her from it if someone there isn't returning a call or understanding. She is not, as she mentioned, not asking for a date!!! (I thought that was funny...)
Sometimes we just want spiritual guidance from a more authoratative source, not just a group, though spirituality groups are great, too. I would want a priest, too. And I really like the idea of a retired priest, for the added wisdom. A non retired priest wouldn't be able to be a parish priest and keep up with my questions at the same time!! I'd like to see a spiritual therapist/advisor like I do a therapist/therapist. Weekly....


#18

I've had spiritual directors and this is the way I found them:

First one was "unofficial." I didn't even know what a spiritual director was but I asked the Deacon if we could talk about about some things. I had a couple of appointements with him and it was good to get some thngs sorted out. I was going through what I called a spiritual growth spurt :rolleyes: and I was doing some new things and had a few interesting experiences and just wanted to make sure I was on the right track. I chose him because I spent enough time with him during youth and young adult activities to know he was a good listener, was level headed, and seemed to have some wisdom.

Second one was "official": I knew about spritual direction and I asked him if he would. He was the priest I made my first "good" confession tol he was orthodox, firm but his humor helped so much. The spiritual direction began months later when I thought I would benefit from something like it. Bonus: he was involved with Opus Dei (not an Opus Dei Priest, though) and knew something about spiritual direction which is a big deal in OP. He gave me a few books for spiritual reading, which I expanded on by buying books of my own and recommending and giving books to others. His encouraging of spritual reading and introduing me to OP are things that continue to feed my spritual growth. I moved and continuing long distance didn't really work.

The third was also official but didn't last that long because the pastor asked him to stop doing spriitual direction. I don't know why but I suspect the pastor was jealous (my SD got a lot of comments after his homilies and I noticed that a Deacon started giving the homily when my SD was the precider.) He made no negative comments; the suspicions about the pastor are my own. I was so disappointed but his humility and obedience helped me.

I moved again and I live in an area where the only people who are interested in offering spiritual direction are religious sisters with heterodox leanings. I've now started thinking I could ask the priest who does a EF Mass. He has been a good confessor but I would have to work out the distance thing.

If you are willing to travel it might be worth it to visit different parishs. Sometimes a homily or the counsel given during confession might direct you to a spiritual director.


#19

[quote="Deo_Gratias42, post:8, topic:315037"]
Are you sure you actually need a spiritual director?

[/quote]

Everyone would do well to have a Spiritual Director!

Unless you want to be a protestant and take the Me and Jesus route. :D


#20

Recently, I purchased a book, "Navigating the Interior Life, Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God", Daniel Burke.

Although, I haven't finished reading the book, I think it will help you. It's easy to read, and answers a lot of questions. Here's a sample of chapter titles:

[LIST]
*]What is and what isn't spiritual direction?
*]Do I really need a spiritual director?
*]How do I know if I'm ready for spiritual direction?
*]How do I find and select a spiritual director?
[/LIST]

Navigating the Interior Life

God bless you.


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