Is it catholic tradition to pay a spiritual director per session?

Through this Archdiocese, there’s only one monastery to go to for spiritual direction. My spiritual mentors who are nuns, sisters, priests, & virtuous friends have highly recommended me to this place. I’ve had spiritual direction with one in particular there but she was incompatible and after a few sessions with her, I got depressed and went back into spiritual desolation. A year later, I started discerning religious life & my spiritual mentors continued to recommend this place. I went back there and met with the new director of spiritual direction & she recommended I meet with a spiritual lay person to get an unbiased perspective on religious life. And she told me the cost per session if I were to continue b/c “unfortunately, [the spiritual directors/lay people/oblates] getting an incentive (money) will encourage them to provide you better service to you & helps them pay their gas to meet here & pay their bills.” Problem is that my spiritual mentors, especially priests, nuns, & sisters have told me that spiritual direction should be free of no cost, like doing a charity act of service. I had to resign my job while still in college & cannot afford paying $25/session to someone I hardly know & trust with my inner convictions. I told this to the new spiritual director. She quickly suggested that I go back & meet with her & pay her at least $1 or something, whatever I can give for her to provide the session. I don’t feel comfortable with this because most people tell me they’ve never had to pay for a spiritual director, even within this exact Archdiocese. Why is it that I’m expected to pay? That’s not fair & definitely doesn’t sound like something from God… b/c God doesn’t want us to pay attention to money, but trust that He will provide for our needs & focus on Him first, right??

In our Catholic Church, is it expected to pay a spiritual director? What do you think is just in a time of desperate need for spiritual direction? What am I supposed to do? In the meantime, I continue meeting, calling, & emailing my spiritual mentors for advice along my faith journey. Although they all have different opinions, each one is helpful support that usually lasts a little while until a big wake up call arises and I don’t know who to talk to, while praying & spending more time with God. I’m lost & certainly cannot do this alone. I talk to God daily, listen, make time with Him more than making time for homework, & yet I need to talk to someone in person to let it all out thru the spiritual consolations and desolations.

I have never heard of paying for spiritual direction. Obviously free will donations to the parish or religious order of the spiritual director is a good/nice thing to do, but it is not required.

Any priest, religious, or even spiritually well rounded lay person could serve as a spiritual director. You are not bound by this particular group.

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