Should I have a...?


…spiritual director or regular confessor? I have no spiritual director and I’m not sure where to find one, or if I have need of one. I don’t have a regular priest I go to confession to, because I have to hop around different parishes in the area (long story) for Mass and confession. But should I? I sort of treat confession like an ATM–show up, confess to Jesus through the priest, and cash in on some grace and peace of mind. It only occurred to me recently that maybe I’m supposed to make it into more of a relationship with a priest/spiritual director. Have I been going about this all wrong?


Having a spiritual director or a regular priest you confess to is a nice-to-have.* They can get to know you, help you work through problems, understand your weaknesses and so forth.* But there is such a shortage of Priests these days that it isn’t always practical.* Whether or not you should have one is entirely a personal preference.* No one can really tell you that you should or shouldn’t.* However you can also consider finding a spiritual mentor.* Seek and you shall find.* I couldn’t find a priest to be a spiritual director for me but I do have a spiritual mentor I am working with.* We meet every 2 weeks and read bible passages and she gives me books to read and she helps me to understand and stay on the straight and narrow.* Perhaps you could consider this?Sarah


I don’t see the difference between a spritual director and a mentor. I’m confused.

There are many spiritual directors who are lay men and women, also many who are religious brothers and religious sisters.

In our Order most of our spiritual directors are religious brothers, not priests. The reason is simple, Mystical Theology is not part of the ordinary curriculum of studies for priests. The get an overview course on spirituality and an overview course on pastoral counseling. Our Brothers who are spiritual directors all have Master’s Degrees in Mystical Theology, that is four years of nothing but the study of the spiritual life.

Do you mean by a mentor one who is not academically trained to be a spiritual director?

Confused :shrug:

JR :slight_smile:


Sorry for the confusion, I guess I am too.
I guess in my mind I defined a spiritual director as usually being a Priest who you can confess to. Or a person trained as such.

A mentor to me is a mature Catholic who helps guide you through your life to ensure you are on a good path. Obviously they can’t hear confession but if you are comfortable with them you can still get guidance regarding sin.

I am 33 and my mentor is around 60 (I think.) She is a lay person but has been involved with the Catholic church for 50 years and has worked alongside some Bishops doing certain spiritual warfare type work and stuff. Anyway my point is that she is very helpful with so much for me because of her experience.

It sounds like you actually know more than I do.

In the end it is my opinion that it isn’t necessary/required but a nice to have and totally up to you as to whether you want one or not.



Given your mentor’s background, even though she does not have the acedmic degree, it sounds like she has the experience. That’s a spritual director. Catherine of Siena was a lay woman, never had a degree. Francis of Assisi was a lay man, never had a degree. Elizabeth Ann Seton was a Sister, never had a degree. The Cure de Ars was a priest, never had a degree in Mystical Theology. These people have an insight into the soul that is just as good as a degree or even better.

A confessor is not a spiritual director. Confession is not mean to be used as Spiritual Direciton. However, it can be, if the priest is trained in spiritual direction and if it’s done when there is time for intercourse between the individual and the priest. The usual Satuday line is not the time for Spiritual Direction. If you go to my parish we have three priests hearing confessions every Saturday and there is a line almost an hour long for each priest. Only one of our priests is trained in spiritual direction. The others always refer you to either him or to one of our Lay Brothers who is a Mystical Theologian or two of our Secular Franciscans who were appointed by the Church to be Spiritual Directors.

That being said, I would never discourage anyone from bringing up the spiritual llife in the confessional. It’s up to the priest to be honest and say whether he knows what you’re talking about or is out of his league. They usually do well in the area of virtue. It’s in the area of prayer and ascetisism that they have little training.

I do believe that everyone should have a good spritual director. There is more to the Christian life than just staying away from sin. We have to move forward in the area of contemplation, ascetisism, meditation on the virtues, conemplation of the reality of God, submission to obedience, detachment from things and persons, and knowledge of grace. Otherwise, we remain at the beginning stage, as St. Teresa of Avila pointed out.


JR :slight_smile:


Ok so now that we’ve cleared all that up, back to your original question. Do you think you’ve “been going about it all wrong?”

What do you think you should do?



Why are you asking me what I think I should do? I didn’t ask the queston. In fact, I do spiritual direction as ministry to families with developmentally disabled youth and to religious in our diocese.

I’m kind of confused. HELP!!! :eek:

JR :slight_smile:


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