Spiritual Direction Training


I am very interested in spiritual direction and want to pursue this. Before I bring it up to my formators I want to have some ideas of where I can go for such training.

Any one out there know of some good programs to train Spiritual Directors?



The Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre in Niagara Falls offers a program which I am presently looking into.



I wonder how a lay person could ever be a spiritual director, being confession is usually involved?

Also, I would think it takes more than training, but experience living a spiritual life as a religious, to be a spiritual director.




I have been in direction for over 20 years. Although confession CAN be part of it, it does not necessarily mean it does. At mount Carmel, there have been lay people and religious sisters who have been spiritual directors, if I am correct. Although there is nothing wrong with this, I do prefer a priest for many reason. Many of the relgiious are too liberal for me is one thing I do not like.

I have been told many times to take this course at Mount Carmel, but I naturally shy away from such a responsibility. I do not believe that I am called and I believe that priests are your better directors…

Just my 2 cents though…


Well, if you want to come back to Houston, St. Thomas has a program that I have heard good things about. :smiley:


It was something that I did not think about for myself until I took a retreat in Conyers. If I find the address I was given, I will post it. I do think that a person needs to be living a spiritual life. There are helping skills that need to be developed. I see where the person acting as spiritual director might be a lay minister or deacon. I am neither. The most important ability would involve those listening and people skills that help guide without giving directions (not telling a person exactly what to do). I went through spiritual direction when I first returned to college. I have received guidance at retreat houses. My guide during the first retreat I ever made was a nun.There was a lay couple at one retreat house who were actively involved in guiding retreatants.
I do agree that living a spiritual life is the most important requirement of a spiritual director.


I hope these programs do a good job screening candidates for this training.

I know a few people who would jump on this opportunity in a heartbeat if given the chance, but they’d be train-wrecks as SD’s.

Personally, I think only a priest is qualified to be a spiritual director, and at that, it should be a priest with training in spirituality. Not all diocesan priest receive spiritual training in their formation process.



I tend to agree. There is so much involved…the discernement process is so important. A priest must discern whether the person is experiencing something of God, of the human spirit or even demonic. With so much new age, etc going on, the director must be able to read the soul, as it were. It is a gift of course, but I believe at ordination all priests receive all the necessary gifts to be able to minister. Whether they are open to the gifts is another thing…

I could never go to a lay person or religious sister for something so important…


Why a person is seeking spiritual direction may be a determining factor in whether or not a priest is necessary. Is the person discerning religious life? As a lay person, how could I answer that? A postulant would receive direction from the abbess or mother superior. When I received spiritual direction on my return to college, I did have a priest as spiritual director. Under obedience to his own superiors, he is no longer available because of an out of state transfer. Parish priests and other priests face time contraints and are often not available to provide spiritual direction, even if this is something that they want to do. There are lay individuals who attend daily Mass, recite the LOTH, and are well versed in many of the devotional classics. Spiritual direction involves a call. As with any position, the person has to be aware of his/her parameters and limitations. This includes referring the person seeking direction if needed to see a priest or other person who would be better able to help that person on his/her spiritual path.


This discussion is nice but I am really looking for places where I might get this training.

For me, any religious is capable of doing spiritual direction, as long as they have the capacity and the training. One does not need to be a priest.

Though that is the path I am on right now.

My view is colored by the fact that I am a Byzantine Catholic. In the Eastern rites all monks are viewed as spiritual fathers, this is why all religious are addressed as Father (instead of Brother) regardless of whether they are ordained or not.


I agree Jim and think that it would be more of a gift from the Holy Spirit more than a wish to train others to direct.

By the way Jim, I have always been thankful for your assistance in the past, even though you may not have known this.



In the Eastern rites all monks are viewed as spiritual fathers, this is why all religious are addressed as Father (instead of Brother) regardless of whether they are ordained or not.

By the same token, fully professed nuns are addressed as Mother.


Contact the Jesuits. No matter what anyone thinks of their recent theology, they have been involved in the art of spiritual direction since their beginnings with St. Ignatius. My husband went through a spiritual direction certification course (3 year program) during which the first year was only going through the Spiritual Exercises (19 Annotated Retreat). Also look into the Carmelites. They are located in the DC area.


Yes, I know of the Jesuits and I am one of those Carmelites located in the DC area.:thumbsup:


Hi! are you saying that there could be training from the Carmelites?
Seems good if you can if that is what God wants. Could you let me know please.


Yes, I would, too, and I’m in the PNW (and have access, obviously, to the Internet for online courses).:confused:


Do not the Carmelites give Igantian training? They have here…


No, our spirituality is Carmelite, not Ignatian.

I wish to do spiritual direction with individuals over a long period of time. I am not interested in doing Igantain directed retreats.

I would not be against working in one of our retreat houses doing directed retreats but that is not my focus and, again, our charism and spirituality is different.


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