Spiritual director

Is having a spiritual director during discernment necessary? Do most religious communities prefer you have one? My priest is unable to help me out as he drives four hours round trip for Mass and only on Sundays, there are no religious close enough that I would be able to see regularly, and frankly I'm weary of going to any other priest in my area, knowing how liberal they are. Any advice? Should I just write to the religious communities I'm interested in anyway and see what say?

[quote="Angelus_Domini, post:1, topic:202499"]
Is having a spiritual director during discernment necessary? Do most religious communities prefer you have one? My priest is unable to help me out as he drives four hours round trip for Mass and only on Sundays, there are no religious close enough that I would be able to see regularly, and frankly I'm weary of going to any other priest in my area, knowing how liberal they are. Any advice? Should I just write to the religious communities I'm interested in anyway and see what say?

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I would write to religious communities anyway. I highly recommend St. Cecelia's in Nashville. They're Dominicans. As orthodox as the Pope. They're bringing in, if I recall correctly, 23 this year. Get on the list. Make contact. My first cousin is a nun there. It's gorgeous! A pre-Civil War hospital that they turned into a convent. On top of a hill in Nashville with trees, etc. I was there three days and there were about 150 of the nuns around and not one time, did I see anything but a glowing smile on any of their faces! The nun that talked to my aunt and uncle said they were just there to make Saints. :)

Having a spiritual director is not a hard and fast rule, but the kind of discernment you will be doing with a community is similar to what a spiritual director will help you with. Learning about the person you are, your deepest desires, and your spiritual life in general can be extremely confusing, especially when left to your own thoughts. It is hard to know what is truly important, which thoughts are not as big a deal as you might make them, etc. Personally, my spiritual director is a crucial part of my discernment, the whole process would be so messy without a wise, holy priest to help me through. I can understand how hard it must be (we are very blessed to have many good, orthodox priests in the area, I know many diocese are lacking). Have you tried asking your priest if there is anyone he would recommend for you? Be honest, tell him you are looking for a spiritual director, you know he is busy, and you are not comfortable with some of your possible choices. I'm sure he will help if he can. Even if its someone a bit far away, meeting with them once a month or something would still be worthwhile. God bless you in your discernment, I'm sure the Lord will bring you where you need to be.

Also, to the above poster, the Nashville Dominicans are absolutely the best. Two wonderful parishioners I am good friends with have a daughter who recently made final vows. You are so right, fiercely orthodox, and so joyous! You can see in each of them that there is no place they'd rather be. God bless the work they do educating our youth :D

In Christ and Our Immaculate Mother,
Frank

[quote="Angelus_Domini, post:1, topic:202499"]
Is having a spiritual director during discernment necessary? Do most religious communities prefer you have one? My priest is unable to help me out as he drives four hours round trip for Mass and only on Sundays, there are no religious close enough that I would be able to see regularly, and frankly I'm weary of going to any other priest in my area, knowing how liberal they are. Any advice? Should I just write to the religious communities I'm interested in anyway and see what say?

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Communities certainly do prefer you to have a Spiritual Director, and some here will tell you that they are a necessity. However, many orders and dioceses are aware that there is a very real lack in spiritual direction and are willing to take people who have had to discern a little more on their own. (I am fortunate in that the diocese is helping to find spiritual direction for their discerners because they know that they don't have the priests trained).

I would write to the communities you are interested in, and if they ask explain the situation as you have here.

Pax et Bonum

I did not have a spiritual director until after I entered Carmel. I was in regular contact with the nuns though and received guidance from them and advice when I needed them. It is wonderful to have one if possible but not something one has to be scrupulous about. It does not even have to be a priest but it can be someone who is mature and understands the life you plan to embark on. The more one's spiritual life deepens, the more complicated and subtle temptations can be. Spiritual Director is someone we need to pray for and is a great gift from God when you find one.

You are very wise to be wary of potential spiritual directors who might be too liberal. One of the best things about mine, a husband and wife team, is that I know that they are 100% orthodox, and any places they might have doubts or disagreements with the Church, they still teach orthodoxy and leave their own questions out of it. That way, I can relax with them and not have my heresy-detector on, you know? I can be authentic and ask all my questions without having to worry about being led astray by anyone's agenda.

If you truly can't find anyone to be a director, you might look to wise peers for a companion, someone at least to bounce ideas off and maybe read things together. It wouldn't be quite the same thing, but at least it would be a step in the right direction.

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