Spiritual directors


I am discerning a vocation as a sister. I am new in my parish, and in fact , until last NOvember, have been attending an out of town Latin Mass for years, so in this parish, strictly “novus ordo”, I am not known.

Part of my discernment with a particular community requires a spiritual director. Going back to the Latin mass priest, a dear friend, is out of the question since that group is not “in communion with Rome”

I thought it would be easy to get an appointment with a priest for a few 30-minute sessions, but not so. I have called the parish office several times. No priest appointment, but one of the activities directors gave me the phone number of a married couple. For spiritual direction as discernment for a vocation as an older woman? I am in my 60s, going thru an annulment, children grown and gone, looking at the last section of my life on Earth, to make it as compassionate and fruitful as it can be…

I’m no saint so it’s not like I’m expecting a priest who will listen raptly to my every thought, but come on, why is it so hard to see a priest? I am not OK with discussing my deepest spiritual life with a married couple, esp regarding my current discernment.

Do I just not understand the “modern” church approach to spiritual direction? AS a convert, the Latin Mass priest was as close as I got, though when I converted in 2001, the “NOvus ordo” priest at that time was available for appointments. Those few appointments were key in my coming to the CAthlic faith with some understanding.

This week I attended another church thinking I will change my new membership to teh church across town where a priest might be available. I’m not asking for the moon here. Why is it so hard to see a priest? I know they are busy - even a deacon would do I guess, but sheesh, somebody! Advice?


Call your diocese and ask for nuns who do spiritual direction or call nearby convents to ask the same. If this gets nowhere, call back the diocese or male religious communities to ask for priests who do SD.

If you are discerning becoming a nun, I suspect a nun with experience would probably be a better director than a priest anyways - they know exactly what that life entails.


Priests often don't have the training or the time to serve as spiritual directors, though it's wonderful when they do.

I'd suggest making an appointment with your pastor and start with him. Ask him for recommendations if he's not available himself.

Other places you might check would be any monasteries, convents, or retreat houses in your area. Spiritual direction may be something they offer (in the case of a retreat house) or it may be available from members of the community. Older religious can be great sources of wisdom and holiness.

Most of all, pray. The Holy Spirit is ultimately the one director and will help you find someone to assist.


Your diocese should have a vocations director who can help you with this.


Yes, priests are very busy and spread too thin. You have been given some good suggestions of where to look for a SD: ask your diocesan vocations director, call around to local retreat centers, ask at any religious houses which may be in your vicinity.

Be willing to travel outside your hometown to the next city or two over, if need be.

Good luck!


If by latin mass priest you mean the FSSP, then they are in communion, if you mean SSPX then this may be true, I haven’t been keeping up with events in their case. I am not certain how much spiritual direction is restricted in their state however. The FSSP priests are very busy since they are few and are trying to meet demands of a majority of Catholics. Novus priests are fine for direction.

The only serious caveat that comes to mind is the error of selecting a spiritual director of the order you will be joining IF they are also a member of a novice elective counsel. They should know enough to be up front, bend to Catholic rules, and plead conflict of interest.

I would never select a lay member or couple for spiritual direction and I know some dioceses allow this. A Deacon is also fine, although I have never been comfortable with the idea. Too close to the secular for my comfort, the risk too important for community living as it were.

On going into vocation we shed the old skin, and delving unhealthily in the past only saps energy for the new. But of course, we should always remember the lesson and the injury it caused our Lord, but forget everything else.

You might also consider a token of your appreciation too. These people give their free time for us. At Christmas a card with a donation, and every now and then just to say their help is not forgotten. I never had trouble finding a priest for spiritual direction, but these days of few priests may result in a hit and miss search in finding one, but it isn’t personal.


If your heart is set on having a priest as your spiritual director, then I would suggest contacting a retired priest in your area. They will have more free time available than an active priest. The vocations director in your diocese can probably help you with your search.


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