Spiritual Direction: What is it? Is it for me?

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There are many ways to grow spiritually. Bible study, reading, and contemplative prayer are just a few that come to mind. No one way is right for everyone and a combination of each of these may be appropriate for different times in one’s life.

Many of you know that I am trained as a Spiritual Director (I attended the same school as Fr. Paul). Some of you might ask what that means. A Spiritual Director helps guide people on their Spiritual Journey. Though it is often therapeutic, it is not therapy and I am not a trained mental health therapist. To me, the most important component of the process is listening as persons talk about their journey and the stumbling blocks and successes they have encountered. My own Spiritual Director likens it to a buffet where she makes suggestions that I may choose to try, or if they don’t appeal to me, I can ignore.
The most common type of Spiritual Direction is individual which is one-on-one. I have participated in this type for over 10 years. The other type is group where a small group (maximum 6) gather together to support one another with a facilitator. This second type is what I am proposing to begin with members of St. Thomas’s.

A group of six individuals will meet monthly in my home. I would act as facilitator for the group. The location is chosen for the ability to have confidentiality and for uninterrupted conversation. I want participants to feel that they are in a safe space during our time together.

We would start with prayer and some silence and then each person would have an opportunity to speak uninterrupted for approximately 5 minutes. The rest of the group will listen actively to the speaker. No one will be asked to comment on the speaker’s thoughts, nor should they discuss it with anyone else at any time, ever. After each person has had a chance to speak (or one can pass if they desire) I will speak briefly and we will end in prayer. The Spiritual Direction should last about an hour. I would ask for a commitment of 6 months (6 sessions). After that time, we would decide if the group wants to continue or disband.

Being in Spiritual Direction has helped me grow in my faith, in my love of God, in my prayer life and in how I approach my daily challenges. I believe that helping others to enrich their spiritual lives will also enrich St. Thomas’s. If you think you might be interested in joining this small group, please pray about it and then talk to me. I am also glad to answer any questions you might have, even if you don’t feel called to join.

Sister Jackie Fossler <srjacalynhild@gmail.com>