Many people who want to deepen their prayer lives and their faith have no idea how to do it.
Working with a spiritual director might be the answer.
The Diocese of Charleston has recently started a spiritual direction program, and people are encouraged to try sessions with a certified leader if they are looking for a deeper relationship with God.
“We all have a responsibility because of our baptismal call to continue in our spiritual and emotional formation, and to constantly grow in our faith,” said Franciscan Sister Kathleen Adamski, manager of pastoral formation for the diocese. Her office is coordinating the spiritual direction program.
“Spiritual direction is a way of learning how to appreciate and learn how the Lord is directing you and moving you in your life,” Sister Kathleen said. “It can be helpful to have someone to act as a spiritual companion as you mature in your faith, to help you listen to where God is leading you.”
Sister Kathleen was trained to be a spiritual director at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. She said training programs are offered around the country at Catholic colleges and universities, at retreat centers, and through some religious orders.
To be certified as a spiritual director, men and women must complete several years of training in topics such as Scripture, Church history, and forms of prayer. They must also go through instruction on how to be an effective listener and how to work with individuals from many different backgrounds and levels of spiritual knowledge.
Most directors meet with a client once a month and ask for a nominal fee. They generally look at three aspects of a person’s life: prayer, family and personal relationships, and daily work or vocation. Then, recommendations on prayer techniques, Scripture readings or other spiritual activities are made to help a person enhance the role of God in each aspect.
Franciscan Sister Patricia Rogan has served as a spiritual director for nearly 40 years. She received her training at a Jesuit retreat center in Warnersville, Pa.
“I became a spiritual director because people were coming to me and asking questions about their spiritual lives, and I felt there was such a need for people to have a companion to share this with,” she said. “My goal as a spiritual director is to journey with them, to make them more aware of how God is working in their lives.”
Sister Patricia said many people have considered spiritual direction but are often hesitant to make the first phone call. She suggests booking an appointment with two or three different people to find someone who is the right fit.
Those interested in learning more about the program can speak with or set up an appointment with one of the directors listed here: https://sccatholic.org/spiritual-directors-south-carolina.