April 30, 2007

Spiritual direction

A spiritual director is a compassionate, concerned observer whose task is to help people notice the ways in which God’s Spirit is moving in their lives. (Why meet with a spiritual director?)

What is group spiritual direction?

Group spiritual direction includes times of silence, time to speak about your faith journey, and time to listen deeply to other members of the group. A spiritual director guides the logistics of the process and helps the group to stay in a contemplative mode.

10th station of the cross: Jesus' clothes are takenYou might seek out a spiritual direction group if…

  • you want to be intentional about your faith and would like to be part of a community of like-minded people,
  • you are willing to rest in God’s presence on behalf of others to assist them in their ongoing discernment without trying to “fix it” for them,
  • you are drawn to contemplative, quieter forms of prayer or would like to deepen that aspect of your spiritual life.

To learn more, see Rose Mary Dougherty’s online pamphlet Group Spiritual Direction: What Is It?, or her book Group Spiritual Direction.

Looking for a spiritual direction group? If you happen to live in the California Bay Area, try New College Berkeley or Mercy Center.

Do you know of other resources for finding spiritual direction groups? Please leave a comment, or contact me directly.

Why meet with a spiritual director?

Meeting with a spiritual director can help you grow in your faith and become more fully who God created you to be. You might seek out a spiritual director if…

  • you would like someone to help you notice where God is showing up in your day-to-day life and how God is calling you to live,
  • you are in transition and wonder where God fits in, or you are making a decision and need help and encouragement in your discernment process,
  • you plan to go on a personal retreat and want spiritual direction before or during that time,
  • you are angry or doubting or having other issues with God and don’t feel free to explore it in your church or faith
    community, or
  • you feel a pull toward spiritual direction for whatever reason, and simply want to give it a try.


Typically, individual direction happens once a month for an hour, and groups meet once a month for two hours. It’s customary for spiritual directors to charge a fee.

When people are looking for a spiritual director, they often interview several directors to find out which one is right for them. The SDI site has a helpful list of questions to ask a prospective spiritual director.

For a description of how I proceed when someone contacts me about spiritual direction, see Spiritual direction agreement.

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