This week-long intensive course will provide a deeper foundation for understanding and engaging in the practice of spiritual direction in the Christian tradition. It is intended to enhance the students’ understanding of the spiritual life, with attention given to developing the basic skills required for this ministry.
– To have an understanding of the spiritual life, its breadth, depth, and language, in order to understand the context of spiritual direction ministry.
– To examine and understand the core principles of effective spiritual direction, noting the implications for both the director and the directee.
– To enhance and practice the basic interpersonal skills necessary for the exercise of this ministry, such as maintaining appropriate boundaries, dealing with transference and counter-transference, etc.
– To explore a range of issues for which people might find themselves when seeking spiritual direction such as loss, grief, spiritual darkness, alienation from the church, and abuse.
The week-long introductory intensive (November 2019) or permission of the instructor
The class will include some lecture and some interactive exercises. These exercises will be used for practicing some of the skills needed for spiritual direction, such as active listening. Discussion of the reading assignments will be part of the class.
-Henri Nouwen, Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming (New York: Doubleday, 1992)
-Janet K. Ruffing, To Tell the Sacred Tale: Spiritual Direction and Narrative (Paulist Press, 2011)
PAPER : A review of and reflection on one of the following , 6-8 pages, due before the final intensive week.
-Tilden Edwards, Embracing the Call to Spiritual Depth: Gifts for Contemplative Living (New York: Paulist Press, 2010)
-May, Gerald. Dark Night of the Soul: A Psychiatrist Explores the Connection Between Darkness and Spiritual Growth (San Francisco: Harper, 2005)
-Henri Nouwen: Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life (New York: Doubleday, 1975)
The third and final week-long intensive in the program is scheduled in the Fall, October 25-30, 2020. Registration for this final session will be available soon. A certificate of completion will be awarded upon completion of the entire program, which includes these three week-long sessions and the required course work.
Guided by Kathy Brown and Sr. Bernie Claps, CBS.
Kathleen Hope Brown, D.Min., teaches spiritual direction and other courses in spirituality at the Virginia Theological Union. Her doctorate in Adult Spiritual Formation is from Catholic University.
Sister Bernadette Claps, a Sister of Bon Secours, provides spiritual direction and spiritual companionship at the Retreat and Conference Center at Bon Secours. She holds graduate certificates in Spiritual Direction, Spirituality and Aging. She has done graduate studies in theology and received a Master of Social Work from New York University.