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: loss, grief, spiritual darkness, alienation from the church, and abuse.
The week-long introductory intensive (October 2022) 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)
After this session, students will be doing some spiritual direction and will write up two case studies for the final week.
The third and final week-long intensive in the program is scheduled in the fall, September 17-22, 2023. Registration for this final session will be available soon. A certificate of completion will be awarded upon completion of the entire program, which include these three week-long sessions and the required course work.
Check-in begins at 3pm. A gathering will be held after dinner.
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.