Intensive Training Program for those Interested in Spiritual Direction
Course Description and Goals:
This will be our 6th cohort of students within our Bon Secours Spiritual Direction Institute. Our first week-long course is an introduction and overview of spiritual direction in the Christian tradition. It is intended to enhance the student’s understanding of the spiritual life, with attention given to beginning to develop the basic skills necessary for this ministry. Classes will involve role-plays, opportunities for students to experience the roles of director and directee, while given supportive feedback.
Course Learning Objectives:
At the end of the course, a student will be able to:
-Have a basic understanding of the spiritual life, its breadth, depth, and language, in order to understand the context of spiritual direction ministry.
-Examine and understand the core principles of effective spiritual direction, noting the implications for both the director and the directee.
-Develop and practice the basic interpersonal skills necessary for the exercise of this ministry, such as active listening, self-disclosure, etc…
Required Texts :
Henri Nouwen. Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2006.
Margaret Guenther, Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction (Cowley Publications, 1992)
Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle (any edition)
Required Paper : A 6 to 8 page review of and reflection on one of the following books, the student’s choice, will be due after this first intensive week and the student will have time beyond the week to complete it:
Cynthia Bourgeault, Mystical Hope :Trusting in the Mercy of God (Cowley Publications, 2001) ISBN: 1-56101-193-2; ISBN13: 978-1-56101-193-3
Martin Laird, Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation (Oxford, 2006) ISBN-13: 978-0-19-530760-3
Nancy L. Bieber, Decision Making & Spiritual Discernment: The Sacred Art of Finding Your Way (Skylight Paths, 2012). ISBN: 978-1-59473-289-9
Please note that this is a commuter option and does not include lodging or breakfast each day.
The second week-long course in the program is scheduled in the fall, October 6-11, 2024 and the final week-long session is scheduled for April 27-May 2, 2025. 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.
To continue to meet the interests and needs of participants and the program we are requiring:
- A completed application, provided by a program coordinator upon registration.
- Contact information provided for two references. One of these references should be your spiritual director, pastor or a Bon Secours SDI alum.
- Correspondence from your current spiritual director, verifying that you receive spiritual direction and meet regularly.
The application, references and correspondence from your spiritual director will have a deadline prior to the Session 1 start date. A program coordinator will be in touch regarding this deadline after you’ve registered. This background information will ensure that your experience aligns with the requirements of our program, providing the best possible training for your future ministry.
If you have general programming questions, please contact Jen Murphy, Manager of Retreats & Events, by email Jennifer.Murphy@BonSecoursRCC.org.
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.