Seeking a spiritual director
Diocesan Spirituality Adviser Paul Swann looks at things to consider when looking for spiritual guidance.
Spiritual direction is a way of meeting with someone - a spiritual director or companion - to share our thoughts and reflections about our faith, and to consider how these may connect with every part of our daily life.
The variety of terms used are sometimes confusing: spiritual director, spiritual companion, soul-friend, prayer guide.
But they are essentially about the same thing, having someone who will walk with us on our Christian journey.
Who might value having a spiritual director?
Anyone! Or at least, anyone who simply wishes to take their Christian journey, and their growing in faith, seriously. Increasingly, lay people as well as clergy are finding the value of having a spiritual director.
The idea of spiritual direction is rooted in the reality of the Christian journey as a corporate one, a journey in which we travel with others, supporting and encouraging one another on the way. We mostly find this support and encouragement through our usual pattern of meeting for worship, meeting in small groups, and in individual encounters with friends and others.
But sometimes we find we want a particular person with whom we can meet on a regular basis to share our day-by-day struggles and challenges as we seek to grow as Christian disciples. This is the point where we may want to look for a spiritual director.
Finding a spiritual director
Finding and choosing a spiritual director is a very personal matter. Perhaps the first thing to do is to consider what it is that you want from spiritual direction, and then what kind of person you might look for. Does it matter, for example, if the person is a man or woman, clergy or lay? Is there some other consideration that is important to you?
You might be able to find a spiritual director by talking to your parish priest, or to someone else you know. Alternatively, there are a number of people who are available to offer spiritual direction, and who can be contacted through the Spiritual Direction Network.
Spiritual Direction Network in Worcester diocese
The Spiritual Direction Network has been active within the diocese for a number of years. The Network consists of a group of clergy and lay people who are available to offer spiritual direction. The Network also seeks to offer encouragement those who are engaged in the work of spiritual direction, and to encourage its wider use.
The secretary of the network is the Revd. Paul Harrison - 01562 700144.
A leaflet is available which provides information about spiritual direction, about the Spiritual Direction Network, and about how to find a spiritual director. Please feel free to print and share this leaflet.
Choosing a spiritual director: things to think about
The Retreat Association has a helpful leaflet which deals with many of the questions someone might have when they are looking for a spiritual director or spiritual companion.
For those who have had a spiritual companion for some time, the leaflet also has useful questions to aid reflection on how the relationship is going.
- Download the leaflet 'Choosing a Spiritual Guide'.