An ancient art that dates back to the early Church, spiritual direction is a ministry deeply rooted in the Christian tradition. Most fundamentally, the goal of spiritual direction is to help one to become more aware of God’s presence in his or her life and to make life decisions in fidelity to that awareness. Through the guidance of a trained spiritual director, this ministry can help one clarify, articulate and affirm a spiritual experience as revealed through all the situations and events in life. Spiritual direction is not psychotherapy or counseling, but utilizes the many skills of counseling.
The Art of Spiritual Direction professional certificate program provides a holistic formation program in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, which integrates theology, Scripture, psychology, spirituality, skills development and supervision in the art of spiritual direction. This program is a ministry of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Orange and is accredited by LMU Extension.
Who Should Participate
This program is open to men and women of all cultures and faith traditions in whom there is a recognizable call to the ministry of spiritual direction and who seek formal preparation. These people are aware of the sense of others “seeking them out” for deeper conversations and advice about the spiritual life, and desire a formation course which will companion them in this preparation. This program requires an application to be considered for enrollment. Applications are due by July 31.
As we consider the Holy Spirit the real director, the “human director” assumes no superiority in faith since we are all equal before God. Rather, the director attempts to assume a humble and contemplative posture toward the directee by companioning the seeker in witnessing God’s mysterious loving presence and action in their life. Students will be formed to fulfill this role in service to others. As such, they will learn to:
- Recognize the reality and depth of the inner being
- Understand how we meet God in the interior of our yearnings, hopes, joys, struggles, values and hurts
- Enter into one’s own depths, weaving together body, mind, spirit and emotions in the presence of the Creator
Credit from this program may be applicable to catechist certification at the discretion of the certifying diocese. Please be sure to check with the appropriate diocesan office to confirm that this program qualifies for credit towards certification or recertification. At the discretion of the department of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount, students who successfully complete this program course are eligible to receive six semester hours towards a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Theology with an emphasis in Spiritual Direction
Course and program requirements, schedules and tuition are subject to change; and additional fees may be incurred for books and materials. Click here to review all policies prior to enrollment. For additional information, contact the Center for Religion and Spirituality at (310) 338-2799 or email@example.com, or contact the program facilitators directly (listed below under 'Faculty'). Click for frequently asked questions.
Registration + Fees
This program is currently in progress. The next program will begins September 12, 2015.*
Application deadline: July 31, 2015. Click here to apply.
Classes meet once a month on Saturdays during the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters.
*Fall 2015 Schedule
Wilkie Au, Ph.D.
Students must complete a total of 18.0 semester hours in coursework with a letter grade of 'B-' or higher in each course to receive a certificate of completion. In the third year of the program, students will be required to complete a supervised practicum in which they will have at least two of their own directees and meet for supervision each month. Please refer to the course catalog for required text, class meeting location, and other general information.
Coursework: RELX 891, RELX 892, and RELX 893
The ministry of spiritual direction can be understood as the meeting of two or more people whose desire is to prayerfully listen for the movements of the Holy Spirit in all areas of a person’s life. It is a three-way relationship: among the true director who is the Holy Spirit (which in Christian tradition is the Spirit of Christ present in and among us), and the human director (who listens for the directions of the Spirit with the directee), and the directee. The interpretive framework of this relationship is seeded by understandings of the spiritual life found in scripture and in the lives and writings of great saints and theologians. In this course, students will be introduced to the basics of theology, psychology, spirituality, skills development, and supervision in the art of spiritual direction.
The ministry of spiritual direction can be understood as the meeting of two or more people whose desire is to prayerfully listen for the movements of the Holy Spirit in all areas of a person’s life. In this second course, students will continue their exploration of theology, psychology, spirituality, skills development, and supervision in the art of spiritual direction. Students will also be assigned to a mentoring group, in which they will stay until the conclusion of the third course. In each class meeting, there will be in-put from the presenter, time for personal reflection and process, and various practicum activities designed by the faculty or the presenter of the day. The purpose of these activities is to give students practical experiences in the knowledge and skills presented on the day. Prerequisite: Art of Spiritual Direction I
The ministry of spiritual direction can be understood as the meeting of two or more people whose desire is to prayerfully listen for the movements of the Holy Spirit in all areas of a person’s life. In this third course, students will continue their assignement to a mentoring group. Students are expected to meet at least six times, once during a month, for supervision with an approved supervisor, including supervision through the use of verbatims, and consultation regarding the practice of spiritual direction. This course will conclude with a capstone research paper. Prerequisite: Art of Spiritual Direction II