Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Spiritual Direction

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Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction

A spiritual director helps people discern how the Holy Spirit is leading and working in their life. There is a great need for more committed Christians to serve as spiritual directors. Spiritual directors can be lay men and women, vowed religious or priests.

A well-trained spiritual director will have completed a master's-level theology degree plus specialized training in spiritual direction. Spiritual direction is distinct from psychological counseling, although a good spiritual director will draw on insights from pastoral psychology as well as the Christian spiritual tradition.

Saint Meinrad's graduate certificate in spiritual direction is an 18-credit, three-year program intended to give you the intellectual framework and practical skills to serve as an effective spiritual director.

It combines hybrid distance courses and on-campus coursework with a year-long supervised spiritual direction practicum. The program covers various methods of spiritual direction, but emphasizes the Benedictine tradition and charisms.

Tuition and Financial Information

Program participants pay the regular graduate tuition rate for spiritual direction certificate courses. Saint Meinrad alumni may receive the regular alumni tuition discount.

For information, visit Financial Information or contact the Financial Aid Office at 888-455-3329 or financialaid@saintmeinrad.edu.

Prerequisites and Admission

  1. Master's-level theological degree or completed diaconal formation program 
  2. Receive regular spiritual direction for at least one year prior to enrollment (at least six meetings/year)
  3. Recommended minimum age of 30
  4. Complete the application process: 
    • 3 recommendations
    • Application form
    • Application essays
    • Entrance interview

Request an application form by emailing apply@saintmeinrad.edu.

Applications for the January 2015 cohort will be mailed on February 28, 2014. They must be submitted by August 1, 2014. All applications will be reviewed between August 1 and September 15, 2014, with the admissions decisions announced immediately after the review process is complete.

Students who successfully complete the graduate certificate in spiritual direction will:

  • understand how the cognitive, emotional, psychosocial, psychosexual dimensions of human development and Christian maturation;
  • demonstrate basic understanding of the variety of Christian spiritual traditions and how they relate to the practice of spiritual direction;
  • appreciate the spiritual themes in Scripture and be able to use Scripture effectively and responsibly when providing spiritual direction;
  • understand the theology, practice, and limits of the spiritual direction relationship;
  • demonstrate sufficient theological knowledge, self-awareness, and psychological health and maturity to provide effective spiritual direction;
  • demonstrate the ability to provide spiritual direction and receive constructive individual and group feedback and supervision.

18 graduate credits, as follows:

Human Development and Christian Maturity (3 credits)

This course examines specific dimensions of human development (i.e., cognitive, emotional, psychosocial, psychosexual) and juxtaposes them with models of moral, spiritual and faith development, with an emphasis on trying to arrive at a broad and integrated notion of Christian maturity – especially as it is informed by the Benedictine tradition.

History of Christian Spirituality (3 credits)

This course focuses on the historical development of various Christian spiritual traditions, with special emphasis on the Benedictine tradition. Students explore the practices and methods of particular approaches, especially as they inform the spiritual direction relationship.

Spiritual Themes in Scripture (3 credits)

This course covers the entire Christian scriptural canon. Presuming prior graduate-level Scripture coursework, this course focuses on spiritual themes and appropriate use of Scripture in spiritual direction, especially the Benedictine practice of lectio divina.

Spiritual Direction and Discernment (3 credits)

This course addresses a basic history and theology of spiritual direction. It then focuses on the essential practice of discernment through psychological, pastoral and spiritual lenses – including professional referral.

Spiritual Direction Practicum (6 credits)
  • Pre-practicum: This intensive session covers the practical methodology and ethics of spiritual direction, including the integration of other theological disciplines into spiritual direction.
  • Practicum: Over 12 months, you must:
    • provide spiritual direction to at least two clients (at least six sessions per client)
    • receive mentoring and direction from a qualified supervisor
    • submit regular written reflections/verbatims.
  • Post-practicum: This wrap-up meeting entails several days of reporting and group reflection on the practicum experience.
Formation Expectations
  • Receive regular spiritual direction for the duration of the program
  • Make a formal weekend retreat each year
  • Appropriate assessment/testing
Requirements for Certificate Completion
  • Successfully complete course work
  • Successfully complete supervised practicum
  • Meet formation expectations
  • Demonstrate readiness for the role