All photography provided by Bonnie

Spiritual direction is an ancient practice, from the earliest centuries of Christianity, in which the Spiritual Director companions the traveler on their spiritual journey, so that the traveler might deepen their relationship with God, become more aware of the presence of God in daily life, discern God’s leading, and bring wounds of the heart before God for healing. A Spiritual Director may also be known as a Spiritual Companion, Spiritual Guide, or Anam Cara (friend of the heart).

“Spiritual direction is, in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and [follow] the real Director — the Holy Spirit hidden in the depths of our soul.”
— Thomas Merton, Trappist monk

“Spiritual direction can mean different things to different people. Some people understand it to be the art of listening carried out in the context of a trusting relationship. It is when one person is trained to be a competent guide who then “companions” another person, listening to that person’s life story with an ear for the movement of the Holy, of the Divine.”
— Rev. Jeffrey S. Gaines, Presbyterian

“Spiritual direction is essentially companioning someone in his or her spiritual life. Other ways of describing spiritual
direction include holy listening, spiritual friendship, sacred journeying.”
— Janna Larson, Roman Catholic

“Spiritual guidance is being present in the moment, seeing and honoring the sacred mystery of the soul of another. It is witnessing this mystery and reflecting it back in word, prayer, thought, presence, and action. Spiritual guidance is modeling a deep relationship with the Divine and standing in faith and love with the other as that relationship unfolds. Spiritual guidance is a journey of deep healing and an affirmation of [wholeness], the Sacred, and the Mystery of all of life.”
— Carol A. Fournier, MS, NCC, Interfaith Spiritual Director/Guide, Silver Dove Institute, Williston, Vermont

“The greatest teacher is silence. To come out of interior silence and to practice its radiance, its love, its concern for others, its submission to God’s will, its trust in God even in tragic situations is the fruit of living from your inmost center, from the contemplative space within. The signs of coming from this space are a peace that is rarely upset by events, other people and our reactions to them, and a calm that is a stabilizing force in whatever environment you may be in. God gives us everything we need to be happy in the present moment, no matter what the evidence to the contrary may be. A good spiritual director helps us to sustain that trust.”
— Father Thomas Keating, Summer 1997, Part II lecture notes

“The object of spiritual direction is to cultivate one’s ability to discern God’s presence in one’s life—to notice and appreciate moments of holiness, to maintain an awareness of the interconnectedness of all things, to explore ways to be open to the Blessed Holy One in challenging and difficult moments as well as in joyful ones.
The director serves as a companion and witness, someone who helps you (sometimes with questions, sometimes just by listening) to discern the divine where you might have missed it and to integrate that awareness into your daily life, your
[prayers], your [social justice] work, your study, your [faith] practice.”
— Rabbi Jacob Staub, Jewish

“The whole purpose of spiritual direction is to penetrate beneath the surface of a person’s life, to get behind the façade of conventional gestures and attitudes which one presents to the world, and to bring out one’s inner spiritual freedom, one’s inmost truth, which is what [Christians] call the likeness of Christ in one’s soul. This is an entirely [spiritual] thing, for the work of rescuing the inner person... belongs first of all to the Holy Spirit.”
— Thomas Merton, Trappist monk

Based in part of Spiritual Directors International,
“What is Spiritual Direction/Companionship?”
More information is available at find-a-spiritual-director/what-is-spiritual-direction.