Ignatian Spirituality Centre
What is the aim of spiritual
The short answer is
"to facilitate a person's spiritual
this may happen following an experience of
or spiritual or
religious renewal. Conversion does not
joining a church
or religion (although that might be involved) as
conversions in 12 step programs or while coming
difficult or trying event. This often gives a
basis to a
person's relationship with God.
I Think I might have had a mystical
or spiritual experience. Should
I seek spiritual direction?
When something like
that happens a person often goes through
"honeymoon" period during which the interior
by God are
received thankfully and rejoiced in for their own
Such "cloud 9"
experiences may last a few weeks or many months,
sooner or later the
person will come down to earth. Then the
living out one's renewal will have to be dealt
That is the time
when spiritual direction can be most helpful.
Once the honeymoon is over, one often runs into a
obstacles that can make it difficult to live out
conversion, such as
the return of old habits that were part of the
existence. It is a time for struggle and
and for making
headway. One has to face temptations of various
- it's normal to
have them. And one needs to discover the hidden
to one's forward
movement in union with God.
How does a spiritual director help?
director is someone who is acquainted with
other spiritual experiences in people and should
to mediate what
has been learned and accumulated by holy people
thousands of years.
But more than that, the director provides an
compassionate ear for the person's experiences.
someone has gone
through a religious renewal or conversion, he or
needs to speak
about it to someone who can grasp what it means.
another, without reception of such communications
response to them
by the other person, the conversion itself could
it could seem
doubtful, or unimportant, unreal - even insane.
As time goes on,
decisions will have to be made on the
basis of what the
Spirit has been doing and urging within the
decisions in life involves discernment, not only
but of inner experiences as well. These bring up
and the direction they seem to indicate. Having a
non-judgmental spiritual director can be of
Are there different kinds of spiritual
Yes. These are not
limited to distinct faith traditions.
Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim each may
several methods of
spiritual discernment and direction. For example,
Catholic church there are different schools such
Augustinian, Carmelite, Dominican/Franciscan,
so on. There are many different ways in which
are called by
God and moved by the Spirit.
No locality can be
directly in touch with vast range of
it is a great advantage to have available a
individuals trained and experienced in different
What do you mean by "Lay" spirituality?
A lay person is
someone who is not a member of the clergy,
order or congregation, such as a priest, nun or
is simply a way to develop one's spirituality
having to choose a
religious vocation or joining a religious
In former times, it
was mainly members of these groups, as well as
received the benefit of spiritual direction. Only
exceptional lay person would seek out or receive
for the laity was normally thought of as just
of God and the Church and receiving the
been a widespread interest in participating in a
with God without having a professional "calling."
Is the Ignatian Centre considered a
Centre, while founded by the Montreal Jesuit
1976, is independent of the Roman Catholic
and run by
lay people. This is not to mean that the centre
laity - many spiritual directors and directees
to have a
How is spiritual direction different
from other kinds of counseling?
There is often
overlap between different kinds of counseling.
they all deal with people that can't keep all
of their lives in
total isolation. Spiritual direction does not try
deal with marriage
problems, compulsive behaviors such as substance
problems that are psychological or in need of
issues are best left to professionals who are
in these areas.
In other words,
spiritual direction does not try to deal
solving, but rather with the needs of spiritual
in union with
God. If social, psychological or medical problems
come into play,
spiritual direction in the background might be
but only if
it does not interfere with the help received from
Do I have to be Catholic or Christian
to receive direction from the
Ignatian Centre? Will I have
the Catholic church?
No and no. Our
services are available to anyone regardless
affiliation (or non-affiliation). In fact we have
direction coming from many traditions, even
While the Centre,
its basis in Ignatian spirituality and the
Jesus are part of
the Roman Catholic tradition, no demands are
on directees. We
strongly believe that the message of Jesus Christ
should come freely without any commitment to join
Of course Christians of any stripe, practicing or
are most welcome
to enhance their understanding of Christ through
How do I find and choose a spiritual
In the past, this
has usually been through word-of-mouth
priest or minister during counseling might
and even a director. Today, the Centre provides
a brief confidential interview, the Centre will
one or more matches
with potential directors based on a number of
language/culture, religious background, etc.).
not required, it is
usually a good idea to meet a few times before
"chemistry" is right with an assigned director.
any time you do
not feel comfortable or otherwise think your
director is not a
good "fit", the centre will find you another. You
discretion, select a director based on someone
Do the Centre's spiritual directors
receive training? Are they
Yes. Formation and
certification can take up to two years
or longer to
complete. In addition all directors registered
maintain their certification by continuing
Is there a code of ethics?
spiritual directors are required to follow
can be read here
This includes the
confidentiality of every and all sessions.
What kind of commitment is required
to receive spiritual direction?
It used to be
insisted that that complete and entire obedience
given to the spiritual director as long as one
her) direction. Thankfully, this is no longer the
The freedom of
conscience and autonomy of persons is carefully
in all cases.
In no case will a director give an order. While
be necessary to
ask very pointed questions in order to get to the
of the issue at
hand, a spiritual director will never "tell you
From a time
perspective, you should be prepared to meet
director once a week for about an hour. It is
productive to meet
more frequently or for longer than 90 minutes per
also make time for daily prayer and reflection.
guidelines are merely suggested, as you will
what works best
for you with your director. Typically, spiritual
lasts for a
year or longer, depending on your needs.
/This FAQ is based
on an article by John Wickham, SJ that
The Catholic Times, Montreal May 1981./
Ignatian Spirituality Centre of Montreal Contact