As we begin a new year, maybe you’re committing to growing in some way through new resolutions or goals. Whether it’s a new exercise routine, self-care practice, or attitude towards work, part of the formula for success may be getting the expert help we need, either from research or mentors. If you’re hoping to jumpstart your spiritual life and want some extra support to fulfill this resolution, spiritual direction can be a great resource. We asked our FemCatholic audience about how to find a spiritual director - here are the top tips that you shared.
Start with your local community
Starting with your local community offers you the ability to meet with a spiritual director in person and build a relationship with him or her more easily. If you attend your local parish, start there. Many of our community members began their search by asking their priest or deacon either to serve as a spiritual director or for recommendations. Many parish priests are busy and don’t have time to take on spiritual direction, but are happy to make recommendations.
Another option at the parish level is to check the website. My parish, along with many others, offers a survey with questions that help the coordinator pair you up with a spiritual director who could be a good fit based on your needs.
If you live in a city that hosts a university, check out their resources. Catholic university campus ministry offices or secular university Newman Centers often have a campus minister that can serve as a spiritual director or offer recommendations. A few of our community members were able to connect with their spiritual directors through their local university campus ministry.
With a quick Google search, you may also be able to find a local convent or monastery that offers spiritual directors. Many religious orders offer spiritual direction as part of their ministry and often have more availability than parish priests.
Lastly, check your (arch)diocese’s website. Several commenters mentioned that their diocesan website also offered a questionnaire that helped connect them with their current spiritual director.
Expand your search online
If you don’t mind yet another Zoom session on your calendar, you could reach out to a spiritual director beyond where you live and find a good fit.
One popular suggestion was Spiritual Directors International (SDI), which offers spiritual direction in many faith traditions and spiritualities. Their search offers filters in a variety of categories including faith tradition, gender of spiritual director, issues they specialize in, and whether you want to meet in person or remotely.
If you’re familiar with a religious order and want to work with one of its members, but don’t have a local convent or monastery, you can always reach out virtually. One commenter mentioned reaching out to the Felician Sisters via Instagram and connecting with one of their sisters, who now serves as her spiritual director. If you’re a fan of Ignatian spirituality (the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Jesuits), spiritual directors formed in that tradition can be found at the Ignatian Spirituality Institute.
Be patient, it can take a while to find a good fit
A final piece of advice is to treat finding a good spiritual director like you would finding a therapist or a significant other: It takes time, conversation, and patience.
Like with dating, be prepared for meeting people who wouldn’t be a good fit. It might take some time and several of these avenues to find a spiritual director. Unfortunately, not all priests or parishes may be helpful or even know how to direct you. If this is something that is important to you, keep trying!
Perseverance in this search is essential! A few members mentioned in their feedback that they tried several spiritual directors before finding the one that was the best fit. It’s okay to meet once or even a few times and feel like that particular spiritual director is not for you. Spiritual direction is about your personal growth, and so you should feel empowered to find someone that you feel comfortable with and challenged by.
And as cheesy as it may sound, ask the Holy Spirit to send you one! Your resolution to grow in your spiritual life is important to God as well as to you, and He will help you find the right fit.