I was at a church function last weekend, when I happened across a woman I’ll call Anita. I didnt really know many people at the function, and it turned out neither did she, and as I’m sure you are aware, people standing around awkwardly often attract other people who have been standing around awkwardly. Apparently I was looking awkward, because she came right over to me and struck up a conversation about how she didnt really know anybody either, and how old was I anyway becuase I looked about 16, and oh-my-goodness you’re married with a child!?
After a few minutes, one of the Sisters– Sr. Kathy– who I did know, approached us to say hello. We chitchatted for a few minutes, and then Anita asked Sr Kathyif she was a Spiritual Director– apparently Anita’s in the market for a new one. I had no idea what a Spiritual Director was, but assumed it was some kind of ministry related position of which I was ignorant, so I just smiled politely while they chatted and waited for the conversation to turn back to something I could contribute to. (Hey, at least I wasnt standing around awkwardly anymore– I was part of chatty little group! Hurray!)
The Sister was not a Spiritual Director herself, but was able to point Anita in the right direction. After Sr. Kathy left the conversation, Anita turned to me and said,
“Do you know what Spiritual Directors are?”
“No,” I said, “I’ve never heard of that before?”.
“Basically, it’s a person from the church, either a nun or a priest or a deacon, who agrees to take on the position of directing you spiritually. They sit and talk with you about your life and the church and how the two relate. It’s better than psychotherapy and it’s free!”
With such a recommendation, I couldnt help but look into this more!
Now I don’t currently feel the need for psychotherapy, although I have in the past been through some times in my life where I did seek out the treatment of a mental health professional. I actually found it quite helpful during those times of extreme duress. Combining what good experiences I’ve had in counseling, WITH someone who falls in line with the teachings of the church, would be excellent!
So I’m looking into it. From what I understand, you can call your parish and ask to be referred to a Spiritual Director– even if you arent struggling with anything particularly troublesome at the moment! It’s good to know– and since as a lifelong Catholic I’d never heard of it, I thought it might be helpful to share!