Becoming a Spiritual Director

A spiritual director is a companion for individuals on a journey of spiritual growth and awakening. According to Mary Ann Scofield, RSM, Ph.D., “The major premises that underlie spiritual direction are disarmingly simply, namely:

  • That God is active in our lives, constantly taking the initiative
  • That God’s actions are unrelentingly loving (which is not to say always easy or comforting, but, rather, always on the side of our deepest desires)
  • That we can experience these actions of God, can sense the movement of God’s Spirit and
  • That we can respond to these movements either with willingness or with resistance.

Spiritual Direction Training

Mercy by the Sea offers several different training opportunities, especially for spiritual directors. In addition to these programs, should you desire to find a spiritual director, contact Joan Linley, Program Director at 203.245.0401, ext. 120, or via email

The Spiritual Direction Practicum

The Spiritual Direction Practicum is a two-year program to form and supervise those who are discerning a call to this ministry of spiritual companionship. The program includes readings, classroom discussion on topics in spiritual direction, written assignments, self-reflection, prayer, and the hands-on experience of offering spiritual direction to at least two directees.

The heart of the program is the process of presenting verbatims of spiritual direction sessions and case studies for in-the-moment supervision by peers and faculty mentors – and, in turn, serving as a peer supervisor for classmates. This is a dynamic process that requires the capacity to receive and offer honest and constructive feedback in the service of deepening self-awareness, personal growth and skill development.

A spiritual director’s own prayer life, capacity for self-reflection, self-awareness and spiritual maturity are integral to her/his ministry. Therefore, applicants must have received spiritual direction for a minimum of six months before applying to the Practicum, and must continue to receive spiritual direction. In addition, a basic foundation in the areas of scripture, theology and psychology is necessary for admission.

The Practicum includes:

  • 26, two-hour Wednesday evening sessions per year, running from September to April
  • A Saturday Reflection Day to begin the fall semesters
  • 3 Saturday modules in the fall for entering participants
  • A silent retreat weekend in January of both years.

Cost for each year of the two-year program is $1,500 (fall 2017 – spring 2018).

For more information, please contact Joan Linley at (203) 245-0401 ext. 120 or email her at

Spiritual Direction Internship

The spiritual direction internship was set up for those who feel called to the ministry of spiritual direction but are unable to attend the weekly practicum classes. The program, which combines individual study and monthly sessions with a staff supervisor for a two-year period, includes:

  • Dialog on selected readings in spiritual direction,
  • Supervision of written session verbatims, and
  • Participation in two residential Institutes in Spiritual Direction.

The fee for each monthly session is $50.

The Institute in Spiritual Direction

This six-day residential program is open to beginning and experienced directors who seek to develop their skills and expertise. The program includes:

  • Opportunities for input, role play and dialog
  • Presentation of written verbatims
  • Small peer supervision group
  • The opportunity to lead the group in prayer.

There is also time for study, rest, quiet and evening communal prayer.

Applicants must be directing a minimum of two persons and bring a written verbatim. An interview is required for admission.

For information about the spiritual direction internship, Institute in Spiritual Direction and fees for the latter, please contact Joan Linley, Program Director: (203) 245-0401, ext. 120 or

Retreat Direction Internship

This internship is designed specifically for spiritual directors who are interested in leading directed retreats. Extending over a two-year period, participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Dialog on the Ignatian Retreat Exercises
  • Receive supervision of retreat direction experiences

For more information on this program, please contact Joan Linley, Program Director at 203.245.0401, ext. 120, or