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Spiritual direction booming

Spiritual direction booming

The “spiritual but not religious” people in society, while not growing as a percentage of society, do seem to be driving a marked increase in the number of people providing spiritual direction.

“Membership in Spiritual Directors International, the largest such organization in the nation, has increased from about 400 at its beginning in 1990 to more than 6,000 today, including more than 250 in Massachusetts.

Driving the growth are millennials like Weaver, who are more apt than previous generations to identify as ‘spiritual but not religious.’’ Ed Cardoza, Weaver’s spiritual director and the founder of Still Harbor, a South Boston nonprofit, mostly sees people in their 20s and 30s.

Some, he says, are evangelical Christians who have a strong relationship with Jesus but realize, after arriving in Boston from the Midwest or South to study, that they differ with their parents’ church over political or sexual issues. Others have little religious background but find themselves undergoing a spiritual awakening and do not know where to turn.”

More in the Boston Globe here.

Some of the spiritual directors in the story see their role as helping people to find an appropriate community. Some see their role as being that “community”.

I know that here in the community that I serve, we have trouble finding spiritual directors who have space enough in their schedules to accommodate the requests they receive. Is that the case in your community as well?


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Bruce Calvin

I am a spiritual director and a member of SDI. What I see are people who are trying to live out their faith in their lives, sometimes in the context of one community, sometimes floating among different communities as they try to meet their needs, and in once case, trying to find a way to stay engaged with the church which feels rigid and exclusive.

One on one spiritual direction can never substitute for community, but at times, that is the only thing certain individuals can find.

In my own diocese, which shall remain nameless, the bishop tells people they need to be getting regular spiritual direction, but there are no resources, lists of available directors, structures to guide the process of finding someone. I know of many directors in my area, which has lot of directors, who have a lot of available time, but not the visibility or referral network. It goes against the instincts of a director to promote himself or herself, yet that is what is required. Most of the people I see were referred by a priest, who recommended me. There were also others who were given my name, but never chose to contact me. Who knows when and how the Holy Spirit is moving?

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