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Are You Called to Be a Spiritual Director?

Are You Called to Be a Spiritual Director?

for post on being called to be a spiritual directorPeople around the world are starving to know the God who loves them and who made them for an eternal relationship with Him. But who will lead them? Who has the time, the training, and the desire to help souls who thirst and hunger for God?

When I had the blessing of spending time with Msgr. David Toups, the Rector of St. Vincent De Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida, I asked him if he was training priests to provide Spiritual Direction and his answer surprised me. He said, “In an era where we have well-formed laity and good schools of spiritual direction, the art of spiritual direction should not be relegated solely to the priesthood. It should be a gift that the laity also offer souls seeking to deepen their relationship with God.”

Pope Francis, on a trip to Korea, echoed this sentiment when he said, “Whatever your particular contribution to the PopeFrancisinMarch2013Church’s mission, I ask you to continue to promote in your communities a more complete formation of the lay faithful through ongoing catechesis and spiritual direction.”

Those familiar with the history of Spiritual Direction know that Spiritual Direction began among the laity in the early church and has never been the sole domain of priests. In fact, St. John Paul II was deeply influenced to the heights of sanctity through his lay Spiritual Director, Venerable Jan Tyranowski.

One of the reasons I wrote Navigating the Interior Life – Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God was to rekindle the hearts of the faithful both for the need for Spiritual Direction and to prompt the hearts of those were called to this work to look into it and understand how they can live out this important calling.

The good news is that those who heed the call can find several good schools of Spiritual Direction scattered around the United States. However, many people may not yet be convinced that they are called to this wonderful work, or they are unable to travel to these regional schools. If you are among them, we have good news for you.

The Avila Institute provides live/online courses in Spiritual Theology. Spiritual Theology is the theology of Spiritual Direction, so any course at the Avila Institute is going to help the current or would-be Spiritual Director to better understand how to grow in their own spiritual life and help others to do the same.

If you would like to explore ways that the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation might help you pursue this calling or just to deepen your own spiritual life, contact our admissions counselor at or click on this link to apply.



Art for this post asking if you are called to be a spiritual director: Isenheim Altar, former main altar of the Antonite abbey of Isenheim/Alsace, Holiday side, left wing: Saint Anthony the Great visits Saint Paul the Anchorite, 1512-1516, Mathis Gothart Grünewald, PD-US; detail from Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, presidente de la nación Argentina, con el Papa Francisco, 18 March 2013,, CC; both Wikimedia Commons.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, the High Calling Seminary Preparation Program, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer, speaker and pilgrimage director who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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