Spiritual Direction

What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual direction is the practice of being with people who want to explore their experiences of the Transcendent. These might be intuitions, experiences in nature, dreams, religious events and encounters with others. The director listens and asks questions to encourage the person to go deeper into the stories; facilitating reflection and insight.

Spiritual direction in the context of a specific religious faith will work within the language, beliefs, and stories of that particular faith tradition.

What is Spiritual Direction in the Evening of Life?

We live the evening of life in the shadow of death. Questions abound: What was it all about? What did it mean? What comes after death, if anything? What will become of me? Many of us fear the aging process. We dread the dying process. We go to more funerals than baptisms.

Spiritual direction in the evening of life can be a time to share these questions and fears. The director provides a space where a person can get in touch with his/her faith story.

To borrow from Celtic spirituality, the evening of life is a thin place where three-dimensional space/time and eternity are not so separate. The barriers become at times almost gossamer. The evening has its own intimations of the Transcendent. How to capture these moments? How to tell these stories?

It might be evening; still one is very much alive.

How shall I live now?

What is Spiritual Direction in the Ignatian Tradition

“…help given by one believer to another that enables the latter

  • to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her;
  • to respond to this personally communicating God;
  • to grow in intimacy with this God; and
  • to live out the consequences of the relationship.” (Source: The Practice of Spiritual Direction, 2009, p.8.)

St Ignatius of Loyola crafted the Exercises from his own experiences and that of working with others. How to further a person’s attentiveness, openness and responsiveness to God?

Ignatian spirituality is:

• Optimistic. Contemplative. Service-oriented.
• Flexible
• A Partnership
• Questioning. What do you really want? What is happening in your life?

(Source: See Brian O’Leary, SJ, “What Is Specific to an Ignatian Model of Spiritual Direction?” The Way, Jan/April 2008, pp. 9-28.)


We have compiled the following resources to assist you (click the individual logos to access the resources page):

Spirituality in the Evening of Life

Staring at the Sun

From Age-Ing to Sage-Ing

The Measure of My Days

Aging: The Fulfillment of Life

Aging as a Spiritual Practice

Exploring Spiritual Direction

Spiritual Directors International

Spirituality and Practice

The Salem Center For Spirituality

Spirituality in the Evening of Life

Magis Milwaukee

Ignatian Spirituality

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