Spiritual Directors International

The Home of Spiritual Companionship

Keynote Presenters

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We are honored to welcome these keynote presenters and conference spiritual directors as we celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Thomas Merton’s birth and the twenty-fifth anniversary of Spiritual Directors International.

Dan Horan, OFM, is a theologian, author, and currently serves on the International Thomas Merton Society Board of Directors. He is known for his engaging workshops and lectures about the intersection of the Millennial Generation and spirituality. Read more.


Kathleen Deignan, CND, PhD, serves as professor of Religious Studies at Iona College in New York, USA, the president of the International Thomas Merton Society, and on the boards of The American Teilhard Association and GreenFaith. Read more.


Pir Zia Inayat-Khan is a scholar, author, and teacher of Sufism in the lineage of his grandfather, Hazrat Inayat Khan. Pir Zia’s father, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, was a friend and colleague of Thomas Merton. Pir Zia is president of the Sufi Order International and founder of Suluk Academy, a school of contemplative study with branches in the United States and Europe. Read more.

Brian McDermott, SJ, is a Jesuit Catholic priest, author, and currently serves as special assistant to the president at Georgetown University. He offered a keynote presentation titled Contemplative Experience and Spiritual Direction during the first SDI conference in 1990 at Mercy Center in Burlingame, California, USA. Read more.


Krista Tippett is an author, Peabody Award winning broadcaster, and best known for her radio program titled, On Being (formerly Speaking of Faith). She received from President Obama the 2013 National Humanities Medal. The White House writes, "On the air and in print, Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of all faiths, no faith, and every background to join the conversation." Read more.


Conference Spiritual Directors

Spiritual direction not only benefits individuals but also helps communities to notice movements of the spirit. During the educational events, the conference spiritual directors will invite participants to reflect and to listen for the communal wisdom emerging.

Valerie Brown is an author and spiritual director. Her work and writing point toward powerful transformation through mindful awareness, and her passion is for creating greater trust among people.



Karen Erlichman, LCSW, offers spiritual direction and supervision with people from many spiritual traditions, genders, races, and cultures. Her approach integrates contemplative, interfaith, somatic and expressive arts, and more.

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