Spiritual Directors International

The Home of Spiritual Companionship

Purpose and History

Mission Statement

Throughout human history, individuals have been inspired to accompany others seeking the Mystery that many name God. SDI is a learning community that educates and supports this service around the world and across traditions.

Vision Statement

SDI believes spiritual companionship and deepening into the sacred transform individuals, society, and all creation.


SDI is an inclusive, global learning community that serves and supports the ministry and service of spiritual direction. As a multi-faith organization, we share a common concern, passion, and commitment to the ministry and service of spiritual companionship.

From a small gathering of spiritual directors of Christian faith at Mercy Center in Burlingame, California, USA, in 1989, the community has grown to include more than six-thousand members on six continents who represent more than fifty spiritual traditions.

Learn more about the history and purpose of SDI in the video and articles below.



Founding Coordinating Council of Spiritual Directors International (Left to Right)
Janet Ruffing, RSM (Yale University); Gerald May, MD (Shalem Institute);
Lucy Abbott-Tucker (Institute for Spiritual Leadership);
Donald Schell (All Saints Company); Mary Ann Scofield, RSM (Mercy Center)


Strategic Initiatives

The coordinating council of SDI recognizes there is a forest of trees and ideas that SDI could nurture. At this time, the strategic focus of SDI is to “water three trees:” Click the tree images to enlarge.

  1. Communicate the value of spiritual companionship
    SDI raises awareness of spiritual companionship in diverse populations through a wide variety of publications, on multiple platforms.
  1. Social media: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter
  2. www.sdiworld.org website
  3. Free Listen newsletter
  4. Online Seek and Find Guide
  5. Explore brochures, What to Expect brochures
  6. SDI Learns from … series of educational videos
  7. Short, seeker-friendly videos
  8. Quarterly Free Teleconference: Spiritual Direction 101
  1. Nurture the spiritual companionship community
    SDI offers a range of contemplative educational experiences and connections for those interested in spiritual direction.
  1. Presence journal
  2. Connections and Discover newsletters
  3. New Contemplative Initiative
  4. Annual conference
  5. Contemplative retreats
  6. Multi-faith pilgrimages
  7. Webinars and SDI Learns from … series of educational videos
  8. Supervision Task Force
  1. Advance spiritual companionship through collaboration with others
    SDI actively partners with spiritual directors, formation and training programs, and retreat centers to develop new resources and learning opportunities.
  1. Guidelines for Ethical Conduct
  2. Book imprint series
  3. Formation and training programs and retreat center collaboration
  4. Leadership Institute
  5. Supervision Task Force
  6. Collaboration with organizations involved in interfaith, international, and contemplative ministries and services, e.g., Parliament of the World’s Religions, chaplaincy associations, hospice and hospital spiritual care departments, prison and social justice ministries and services, etc.

Founding Story

Listen to Sister Mary Ann Scofield, RSM, share the story of how Spiritual Directors International was founded in 1990.

Mary Ann Scofield at Spiritual Directors Int'l Conference from Mark Werlin on Vimeo.


[For slow internet speeds, press play on the video, and when the video starts to load, press pause. Wait for the timer to load the entire video, then press play. Your video should play without any disruptions.]

A Brief History of SDI

SDI member Carol Ludwig documents the history in the two-part series "Brief History of SDI," which was published in Prese​nce journal in 2002.

"A Brief History of Spiritual Directors International Part I"

"A Brief History of Spiritual Directors International Part II"

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