Spiritual Directors International

The Home of Spiritual Companionship


Guest Author: 
Therese Taylor-Stinson


Shalem’s Contemplative Voices Award

Honoring two Members of SDI


The Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation held their first Contemplative Voices Award Benefit on Thursday, November 3, 2011, in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. This award was created to honor individuals who make significant contributions to contemplative understanding and whose witness helps others live from the divine wellspring of compassion, strength, and authentic vision.

Guest Author: 
Liz Budd Ellmann, MDiv


From Bereft to Befriended

Are you awake to the grief in our midst that is begging for spiritual companionship? November is often referred to as a “thin time” and “thin place.” As we experience All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and El Dia de los Muertos, many believe our ancestors are particularly near; the veil between heaven and earth is thin. With the wisdom of the saints closely at hand, what beckons soul tending in your neighborhood? How might our spiritual ancestors lend us courage to be present to suffering?

Guest Author: 
Rose Slavkovsky

My Ofrenda

Reflections on Dia de los Muertosalt

In all houses of worship, there is a sacred space. Illuminated by candles or adored with fine cloth, there is a space observed as holy.

Guest Author: 


“I hope to persuade you,” began Steven Pinker, “that there is a persistent decline in violence throughout history.” Speaking Monday night at Seattle’s Town Hall on his latest book, Better Angels of Our Nature, author and Harvard professor Stephen Pinker sought to convince the audience that humans everywhere are moving toward peace.

Hope for the Vulnerable


October 27 is just around the corner, and Spiritual Directors International is eager to celebrate twenty-five years since the first Assisi World Day of Prayer for Peace. On October 27, 1986, spiritual leaders from around the world met in Assisi, Italy, to pray for peace. It was the first time in human history that such a gathering took place.

As we draw nearer to this historic date, ten-word prayers for peace are pouring in from around the world. We’ve received prayers from Afghanistan, Australia, India, and Ireland; from New Zealand, Nigeria, and South Africa. We’ve received prayers for hope, for an end to violence, and for the awakening of truth.

Suzanne Johnson of British Columbia, Canada, prays:

“May the presence of peace provide hope for the vulnerable.”

Guest Author: 
Rose Slavkovsky

Walking Trees

Celebrating images of the garden and the journey


“We are walking trees,” announced Susan S. Phillips, PhD, while speaking at a gathering of spiritual directors in Mount Angel, Oregon, USA, this past weekend. The Northwest Spiritual Directors Fall Conference 2011 was sponsored by Sacred Path Ministry, and SDI was there to participate and bring you a glimpse of the weekend.

Guest Author: 


Peace that surpasses understanding

Did you know that twenty-five years ago, Assisi, Italy became the peace capital of the world? Pope John Paul II (2R) organized the first World Day of Prayer for Peace on October 27, 1986. Spiritual leaders from around the global gathered to pray for peace including African healers, the Dalai Lama (R), Rabbi Elio Toaff, Archbishop of Canterbury Robert A. K. Runcie (L), Muslim imams, Native American medicine men, the Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain Methodios (2L), Shintoists, Sikhs,  Zoroastrians, and others (see photograph above taken in Assisi).

Guest Author: 


Moving toward Peace

Notice Saint Francis dancing with birds. He’s not pensively looking down into a birdbath with a dove on his shoulder and squirrels at his feet like we see so often in garden art. No, the sculptor depicts Saint Francis actively engaged with the birds, lost and found in their flock, moving with them in the direction of God. 

This special sculpture in the courtyard of the Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria in Bethlehem shows Saint Francis grounded and flying at the same time. As he moves toward peace within, he can’t help but become one with all of God’s creation.

What a beautiful image to depict what happens in spiritual direction. What a powerful image to contemplate as we approach a significant anniversary and a global holiday during September.

Saint Francis and Islam

Guest Author: 


Religion. Spirituality. Communities of Practice.

What is sacred? Is it captured in stability and security? Or does moving toward exploration and transition describe your experience of the sacred. Stillness or motion? Or is it a community of practice? Both? And? Are their stages to understanding sacredness?

These questions are beautifully explored by Joseph McMann, who begins his article with work accomplished by Robert Wuthnow, Professor of Sociology at Princeton and the Director of the Center for the Study of Religion.

Guest Author: 

altC. John Weborg

On July 30, North Park University honored a longtime professor of theology by naming its spiritual direction center after him: the C. John Weborg Center for Spiritual Direction. This is excerpted from the North Park News:

The current president of the Evangelical Covenant Church, Gary Walter, was in one of the first classes Weborg taught. “I realized I was in the presence of a true giant in terms of understanding the ways of God," he said. Then, as now, “there was a presumption of profundity by the students.”

North Park Theological Seminary also honored the other three members of a “gang of four” who were instrumental in steering the Seminary to make spiritual direction an integral part of all its students’ education.


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