Fairfield University is accepting applications for its Spiritual Direction Formation Program to be held in North Carolina.
The Jesuit university in Fairfield, Conn., will offer the four-year formation program in conjunction with Holy Ground Spirituality Center in Charlotte.
Eileen Crusan, spiritual director at Holy Ground, said the program is a way for adults who are involved in spiritual direction to discern if they are being called into the ministry.
The Rev. James Bowler is the director of Ignatian spirituality programs at Fairfield – as well as a faculty member with the spiritual direction formation program – and described spiritual direction as a way to deepen an individual’s relationship with God.
“God desires to be in a personal relationship with each individual and desires to deepen that relationship. Oftentimes that’s not recognized,” Bowler said.
“(Spiritual direction) helps people to find God in their lived experience and deepen their relationship with God through their lived experience.”
Crusan said each year of the program represents one of four cycles. “Each is some aspect of formation in the ministry and incorporates a heavy dose of practice and supervision,” she said. Students may enter the program at any cycle but will need to complete all four to be eligible for graduation.
During each cycle, program members will meet for one week a year for residency, which Crusan said consists of study, prayer and practice.
The 2013 residency will be Aug. 25-31 at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville. Applications are due May 31.
Crusan said the rest of the year is spent studying, reflecting, in supervised practice, continuing their own spiritual direction and quarterly meetings with faculty members.
After six to 12 months, Crusan said, participants will begin sitting with individuals while under supervision as part of their practice. “It’s an essential component of the program,” she said.
The spiritual direction formation program is not exclusive to Catholicism, Crusan said, but is open to adults of any denomination or faith who are actively practicing.
They also must have been in spiritual direction for at least a year. “They can’t decide it’s their call if they’ve never been in direction themselves,” she said.
Each cycle has room for 15 to 20 members, Crusan said, and they’ve had people show interest from as far away as Hong Kong.
The program will offer two types of certificates from Fairfield University for those who complete all course requirements: one in Spiritual Direction and, for those who don’t have a call to the ministry, a certificate in Spirituality.