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Two-Year Spiritual Direction Certificate Program
Developing a Listening Heart: Experiencing God in Myself and Others
The Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality of Fairfield University is pleased to offer a two-year certificate spiritual direction formation program in the Ignatian tradition for January 2024—December 2025. This program is for adults with a theological and ministerial background who feel called to serve in this ministry. It is designed for individuals whose schedules do not permit attendance at daytime or evening classes or extended periods of residency. After an annual one-week residency, the remainder of each of the two years is spent in distance learning from home, in addition to eight Saturday meetings.
Application Deadline for 2024-25 Program: June 30, 2023
For a copy of our Formation Training brochure, please firstname.lastname@example.org.
Program Requirements - Two Years
- One residential week each year in January at Mercy Center in Madison, Conn.
- Eight Saturdays each year: February, March, April, May, September, October, November, December (second Saturday of the month, full day, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
- Monthly personal spiritual direction
- Quarterly meetings (by phone) with a faculty advisor
- Two, in-depth self-evaluations each year
- Assigned readings and reflection papers throughout each year
(tracks will be integrated)
- Coursework: Aspects of Ignatian Spirituality (authors include G. Aschenbrenner, W. and N. Au, W. Barry, W. Connelly, J. English, T. Gallagher, R. Haight, J. O’Malley, J. Melloni, J. Ruffing, M. Silf, J. Tetlow, M. Thibodeaux, J. Veale)
- Special Topics: Discernment, Developmental Spirituality, Schools of Spirituality, Sexuality and Spirituality, Critical Psychological Issues, Enneagram, Dreams
- Practicum: Case Studies, Verbatim, Peer Supervision, Role Play, Individual Direction/Supervision
Holy Listening as a form of faith sharing will be integral to all components of the program.
- Be a minimum of 30 years of age
- Have an appropriate background in theology and ministry
- Have received regular spiritual direction over a significant period of time
- Be an active member of a faith community
The program is open to 15 participants.
- Participants must be in their own direction and supervision
- During their formation, each participant will have two or three directees whom they see once a month
- The growth of each participant, both as a director and directee, will be monitored by his/her faculty mentor
Faculty mentors will consult with supervisors to discuss each intern and his or her progress guided by the goals and expectation of the formation program.
Tuition of $3,500 covers the two-year certificate program, including eight Saturday seminars each year and quarterly phone meetings with faculty mentors. In addition, there are 2 week-long intensives each January at the Mercy Center in Madison, Conn., and participants are responsible for the cost of room and board of $750 each year, as well as their own spiritual direction fees. Financial aid is available to those with a legitimate need.
Rev. Denis Donoghue, S.J., is the director of the Spiritual Director Training at the Murphy Center. Fr. Donoghue, associate director of the Murphy Center, previously served at the associate vice president of Academic Affairs at Wheeling Jesuit University and as a lecturer in theology and religious studies and Matteo Ricci College at Seattle University. Fr. Donoghue spent a number of years working as a chaplain and psychotherapist with Native American Tribes north of Seattle. He holds a Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling from the San Francisco Theological Seminary, a Master of Divinity from Seattle University, and a Master of Philosophical Resources from Fordham University. Fr. Donoghue has accompanied others as a spiritual director for over twenty years.
Anita Wood, DMin, arrived at her current calling of spiritual direction after a long journey. A B.S. from the University of Delaware prepared her to teach elementary and special education students and a Masters from the Citadel helped her specialize in serving students with learning disabilities. Nearly twenty years were spent in the public school system, mostly in Wilmington, DE, but she also taught in South Carolina, Maryland and Washington, D.C., in both Catholic and public schools. Anita also received a Masters from Boston College in Religious Education and has served as a Director of Religious Education in parishes in Texas, South Carolina, and Delaware.
Her spiritual direction gifts were nurtured through Shalem Institute's program for developing spiritual directors, at the training program offered by the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth, where Anita acquired knowledge and experience in Ignatian spirituality and retreat direction, and at Neumann University, which developed Anita's skills in supervision of spiritual directors. Anita has worked with individual directees and supervisees for over 20 years and has been doing the Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life with people for 15 years. She has directed retreats at a Methodist retreat center in Maryland and given guided retreats to many Catholic school teachers, parish catechists and Catholic and main-line Protestant parishes, as part of her business called Gloria Dei. Most recently, she has been on the staff of the Jesuit Center in Wernersville, doing individual monthly direction with people from all denominations, days and weekends of reflection, and directed silent retreats of various length, including the 30-day experience of the Spiritual Exercises.
Anita has helped to educate student-teachers from the University of Delaware, hundreds of parish catechists, and been a supervisor of spiritual direction interns who were studying spiritual direction at the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth. Her interest over the last 30 years has been in adult religious education and exploration of spirituality, particularly in small groups. Anita received her Doctor of Ministry in 2021, with a major project that explored the spirituality of Teilhard de Chardin and how small groups of adults can grow spiritually together through a process of contemplative dialogue. She would like to continue to do research on Teilhard de Chardin, in relation to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and to the practice of spiritual direction.
In between all this, Anita has been lovingly supported and grounded by her husband Michael and the affectionate teasing of her three siblings. Anita is thrilled to be an aunt and a great-aunt to 8 wonderful children. She is fed by music, reading, travel, Earth's beauty, and many precious friends.