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Training Program

HeartPaths has been preparing clergy and laity for the ministries of spiritual leadership and spiritual direction since 1982.  Many of our graduates are now serving as spiritual directors and leading retreats and Christian meditation groups.  Others have used their formation and training experience to enhance their work in various ministry settings.


Our training program is designed with three phases.  The first year deepens your own spiritual formation and group facilitating skills and leads to the Certificate in Group Spiritual Formation Leadership.  Those who discern a calling to continue will complete the second year Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius and the third year Practicum in Spiritual Direction.  Completion of all three years leads to the Certificate in Spiritual Direction.

Year One:
Spiritual Formation​

Students meet weekly on zoom in a meditation and prayer group, experiencing various ancient contemplative practices individually and as a group. Practices include, breath prayer, centering prayer, Ignatian contemplation, labyrinth meditation, praying with icons, and others. Students go deeper into embodiment practices and fellowship with two retreats, one in the fall and one in the spring, at St. Francis of the Woods. They also meet monthly for spiritual direction with a HeartPaths leader.   


Students read and discuss key books in the field of spiritual formation, spiritual disciplines and contemplative prayer. They also write periodic reflection papers and prepare and present a closing project to demonstrate proficiency in organizing and leading a group contemplative retreat.

Year Two:
Ignatius Transposed

Students engage The New Spiritual Exercises, a nine month prayer journey through the life of Christ based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola but transposed through the lens of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.  


Our retreat is based on Louis M. Savary's groundbreaking book The New Spiritual Exercises: In the Spirit of Pierre Teilard de Chardin. Themes relating directly to the ministry of spiritual direction include spiritual freedom, finding God in everything, the spiritual states of consolation and desolation, and joining God’s “Christ Project.” Which encompasses the entire evolving universe, and aims is to bring creation along with all of us back to God, fully conscious of our divine origin and divine destiny.


Students will perform daily prayer exercises, participate in weekly group meetings, and meet monthly for spiritual direction with a HeartPaths leader. For more information about Ignatius Transposed, click here

Year Three:​

Students develop and practice the art and skills of spiritual direction.  Their learning is focused on three to four directees, peer supervision, and the exploration of core competencies related to spiritual direction.  Students meet monthly for spiritual direction with a HeartPaths leader, read and discuss books related to the practice of spiritual direction as well as significant articles from the journal Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction.  They also prepare and present a final project to demonstrate their understanding of spiritual direction principles.



​To apply for our training program
For an overview of the current classes and faculty
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