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Episcopal Cursillo Library: Booklet on Spiritual Direction

The Rev. Benedict Reid, SSP: workshops on spiritual direction

A great many books have been written about spiritual direction.
Some ways of prioritizing one’s reading list follow:

Internet: (for book and tape listings. 115 books currently listed on spiritual direction) (Spiritual Directors International) Spiritual Directors International: Supporting and Networking Spiritual Directors Worldwide 3,100 + Independent Members In 36 Countries - On All Continents: 119 Geographical Regions

Fuller Seminary: Has a masters program in Spiritual Direction

Retreat Centers for spiritual direction:

Training as a Spiritual Director:

Spiritual Ministry Center in collaboration with the University of San Diego: 2 year certificate program

School for Charismatic Spiritual Directors.

The Pecos Monastery, NM

Monastery of the Risen Christ-School for Spiritual Directors, San Luis Obispo, CA

Spiritual Directors International
Spiritual Ministry Center:
Operated by the Religious of the Sacred Heart, a group of Roman Catholic sisters who originally established the San Diego College for Women, now the University of San Diego, a Roman Catholic sponsored four year university.

Address: 4822 Del Mar Avenue (in Ocean Beach)
San Diego, CA 92107
(619) 224-9444

Available for information; retreats tailored to one’s needs-6, 8, 30 day retreats or self-directed; library; recommended books; spiritual directors available; training to be a spiritual director.
Your priest could refer you to someone.


A very short alphabetical list of 13 primarily foundational books about spiritual direction compiled from three sources: Bibliography in Soul Friend (49 books listed); prioritized list from Internet on spiritual direction (115 books currently listed); and about 10 recommendations from the Spiritual Ministry Center.

Note: All price quotes were at time of writing, and subject to change.

Anglican Spiritual Direction
by Peter Ball
List Price: $12.95 209 pages
Published 1998 Cowley Publications
An introduction to the distinctive Anglican tradition of spiritual guidance and companionship. The author views the ministry of pastoral guidance as the work of ordinary Christians, who serve as companions to others in their journeys toward growth and spiritual wholeness. Among the books many practical aspects are chapters on the relationship between spiritual direction, therapy and healing; training programs; credentials, and professionalism; group spiritual direction; and the increase of this ministry among lay people and those outside the institutional church. Peter Ball offers a clear and scholarly survey of five centuries of Anglican Spirituality. The author is a canon of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, having spent many years in parish ministry and spiritual direction.

The Discerning Heart : Discovering a Personal God
By Maureen, R.S.M. Conroy (Sisters of Mercy);
Paperback; List Price: $13.95 272 pages
Published October 1993 Loyola Press
Review Synopsis
Maureen Conroy has practiced the art of spiritual direction both in a retreat setting and in daily life. She has spent many years training spiritual directors. In this insightful book she brings to bear the knowledge of listening to others talk about their encounter with God. She uses the Rules for Discernment of Ignatius of Loyola to help the reader understand these rules. Then she demonstrates that these same rules are applicable for us today. This book is helpful to spiritual directors and to other Christians who want to develop their prayer life and discernment in their spiritual journey. Importantly, one will better understand how spiritual direction is helpful to anyone seeking to develop a personal relationship with God.

Guided by the Spirit : A Jesuit Perspective on Spiritual Direction
Frank J. Houdek
Paperback; List Price: $18.95 181 pages
Published August 1996 Loyola Press
Reviews ∓mp;mp; Synopsis
With more than 30 years experience in the field of spiritual direction, Father Frank Houdek offers some common sense wisdom and time-tested advice to the reader. Spiritual direction refers to a mutually fulfilling dialogue that takes place between two people in which one person helps another explore the mystery of faith and God's presence in the world. Spiritual direction deals explicitly with spiritual themes, embracing the totality of one's life and experience.
Guided by the Spirit is a practical guide for spiritual directors that is written from a decidedly Jesuit point of view. Spiritual directors are empowered by their faith community to facilitate the spiritual quest of others. The author points out that a poorly trained spiritual director can do more harm than good. For this reason, it is important for those who desire to be directors to discern the true nature of their gifts and skills. Although primarily an exploration of the spiritual direction process for training spiritual directors, Guided by the Spirit also reflects growing interest among a considerable segment of the population to establish a personal relationship with God that is quite separate from institutional religion. The author explores the spiritual direction process and the relationship between the spiritual director and the spiritual directee. The book also discusses the type of training and experience necessary for an effective ministry of spiritual direction to occur.

Holy Listening : The Art of Spiritual Direction
Margaret Guenther (Episcopal priest)
Paperback; $9.56 146 pages
Published April 1992 Cowley Publications
Sewanee Theological Review - It is likely that thousands of women have excelled in the work of spiritual direction during the centuries between the desert mother Theodora and Margaret Guenther. Yet no more than a handful have recorded their methods and guiding principles in manuals for the instruction of others. Guenther has produced a primer for people who are attracted to the ministry of spiritual direction either as directors or as directees. Drawing on her own experience through anecdotal narratives and generalized reflections, she elucidates common problems and suggests a variety of specific responses. Its value accrues from the soundness of Guenther's homely wisdom, conveyed in a manner that is at once inspirational and practical.

Alan Jones, from the foreword - In the very best sense, hers is a book of non-direction: earthed and wise, compassionate and unsentimental, practical and contemplative.

Margaret Guenther shares with the reader loving and evocative meditation on the experience of spiritual direction from the perspective of a wise and hospitable spiritual director, who is also a woman, wife, mother, teacher, and priest.
The Interior Castle
by Saint Teresa of Avila (Roman Catholic mystic), E. Allison Peers (Translator)
Paperback Reissue edition; List Price: $11.95
Published February 1,1972 Image Books
From the Publisher - One of the most celebrated works on mystical theology in existence, as timely today as when St. Teresa of Avila wrote it centuries ago, this is a treasury of unforgettable maxims on self-knowledge and fulfillment.

Teresa was an incredibly gifted teacher whose devotion to the sublimest task--the guidance of others toward spiritual perfection--has resulted in the widespread fame of her writings. Interior Castles deals with the extraordinary richness of the developed interior life.

A reader from USA , November 30, 1998
This is a classic of spiritual literature. Interior Castle, by St. Teresa of Avila, is one of the saint's writings that is filled with spiritual insight, charm, and breathtaking closeness to God. Her castle is the God within, and there are outward mansions that must be penetrated to get to this inner treasure. Each mansion is a deepening of one's knowledge of God, and a step further away from one's capture by externality and the world. She describes these inward steps, and leads one onward to union with God (or God carries one onward - at first it is our efforts, than it is God's). Beautiful and illuminating.

Listening Hearts : Discerning Call in Community
by Suzanne G. Farnham, Joseph P. Gill, R. Taylor McLean
(Quaker approach)
Paperback; List Price:$9.95 143 pages
Published May 1991 Morehouse Publishing Company
Reviews - Synopsis
Explores the themes of call, discernment, and community as they relate to each other. It asks us to listen to our hearts so that we may discover ourselves. This guides us on how we can remain faithful and accountable.

Reader from Arlington, Texas , March 4, 1999
A must for anyone discerning God's will in their life. The method used in creating this book is as moving and powerful as the material itself. The authors centered on prayer and meditation and worked with the Holy Spirit to create a book of sayings that ring true at every turn. But, the book is much more than a group of sayings. It lays out a path for discernment that begins with God, and leads through the self to the community. This path is clearly paved with the Holy Spirit and is ready for all who are willing to make themselves available to God's will.

Looking into the Well; Supervising Spiritual Directors
Maureen Conroy
Paperback; Our Price: $11.16 300 pages
Published April 1995 Loyola Press
Review -Synopsis
Provides examples of learning experiences for spiritual directors, supervisors, and training teams. A spiritual direction that can be used for personal reflection as well as for group and individual use.

The Practice of Prayer
(New Church's Teaching Series, Vol 4)
by Margaret Guenther (Episcopal priest)
(Not strictly on spiritual direction, however, prayer is a key aspect of
spiritual direction)
Paperback; Our Price: $11.95 148 pages
Published August 1998 Cowley Publications

The publisher : November 12, 1998
A down-to-earth guide to prayer. In this down-to-earth book on the essentials of prayer, spiritual director and teacher Margaret Guenther answers many of the common questions of the spiritual life, including: Is there anyone to talk to about prayer? Do I have to go to church to be religious? Is it all right to pray like this? She also discusses basic matters of Christian practice, such as making a confession, going on retreat, using a journal to pray, finding a spiritual director, and praying when God does not seem to listen.

A reader from Brooklyn, NY, March 21, 1999
A book about prayer for real people! This book defines, describes, and demystifies the traditions of prayer--and makes them accessible to everyone. It begins with a concise history of Christian prayer and proceeds to practical applications for us late-20th century folk. Chapters with titles like "Finding God in the Ordinary: Your Kitchen Will Teach You Everything" and "Parenting and Prayer: How Do I Pray When the Baby is Keeping Me Up?" address the challenges of integrating spirituality with the demands of daily life. The book concludes with a list of further resources and discussion questions suitable for group or individual use.

The Practice of Spiritual Direction
by William A. Barry, William J. Connolly (Contributor)
Paperback; List Price: $17.00 224 pages
Published April 1986 Harper San Francisco
Reviews -Synopsis
Fathers Barry and Connolly see the work of spiritual direction as helping people to develop their relationships with God. In thinking and practice they have absorbed the insights of modern psychotherapy, but have not been absorbed by them.

From the Publisher - The authors see spiritual direction as helping people develop their personal prayer life with God.

A reader from Taiwan ROC , September 25, 1998
Excellent overview of spiritual direction. A very practical and helpful guide to spiritual direction. When one wants to know how to deal with directees' difficulties, this book provides answers across many aspects on opening them to God. For spiritual directors, this book gives many leads on how to reflect on one's spiritual direction.

Soul Friend: An Invitation to Spiritual Direction
by Kenneth Leech
Paperback 272 pages Reprint edition
Published June 1992 Harper San Francisco
From the Publisher -Details the rich tradition of Christian spirituality and ties it to contemporary psychology resources to provide a theoretical and practical source book for the working Christian counselor.

Spiritual Direction and Meditation
Thomas Merton (former Roman Catholic priest, Trappist monk)
Paperback Published June 1986 Liturgical Press
(The first half is about spiritual direction from the perspective of a contemplative or monk-the second half is about meditation)
Review - Synopsis
Without really raising his voice once the author proceeds to the heart of each of these matters and speaks home truths for which all sorts of people--priests and religious and laity--will be grateful.

Toward Holy Ground : Spiritual Directions for the Second Half of Life
by Margaret Guenther (Episcopal priest)
Paperback; List Price: $10.95 151 pages
Published September 1995 Cowley Publications
The publisher, July 31, 1998 - Beginning to develop a mature relationship with God The second half of life -- which we can enter at any age -- is that time when we begin the tasks essential to a mature faith: discovering who we are, exploring our relationship with God, and beginning to let go. Includes a chapter on ministry with the aged.

Women at the Well: Feminist Perspectives on Spiritual Direction
by Kathleen Fischer
Paperback; List Price: $14.95 215 pages
Published January 1989 Paulist Press
Review ∓ Synopsis
Kathleen Fisher has written an excellent guide to spiritual self-direction and prayer for all whose who work with women in spiritual direction and retreat settings, as well as for individual women and the groups they belong to.

The Holy Bible
Soul Keeping,
by Howard Baker
Seeking Spiritual Direction, by Thomas Dubay
From Ash to Fire (Interior Castle), Carolyn Humphreys
On Hind’s Feet
The Return of the Prodigal Son, by Henry Nouwen
The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis
Name of In the Jesus, by Henry Nouwen
Discerning your Spiritual Gifts, by Lloyd Edwards
The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence
Lesser Feasts and Fasts
Passion, Power, and Praise, by James Harnish
The Apostolic Fathers, by Simon Tugwell
Here and Now, by Henry Nouwen

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