Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Spiritual Direction Helps Relationship With God Grow

By FATHER ALBERT LOUAPRE, SJ, Commentary | Published July 21, 2005

One of the ways that a person can grow in one’s relationship with God is through a process that has become more common among people seeking a way to improve that relationship. This process is known as “spiritual direction” and is a major apostolate, in addition to weekend retreats, at Ignatius Retreat House. What is spiritual direction and what does it consist of?

Spiritual direction is a way to become increasingly aware of the action of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. With the aid of a director, better known as a traveling companion in one’s everyday life experiences, a person can recognize the call of the Lord to a more intimate relationship and how to proceed in responding to that call. Also, the one seeking God more clearly identifies those dynamics and activities that tend to separate one from God, others and oneself and to work on improving those relationships.

A director is not a “guru” handing out wisdom and knowledge. Rather, a director acknowledges the ongoing dialogue between God and the one directed and with objectivity assists the directee in discerning the movement of the Spirit in his or her life. Because the director and directee need to be candid and frank with each other, a directee should choose a director with whom one can be comfortable, open and at ease. One may, therefore, wish to “shop around” before deciding who that director should be.

A director knows the history and various practices of prayer and spirituality that come from the Scriptures, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, as well as the traditions of Christian experience, has training and experience in spiritual direction, and usually goes for personal direction to another on a regular basis.

The directee usually meets regularly once a month with a director for a session lasting about an hour or so. There is no set fee for such direction. However, since spiritual direction takes time, energy and the expertise of the director, a donation is welcomed to help support Ignatius Retreat House and the continuation of this service and apostolate.

Finally, a special form of spiritual direction is the experience of the “Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life,” a way of going through the full Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola while continuing one’s normal daily life. The director meets with the directee once a week over a period of several months during which time the directee makes a commitment to spend at least an hour a day in prayer on Scripture or other material recommended by the director. The directee’s meeting with the director consists of sharing his or her experiences in prayer, how God touched the person, along with the graces that the directee might have received. Again there is no set fee, but a donation to Ignatius House is welcomed for each session with the director. The amount is left up to the directee’s discretion.

Anyone wishing to pursue either of these forms of spiritual direction may contact the staff at Ignatius House. The address is Ignatius House, Jesuit Retreat Center, 6700 Riverside Drive, NW, Atlanta, GA 30328. Call (404) 255-0503 or e-mail


Father Albert Louapre, SJ, is a retreat director at Ignatius House in Atlanta.