Spiritual Direction within Seminary Formation - Saint John's Seminary
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Spiritual Direction within Seminary Formation

January 26, 2023

The spiritual director is a priest appointed by the rector of the seminary for this particular work. Every seminarian meets twice a month with his spiritual director. During these regular meetings, the seminarian confides to his spiritual director such things as his personal history, his family, friendships and other relationships, his prayer life, his growth in virtue, his temptations, his struggles, his capacity to make and to live the promises of obedience and celibacy, and any other significant matters.

Because everything shared by the seminarian with his spiritual director is held in the strictest confidence the seminarian is able to speak freely and trustingly about every aspect of his life. The spiritual director assists the seminarian in seeing how it is that the Lord is working in his life, where the Lord is leading him, and in identifying obstacles to his personal holiness and obstacles to his formation. The more open and honest the seminarian is, the more the spiritual direction relationship works. The spiritual director listens to the seminarian and assists the seminarian in seeing connections and patterns. In the context of the spiritual direction relationship, the priest and seminarian seek to respond to the movement and guidance of the Holy Spirit who is at work.

It is a real privilege to be welcomed into the interior life of a seminarian and to see the ways in which the Lord is working in his life, drawing him closer to Himself, and deepening his prayer. The spiritual director can assist the seminarian in gaining greater clarity concerning his vocation, helping him determine whether the Lord is calling him to priesthood or not.

In this privileged relationship, the seminarian and his spiritual director speak a lot about the life of prayer, both its struggles and its joys. The spiritual director assists the seminarian in deepening his spiritual life, deepening his continued conversion, and in maturing in friendship with the Lord.

Through this deepening and maturing in the spiritual life, the seminarian is meant to become more and more conformed to the priestly heart of Jesus Christ, thus enabling him to lay down his life in pastoral charity for the whole People of God.

The priests who serve in this work see it not only as a privileged service to the seminarian himself, but also as a service of love for the whole Church.