Fairfield University offers a four year certificate program in spiritual direction. This program is for adults who sense a call to serve as spiritual directors or who wish to discern that call by means of this program.
We understand the busyness and demands of life. This program is designed for those whose schedules may not allow time for daytime, evening or weekend classes or extended residency periods. Our program includes one week intensive residency period each year. The rest of the year is spent in distance learning from home under the guidance of an assigned mentor (faculty member).
This program is grounded in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Ignatian method of spiritual direction. The theological underpinnings (as noted below) of each year of formation will correspond to, and be appropriately explored within, the programmatic content of the Spiritual Exercises authored by Ignatius. It is not necessary for candidates to have had experience with Ignatian spirituality or, for that matter, the Spiritual Exercises to enter and engage in this formation program.
Residency week takes place at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, NC, just north of Greensboro. During residency week, students are involved/immersed in the following:
For the balance of the year, and from home, students are required to:
Students who begin to sit with individuals in direction are required to do so under supervision and must obtain their own supervisor (faculty may offer recommendations for trained, experienced supervisors). In addition, the candidate must:
Students practicing spiritual direction under supervision will be evaluated twice each year by their supervisor. The supervisor should review your evaluation with you.
Candidates who complete all four phases of formation are eligible for one of two certificates:
Candidates for admission must meet the following criteria:
Lodging, Use of Facilities, Meals
We are accepting applications for June 2019 residency week
2019 Residency Period: June 9 - 15, 2019
Application Deadline: March 1, 2019
2020 Residency Period: June 14 - 20, 2020
Application Deadline: March 1, 2020
2021 Residency Period: June 13 - 19, 2021
Application Deadline: March 1, 2021
Program Founder: Mária M. Decsy, Ph.D
Mária earned a master's degree in spirituality and pastoral ministry from St. Joseph College in West Hartford, a certificate in spiritual direction from the Hartford Archdiocesan Spiritual Life Center and a doctorate in biochemistry from New York University. She is adjunct professor of World Religions and Human Biology and a member of the Retreat Team of Our Lady of Calvary Retreat Center in Farmington, CT.
Maria Tattu Bowen, Ph.D., Spiritual Director, Supervisor, Professor
Maria has 27 years offering spiritual direction. She has formed and supervised spiritual directors in a cross-cultural context for more than 20 years. Co-founder of Together in the Mystery, Maria trains supervisors from around the world in partnership with San Francisco Theological Seminary and trains spiritual directors with their Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction program. She is a faculty member with Fairfield University’s Spiritual Direction Formation Program and CenterQuest Spiritual Direction School. Maria has contributed essays to Supervision of Spiritual Directors: Engaging in Holy Mystery (Morehouse, 2005); Sacred is the Call: Formation and Transformation in Spiritual Direction (Crossroad, 2005); Reflective Practice: Formation and Supervision in Ministry; and will have an article published in Presence in 2017. She complements her Ph.D. in Christian Spirituality and Masters in Applied Spirituality with body-centered spiritual direction modalities including Inner-Relationship Focusing and Intuition Medicine. Maria offers spiritual direction and supervision both long-distance and in-person in Morro Bay, California.
Rev. James Bowler, SJ, M.A., M.Div.
Fr. Jim currently serves as pastoral minister at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Charlotte, NC, focusing on spiritual direction, supervision of spiritual directors, offering the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and his role in promulgating Fairfield University’s Spiritual Direction Formation Program, where he also serves as an instructor. He served for more than 20 years in the area of spiritual direction as director of Campion Renewal Center, executive director of the National Jesuit Retreat and Renewal Ministries and as a staff member at the Guelph Center of spirituality in Ontario, where he was responsible for training and supervising spiritual directors in the Ignatian tradition
Eileen Crusan, Spiritual Director, Supervisor
Eileen serves as a spiritual director and supervisor in Charlotte, NC. She completed a four year formation program in spiritual direction, graduating from Villa Maria Education/Spirituality Center. She is also a graduate of the Together in the Mystery Program, a supervisory training program affiliated with San Francisco Theological Seminary. Eileen serves as a faculty member with Fairfield University’s Spiritual Direction Formation Program and is an instructor in the Together in the Mystery supervisory program. She offers direction to individuals in person, via phone and in small group format and offers supervision to directors and students in formation in an individual format in person, via phone and peer group format. She is trained in Ignatian spirituality, offering the experience of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Eileen is the founder of Holy Ground of the Carolinas, a spirituality center offering spiritual direction, supervision and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. She is a member of Spiritual Directors International, a professional organization for spiritual directors.
Deborah Delano, Spiritual Director, Retreat Guide
Deborah Delano received her formation as a spiritual director at the Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center and currently practices spiritual direction at St. Peter’s parish in Charlotte, NC. Deborah was first drawn to the ministry of spiritual direction through her own experience of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, and she continues to find Ignatian spirituality a wellspring of joy and blessing. She has worked for over thirty years in corporate finance, where she has learned first-hand to “find God in all things.” Deborah is an enthusiastic student and teacher of the Enneagram, a powerful tool for deepening self-awareness on the spiritual journey. She loves to explore the many dimensions of spirituality using Jungian and depth psychology, poetry, music, literature, and art.
Sr. Karen M. Doyle, S.S.J., D. Min.
Sr. Karen is co-director of the Spiritual Direction Training Program for clergy and ministers in the diocese of Bridgeport at Fairfield University. She is also on the faculty of the Spiritual Direction Formation Program sponsored by Fairfield University held annually at St. Francis Springs in Stoneville, NC. She previously served for 3 years as assistant director of St. Joseph Retreat Center, Cohasset, and for 12 years at St. Ignatius Retreat House, Manhasset, NY as director of the formation program for adjuncts and staff associates, director of the 30 day retreat practicum and co-director of the supervision practicum. Prior to that, Sister Karen served 4 years on staff at the Ignatius Spiritual Centre, Guelph, Canada and 8 years on staff at the Center for Spirituality in Chestnut Hill, PA, offering 8-day and 30-day retreats. She has been involved in the formation of spiritual directors in Ignatian Spirituality in the US, Canada, Taiwan, Denmark and the Philippines. She holds a D.Min. in Spiritual Direction from the Graduate Theological Foundation, IN; an MA in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University, NE; a BS in Psychology and a Certificate in Supervision from Chestnut Hill College, PA.
Please direct any questions you may have about the program to:
Maria Decsy, Ph.D