Two-Year Spiritual Direction Certificate Program

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Two-Year Spiritual Direction Certificate Program

Developing a Listening Heart: Experiencing God in Myself and Others

The Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality of Fairfield University is pleased to offer a two-year certificate spiritual direction formation program in the Ignatian tradition for January 2020—December 2021. This program is for adults with a theological and ministerial background who feel called to serve in this ministry. It is designed for individuals whose schedules do not permit attendance at daytime or evening classes or extended periods of residency. After an annual one-week residency, the remainder of each of the two years is spent in distance learning from home, in addition to eight Saturday meetings.


Program Requirements - Two Years

  • One residential week each year in January at Mercy Center in Madison, Conn.: January 5 – 11, 2020 and January 3 – 9, 2021
  • Eight Saturdays each year: February, March, April, May, September, October, November, December (second Saturday of the month, full day, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Monthly personal spiritual direction
  • Quarterly meetings (by phone) with a faculty advisor
  • Two, in-depth self-evaluations each year
  • Assigned readings and reflection papers throughout each year

(tracks will be integrated)

  • Coursework: Aspects of Ignatian Spirituality (authors include G. Aschenbrenner, W. and N. Au, W. Barry, W. Connelly, J. English, T. Gallagher, R. Haight, J. O’Malley, J. Melloni, J. Ruffing, M. Silf, J. Tetlow, M. Thibodeaux, J. Veale)
  • Special Topics: Discernment, Developmental Spirituality, Schools of Spirituality, Sexuality and Spirituality, Critical Psychological Issues, Enneagram, Dreams
  • Practicum: Case Studies, Verbatim, Peer Supervision, Role Play, Individual Direction/Supervision

Holy Listening as a form of faith sharing will be integral to all components of the program.


Candidates should:

  • Be a minimum of 30 years of age
  • Have an appropriate background in theology and ministry
  • Have received regular spiritual direction over a significant period of time
  • Be an active member of a faith community


The program is open to 15 participants.

  • Participants must be in their own direction and supervision
  • During their formation, each participant will have two or three directees whom they see once a month
  • The growth of each participant, both as a director and directee, will be monitored by his/her faculty mentor

Faculty mentors will consult with supervisors to discuss each intern and his or her progress guided by the goals and expectation of the formation program.


Tuition of $3,000 covers the two, week-long intensives, eight Saturday seminars each year and quarterly phone meetings with faculty mentors. Interns are responsible for the costs of room and board at the intensives at Mercy Center, as well as their own spiritual direction fees. Financial aid is available to those with a legitimate need.


Fairfield U student has a 1 on 1 meeting with Fr. Gerry BlaszczakRev. Gerry Blaszczak, S.J.
, director of the Murphy Center and Vice President, Mission and Ministry at Fairfield, has also served as vice president for Mission and Identity at Fordham University. Holding a Ph.D. from Harvard University in New Testament, and with secondary specialization in Islamic Studies, Fr. Blaszczak has been on the faculty of Le Moyne College, Fordham University and Hekima College, Nairobi, Kenya. He was Novice Director for the Maryland and New York Provinces of the Jesuits, superior of the Fordham Jesuit community, parochial vicar at St. Raphael’s Church in Raleigh, N.C. pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Manhattan, and Secretary for the Service of Faith at the Jesuit General Headquarters in Rome.

Sr. Karen Doyle, SSJ, is co-director of the Spiritual Direction Training at the Murphy Center and assistant director at St. Joseph Retreat Center in Cohasset, Mass. She has been ministering as a spiritual director, retreat director, and supervisor of spiritual directors for 24 years. Sr. Karen served the past 12 years at St. Ignatius Retreat House, Manhasset, N.Y., 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, Sr. Karen served eight years on staff at the Center for Spirituality in Chestnut Hill, Penn., offering eight-day and 30-day retreats; and four years on staff in Guelph, Canada. She has been involved in the formation of spiritual directors in Ignatian Spirituality in the U.S., Canada, Taiwan, Denmark and the Philippines, and has served as director of the Spiritual Exercises (Annotations 19 and 20). She holds a D.Min in Spiritual Direction from the Graduate Theological Foundation, Indiana; a master’s degree in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University, Nebraska; a bachelor’s degree in psychology; and a Certificate in Supervision from Chestnut Hill College, Pennsylvania.

Rev. Denis Donoghue, S.J., is the co-director of the Spiritual Director Training at the Murphy Center. Fr. Donoghue, associate director of the Murphy Center, previously served at the associate vice president of Academic Affairs at Wheeling Jesuit University and as a lecturer in theology and religious studies and Matteo Ricci College at Seattle University. Fr. Donoghue spent a number of years working as a chaplain and psychotherapist with Native American Tribes north of Seattle. He holds a Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling from the San Francisco Theological Seminary, a Master of Divinity from Seattle University, and a Master of Philosophical Resources from Fordham University. Fr. Donoghue has accompanied others as a spiritual director for over twenty years.


If you wish to speak to a Murphy Center staff member, please contact Colleen Gilbertson at 203-254-4000 ext. 3468.

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