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 do not allow time for daytime, evening or weekend class schedules or extended residency periods. Our program includes a 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 faculty advisor.
The program occurs in four phases, one for each year of formation. Candidates may enter the program at any phase.
Residency week takes place at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, NC, just north of Greensboro. During residency, candidates are involved/immersed in the following:
For the balance of the year, and from home, candidates are required to:
Candidates 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:
Candidates 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 2018 residency week
2018 Residency Period: June 10 - 16, 2018
Application Deadline: March 1, 2018
2019 Residency Period: June 9 - 15, 2019
Application Deadline: March 1, 2019
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 earned a Masters in Applied Spirituality from the University of San Francisco, where she was trained as a spiritual director, and a Ph.D. in Christian Spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. A teacher for the last thirty years, Maria has more than twenty five years’ experience as a spiritual director and retreat leader and more than twenty as a supervisor and trainer of spiritual directors in a cross-cultural seminary context. With Rebecca Bradburn Langer, Maria co-founded Together in the Mystery, an on-site and distance-learning program that trains supervisors from around the world and operates in partnership with San Francisco Theological Seminary. Maria has contributed essays to such publications as Supervision of Spiritual Directors: Engaging Holy Mystery; Sacred is the Call: Formation and Transformation in Spiritual Direction; and Reflective Practice: Formation and Supervision in Ministry.
Rev. James Bowler, SJ, M.A., M.Div.
Fr. Jim serves as facilitator for Catholic and Jesuit identity at Fairfield University, following more than 20 years of ministry 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 worked for more than 30 years as an HR executive in the health care and financial services industries and graduated from Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center with a certificate in spiritual direction. She is also a graduate of the Together in the Mystery Program, a supervisory training program affiliated with the San Francisco Theological Seminary. She served as Spiritual Director at St. Matthew parish in Charlotte for 4 years and currently serves as Director of Holy Ground of the Carolinas, offering spiritual direction for individuals and groups as well as supervision for individual directors, students, and peer groups. She is trained in Ignatian spirituality and offers the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and guided Ignatian retreats.
Deborah Delano, Spiritual Director, Retreat Guide
Deborah graduated from Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center with a certificate in spiritual direction and serves as a spiritual director in the Charlotte area.
Sr. Karen 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 and held 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: