Art Of Spiritual Direction

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange offer a spiritual direction formation program known as The Art of Spiritual Direction.

Please read below or contact Julie Mussche at or (714) 744-3175 ext. 7181.

Art of Spiritual Direction application

The Art of Spiritual Direction

Art of Spiritual Direction (ASD) is a three year program for individuals who discern in themselves a call to the ministry of spiritual direction. It provides a holistic curriculum which integrates theology, spirituality, skills development, psychology, Scripture and supervision in the art of spiritual direction.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange and Loyola Marymount University offer a joint Certificate in the Art of Spiritual Direction. Successful completion of the three-year program results in receipt of the professional ministry credential and continuing education units of specialized or upper-level ministry studies. Students who complete the course are eligible to receive 6 credits towards a Masters Degree in Pastoral Studies with an emphasis in Spiritual Direction pending approval of LMU’s Department of Theological Studies.

Frequently Asked Questions About the ASD Training Program

For more information about the certificate in Spiritual Direction program, please contact Julie Mussché at

Why do you require that a person be in regular and on-going spiritual direction for at least two years?

This is the most important and challenging question of all. Many of us have the deepest desire to be of service to others in our world. The ways that this can happen are many and varied; from pastoral care, counseling, CPE, ordained ministry, various therapeutic schools, healing ministries, to volunteer services in parishes, congregations, communities and temples. In many of these ministries it is required that people get the appropriate training in order to best serve the community.

Spiritual Direction, as a ministry, is by its very nature a contemplative ministry; the ability to hear another’s sacred story and to be open continuously to the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God, both in the life of the directee and the director. Unlike any other ministry, one cannot consider being a spiritual director without first being intentional about one’s own spiritual life. This means entering into the discipline of prayer, contemplation, spiritual reading, and spiritual direction – the regular, intentional connecting with another designated spiritual director, in order to be accountable to another for the daily gifts from God.

Would seeing my close friend, with whom I have deep conversations about God and life, be considered spiritual direction?

In essence, no. This person is not your spiritual director, but a friend. This would be like blurring the boundaries, or trying to wear two different “hats” at the same time. There are times when the topic of conversation is related to your close friend, and the other person as spiritual director is there as an objective, contemplative listener.

The role of spiritual director is that of a professional, for whom the ethical boundaries between director and directee are clearly delineated.

When are classes?

One Saturday per month, from September through June. A different Saturday is allocated for each year. This is a three-year commitment.

What does the connection with Loyola Marymount University mean?

The Art of Spiritual Direction program offered by the faculty as CSD is now a recognized program of the Extension Service of the Center for Religion and Spirituality at LMU/LA. The University awards the students with 18 semester hours of continuing education units (c.e.u’s) which may be transferable to another similar program at LMU/LA in the future. Both institutions will award a Certificate in the Art of Spiritual Direction.
You are required to complete the assignments, both reading and written, be present at all classes and participate in the varied processes in order to be graded for the assessment in the program. You have access to both the Loyola Marymount University and Saint Joseph College Libraries.

WARNING: Being awarded the Certificate in the Art of Spiritual Direction does not make you a spiritual director. It is a piece of paper that tells the public you have completed the program. Whether or not you will be a spiritual director is in the hands of God. The Art of Spiritual Direction Program at CSD is designed to assist a person in enhancing and developing skills they already have. These people know – through the depth of their own prayer life, in consultation discernment with their own spiritual director, and the fact that they are already intentionally companioning someone on their spiritual journey – that they have been called by God to this ministry for the people of God. This program does not pretend to make you a spiritual director.

What are the costs involved?

Fee: $1200 per year.

Payment Schedule for Each Year of the Program

ASD I (Year One)
You must send a non-refundable deposit of $100 upon application into the program. After the interview with faculty and acceptance, you will then be required to pay the balance of $1100.

Remaining balance may be paid in two ways:
1. $1100 balance on the first day of classes, OR
2. Balance paid during the year in September ($400), January ($400) and April ($300)

ASD II and ASD III (Year Two and Year Three)
Payments can be made in two ways:

1. $1200 on the first day of classes, OR
2. Balance paid during the year in September ($400), January ($400) and April ($300)

Very limited financial aid may be available.  People may apply for a scholarship by contacting Julie Mussché AFTER you have been accepted into the program.

How much work is involved in the program?

In ASD I and II, you will read a book a month a month and write a bibliography card or book review on each one. Three books are required and the rest may be selected from a book list.

The years are divided into modules, and there is a reflection paper to be written at the end of each module.

By Year Three, you will be “intern” spiritual directors, having at least two of your own directees, for which you will be meeting with your mentor for supervision each month. You will also be required to write a research paper of 15-20 pages on a topic of your choice related to the art of spiritual direction. Four book reviews and three module reflection are also due

You will also be in mentoring groups in Years Two and Three.

What are the Modules of study for each year?


Module One: Spiritual, Practical and Theological Foundations

Module Two: Historical, Ecumenical and Interfaith Perspectives

Module Three: The Practice of Prayer: Foundational Studies


Module One: Discernment: Responding to the Spirit in our Lives

Module Two: Psychology and Spirituality: Making Connections for Ministry

Module Three: The Art of Spiritual Direction: Practical Aspects


Module One: Holistic Spirituality

Module Two: Biblical Spirituality and Spiritual Direction

Module Three: Spiritual Direction and the Call to Social Justice

Module Four: Final Integration: Tending to the Essential and the Journey to Intimacy 

What do you mean by “mentoring groups”?

You will already have been meeting in small groups in the first year of the program, but by Year 2, you will be assigned to a mentoring group for the duration of Years Two and Three. These groups, typically, are made up of six students and a faculty member who acts as mentor for the group. These people are often adjunct faculty.

What do I need to do to apply?

You are required to send:
1. An autobiography of no more than 2 pages (typed, double-spaced).
a) Focus on your spiritual life/journey. Who were some key figures for you throughout your life?
b) How do you nourish your spiritual life?
c) Which faith community do you belong to?
d) What have you noticed about your journey that has brought you to the discerning admission into the type of program?

2. Two Letters of Recommendation
a) One of these must be from your spiritual director.
b) The other is to be from your pastor, rabbi, major superior; someone who can comment on your spiritual journey and recommend that you be admitted.

3. Enclose a non-refundable deposit of $100 with your application.


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