Foundational Concepts in Spiritual Direction II

This unit can be undertaken as full time (DS8702Y) or part time (DS8712Y) and (DS8722Y)


The unit explores relationships and interdependence as foundational concepts in the practice of spiritual direction.   It explores the deep connectedness of all life, drawing on the insights of modern science, Christian theology and biblical scholarship.   As well, the influence of the visual and narrative arts, images and imagination, on our religious experience and ministry is explored experientially.   The unit also covers the discernment of spirits identifying the workings of God’s Spirit and spirits not-of-God, resulting in consolation and desolation. The implications of discernment for Christian decision-making are also explored.


Enrolment and acceptance at Heart of Life Centre


Full Time = DS8704Y and DS8706Y

Part Time = DS8714Y and DS8716Y

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a critical knowledge of the biblical and theological underpinnings of the ministry of spiritual direction
  2. articulate an understanding of the process of discerning the spirits (towards God and away from God) informed by their own and others’ experience and the wisdom of the tradition
  3. demonstrate an ability to apply this understanding to the actual practice of the ministry of spiritual direction
  4. articulate their understanding and their responses to others’ story-telling and images, and apply this to their ministry
  5. demonstrate awareness of the interconnectedness of all life and the relevance of ecological theology to the contemplative practice of spiritual direction.


Written Assignment/Discernment (3000 words) (50%); Ecological Spirituality Project (1500 words) (25%); Stories and Images Project (1500 words) (25%)


* = set texts recommended for purchase

* Barry William A., & William J. Connolly. The Practice of Spiritual Direction. New York: Seabury, 1982.

Barry, William A. Spiritual Direction and the Encounter with God: A Theological Enquiry.  Mahwah, NJ:  Paulist Press, 2004.

Coloe, Mary L. Creation is Groaning: Biblical & Theological Perspectives. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2013.

Edwards, Denis. Jesus, the Wisdom of God. Sydney, NSW: St. Pauls, 1985.

———. Ecology at the Heart of Faith.  Maryknoll NY: Orbis, 2006.

* ———. Jesus and the Natural World.  Mulgrave VIC: Garratt, 2012.

Malone, Peter. Images and Stories in An Anthology of Spiritual Direction. Mandurah WA: Equilibrium Books, 2012.

———. Screen Jesus.  Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2012.

Toner, Jules J.   A Commentary on St. Ignatius’ Rules for the Discernment of Spirits. St. Louis, MO: St. Louis University, 1995.