by Annie Erickson

Thirty-three people have just completed the Jesuit Institute’s Spiritual Director Training (SDT). The course is a three-year course; two years of eight modules of four days each and a third year of giving spiritual direction under supervision. Annie Erickson, a participant in this module, offers her reflection on the past two years. SDT will be offered again in 2018. 

As an American living in South Africa for over nine years, “home” is a difficult concept to define. I am familiar with many faith traditions, and different expressions within the Christian tradition. I cross ecumenical lines often in my work with an international NGO. I have travelled to five continents and experienced many things, but when I discovered Ignatian spirituality, I felt as though I came home.

I love to journey alongside people, both as a counsellor and in a pastoral capacity, but when I discovered spiritual direction, I found the missing piece for which I had been searching for a long time. After experiencing spiritual direction as a directee for several years, and then training to become a prayer guide, I felt the call to pursue spiritual direction. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what the Jesuit Institute would think when they found out an American who attends a charismatic church was applying to study under them!

Attending the course to become a spiritual director was the beginning of a pivotal and an amazing journey. The training provided by the Jesuit Institute was a perfect blend of theory and practical application. The diversity among the students was a blessing beyond imagination. To journey and share life with people from different ecumenical and cultural backgrounds was a small taste of the kingdom of God on earth! The instructors were encouraging, wise, engaging, and it was truly a delight to study under them.

The spiritual formation that occurred in my own life during the training was nothing short of transformational. I leave the course with a new way of being, of relating to other people and to God. I also leave with a new family. The training has informed every aspect of my life, something I could not have anticipated and yet something for which I am profoundly grateful.

I look forward to the next chapter of my journey. I am humbly indebted to the Jesuit Institute for investing in me and providing world class education and spiritual formation. They have nurtured my potential to help me live out my personal vocation. Most importantly, they helped me to discover my home, no matter where I am in the world.