Who We Are
Our Mission & Vision
Louisiana Spiritual Directors (LASD) is an association of trained spiritual directors formed to promote continuing education, fellowship and information for spiritual directors within Louisiana.
Mission & Purpose
The image of three chairs represents who is present during spiritual direction. In one chair the spiritual director prayerfully listens and asks questions to help the directee go deeper into his/her prayer experiences. The second chair is for the directee/seeker, who desires a deeper relationship with God. And the third chair is for God, the True Director.
Find a Director
“The spiritual director is concerned with the whole person, for the spiritual life is not just the life of the mind, or the life of the affections, or the ‘summit of the soul’—it is the life of the whole person.”
– Thomas Merton, Spiritual Direction and Meditation, p. 14
Welcome to the Louisiana Association of Spiritual Directors website. We are so glad you found us here. Please, make yourself at home.
You may have found yourself here for one or more of several reasons. You may be a current member seeking ways to become more involved or looking for resources about spiritual direction. Maybe you are seeking a spiritual director, or even discerning the calling to become a spiritual director, or just wondering what spiritual direction is all about. We hope you find information and answers here.
Our Association (LASD) was founded for the purpose of promoting the ministry of spiritual direction in our state and of being a resource to help directors grow spiritually and professionally in their ministries. Our Membership consists of active members who are trained spiritual directors and are currently engaged in the ministry of spiritual direction; and associate members who are either retired from the ministry, presently in training in a recognized spiritual directors training program or are involved in professions related to pastoral care.
We stay in touch with our membership through our newsletter which is delivered directly to your email inbox. We strive to make our newsletter a trusted resource for news and information which will be helpful and valuable to every member.
In addition, we hold an annual conference for the purpose of continuing our development as spiritual directors, helping us relate to, understand, and have compassion for those who come to us for direction and accompaniment. We seek speakers and leaders for this conference who are well known and distinguished spiritual directors themselves. These conferences are designed to help us develop further our own relationships with God which helps us more adequately serve others. You will find more information on our upcoming 2021 conference on this same website.
Our association currently has an eight-member board of directors who are working hard to make this organization valuable and helpful to our members. I encourage you to contact us through this website for ideas, needs, and ways you can assist us in making this association even better.
It is a blessing for me to serve our organization this year as your president. I invite your questions, comments and feedback. I pray God’s blessings and peace on you as you continue your own pilgrimage and relationship with God.
Mike Van Vranken
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Spiritual Director?
A spiritual director is a trained and experienced facilitator of the spiritual journey who is, foremost, grounded in prayer and growing in an intimate relationship with God. Called to the ministry, he or she serves as a vessel of God, the True Director, assisting the seeker to uncover the Divine in their everyday lives.
The director is not a therapist or a counselor, but is a spiritual companion. Through deep, contemplative listening, the spiritual director assists the directee in prayerfully discerning the movements of the Holy Spirit and in following the inspirations of grace.
According to Thomas Merton, “the spiritual director is concerned with the whole person, for the spiritual life is not just the life of the mind, or the life of the affections, or the ‘summit of the soul’—it is the life of the whole person.”
–Thomas Merton, Spiritual Direction and Meditation, p. 14
How does one know if they are ready to receive spiritual direction?
Basically, it is a calling. Inherent in this calling is a commitment to regular prayer. It requires a desire to grow and a willingness to intimately share the journey with another. A person ready for spiritual direction longs to develop his or her own relationship with God, and is also looking for assistance to go deeper as well as accountability in staying committed to the journey.
What is the difference between spiritual direction and counseling?
As a general rule, counseling and therapy focus on a person’s problem areas with the goal of a healthy resolution to those issues. Spiritual direction focuses on finding and responding to God present in the human life circumstances, whether glorious, joyful or sorrowful.
What are the benefits of Spiritual Direction?
- Deeper awareness of God’s presence, love and grace in all things and situations in one’s life.
- Deeper connection to one’s true self, others, and creation.
- Learning new spiritual disciplines—prayer, silence, meditation, etc.
- Discerning God’s will in one’s everyday decisions.
- Living more fully one’s purpose—to praise, reverence and serve God.
- Accountability to the daily rhythm of prayer and encouragement when self-discipline breaks down.
What typically happens in a direction session?
Normally, each session is about an hour. You will be asked to share your prayer experiences with your director; therefore, it is necessary for you to have a regular prayer time and to maintain a journal in order to have things to discuss. If you are discerning a major issue in your life, your time with your director is where this is processed after you have spent time in prayer. Your director will ask you questions in an effort to have you go a little deeper into your prayer experiences.
Although the title “spiritual direction” has sometimes been misused, the real task of spiritual direction is not to tell another person what to do or how to be spiritual. Your journey of faith is uniquely your own. It is the responsibility of the director to discern with you the movement of God’s Spirit in your life and to assist you in following that movement.
How often would I meet with my director?
That mostly depends on you, however once a month is a common arrangement and seems to work well. The frequency will be determined by your needs and the discernment of both the director and yourself.
Mutual respect and honesty are important, and confidentiality on the part of the director is a given. It is essential that both the director and directee feel free to communicate needs, frustrations, disappointments as well as the joys of the progress made. It is a good idea to evaluate every few months if expectations are being met and if not, what needs to be done about that. Thus, part of the commitment will be to respond to these insights and to know if and when to discontinue. But also, part of the commitment will be to persevere through discouragements in patience and faith. Mostly, spiritual direction involves trust: trust in God who has called you to partake in this ministry, and trust in the spiritual director as confidante and soul friend.
Is there a cost for Spiritual Direction?
As lay spiritual directors, we invest financially in our ministry in terms of ongoing training, professional dues, supervision, education and materials. Therefore, we accept donations towards our ministry ($40 is an average offering); however, inability to pay will not be a hindrance to receiving spiritual direction. All are welcome.
How do I find a spiritual director?
- This website has a list of directors who are members of LASD. Spiritual Directors International maintains a list of qualified spiritual directors. Contact them online.
- Sometimes a priest or minister can offer spiritual direction or at least assist with referrals. (Just because one is a “religious” does not infer that he or she would qualify as a good director, often lacking time for the ministry, training, or limited in the skill of deep listening.)
- Consider contacting retreat centers, monasteries, or communities of religious in your area.
- As in seeking other professional services, word of mouth is often the best method. Ask friends, fellow seekers, your pastor or fellow parishioners for suggestions about reputable spiritual directors.
Find a Director
Proximate preparation for spiritual direction (the day before):
Review and Reflect:
- Since my last direction session, what events, experiences, relationships, etc. have communicated to me a sense of God’s presence? God’s absence? What thoughts or feelings do these evoke for me?
- Exploring the manner of my prayer lately, what has helped me to stay attentive to the Spirit? Where have I experienced difficulty?
- In what area(s) of life do I sense God calling me to growth or to deeper surrender?
- As I reflect on my prayer life, what are its challenges and progress?
- What is the quality of the key relationships and responsibilities of my state in life?
A few minutes before your spiritual direction, say a prayer to the Holy Spirit to guide you and your director. Make sure you have the notes from your proximate preparation. Finally, call to mind the real goal of all spiritual direction: to discover more clearly God’s action in your life, and to equip you to respond generously to what he is asking of you.
2020-2021 LASD Board Members
Sr. Rochelle Perrier
Sr. Kathleen Stakelum
Mike Van Vranken