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Diploma in Spirituality

Manresa has offered training in the theory and practice of spiritual direction since the 1970’s. Applications for the Diploma in Spirituality (Spiritual Direction), validated by Maynooth, are accepted between January and April each year for the course starting the following September. Find out more about this singular opportunity for personal and ministerial enhancement. 

Introduction to the Diploma in Spirituality

Drawing on our Ignatian tradition and with over forty years' experience of training people in spiritual direction Manresa has developed an integrated two-year programme of seven weekends per year which draws on the insights of spirituality, psychology and the understanding of the human person. This unique offering, with ongoing supervision over two years, allows participants to develop and deepen their skills over time. Applicants who elect to do the course at Manresa are resident during each of the weekends and have the added opportunity of an important group experience which significantly enhances the learning experience. We work within the Ignatian tradition which is a rich source of guidance in discerning the ways of God and which equips participants in the course to help others find their way in our sometimes confusing world.

Those successfully completing the course requirements are awarded a Diploma in Spirituality (Spiritual Direction) by St Patrick's College, Maynooth (The Pontifical University).

First Year

This is, at its core, a formation programme, fostering a reflective approach to life and noticing God at the heart of it.

During the first year of the course there is a focus on deepening your own spiritual life and prayer experience, furthering your capacity to reflect, developing your listening and communication skills and learning to accompany others. From the second term of the first year, you will accompany two people, under supervision.

Topics covered in the first year include:

  • The scope and limits of the ministry of spiritual direction
  • Personal history and the role of narrative in spiritual direction
  • Development in prayer: Theology & Practice
  • Psychological, Biblical & Theological aspects of spiritual direction
  • Following Christ and the cost of discipleship
  • Introduction to discernment
Spiritual direction training in session Spiritual direction training in session

Second Year

During the second year of the course central aspects of spiritual direction are re-visited and deepened with a more specific focus on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, on discernment, and on the reflection on your ongoing practice of spiritual direction. The second year is characterised by an integration of learning.

Topics covered in the second year include:

  • The roles of ‘director’ and ‘directee’ in spiritual direction
  • Human frailty and the need of God
  • Understanding the human person & the meaning of Christ’s coming
  • Christ’s call to work for justice and peace
  • Growing in freedom; discerning good choices
  • Contemplative prayer

The programme is interactive, experiential and will engage participants at a personal level. Different methods are employed such as: input; case studies; ‘real’ plays; triads; discussion; guided reading; written reflection; group work and ongoing supervision on a one-to-one basis that continues throughout the two years of the programme.

Diploma in Spirituality course information
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