Academic Programs 

The Art of Spiritual Direction (WS-625)
Summer 2004

This course explores the ministry and dynamics of spiritual direction.  Topics include the history and scope of spiritual direction, especially within the Christian tradition, the theological foundations, and the variety of expressions of spiritual direction within the personal, interpersonal, and social contexts. 

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
Class will meet from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on May 25 and 27 and June 1, 3, 8, 10, 15 and 17 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 5

Cathleen Murtha
Adjunct Professor in Arts of Ministry and Director, Spiritual Life Center, Bloomfield, CT

Contact Information:

(860) 243-2374

Course Syllabus

The content of the classes on the spiritual journey will be discussed within the framework of the relationships one has with self, others, the world, the environment and the structures of one’s culture.  The Saturday session on June 5th will be help at the Spiritual Life Center in Bloomfield and will be an in depth experience of group spiritual direction and reflection on that experience. 



In addition to the course outline and reading list, the expectation is that course participants will:

  • Engage actively and creatively in small and large group discussions on the topics of the class
  • Participate in reflective and integrative dialogue on the personal and communal implications of the material presented
  • Prepare and submit two short reflection papers – (Average 3-4 pages)
  1. Personal - As you reflect on the course material and activities, what challenged, consoled, energized, intrigued, and stimulated you in your own spiritual development?

  2. Pastoral - As you reflect on your pastoral/service situation, how are you being invited to cooperate with God in the transformation of the world?  How will you utilize the materials and experiences of this course in responding to that invitation?

*Due Date: July 15th

  • Prepare and submit one longer integrative paper on the topic of Spiritual Biography including
  1. reflection on the life and spiritual journey of an historical person
  2. reflection on how that person’s life story and situation amplified the topics and material of the of the course with particular attention to the Five Stages of the Soul
  3. reflection on the impact and influence of the person in the biography and the course on one’s life and ministry or pastoral practice.

*Due Date: August 15th


Required Readings:

The Five Stages of the Soul, Harry Moody and David Carroll, Anchor Books, 1997

The Art of Spiritual Direction, W. Paul Jones, Upper Room, 2002

Tending the Holy, ed. Norvene Vest, Morehouse Publishing, 2003

Recommended Readings:

Holy Listening, Margaret Geunther, Cowley Publications, 1992  
Still Listening
, ed. Norvene Vest, Morehouse 2000  
Passion for Life
, Continuum, 2000  
Inner Compass
, Margaret Silf, Loyola Press, 1999  
Women at the Well
, Kathleen Fischer, Paulist Press, 1988  
Show Me Your Way
, Howard Addison, Skylight Paths, 2000  

Course Outline and Reading List 

Tuesday, May 25            The Art and Context of Spiritual Direction

Readings: The Art of Spiritual Direction, Chapter 1 – Spiritual Direction: Its Types, Purposes and Types, pp. 1-40
*Tending The Holy, Chapter 5 – How Ignatius Would Tend the Holy, pp. 61-77

Thursday, May 27            Dynamics of the Spiritual Life

Readings: The Art of Spiritual Direction, Chapter 2 – Spiritual Diversity, pp. 41-64
*Tending the Holy, Chapter 7 – Freedom to Souls, pp. 98-113

Tuesday, June 1 The Call

Readings: The Five Stages of the Soul, Chapter 2 – Hearing the Call, pp. 41-80
Chapter 3 – Answering the Call, pp. 81-126

Thursday, June 3 The Search

Readings: The Five Stages of the Soul, Chapter 4 – Beginning the Search, pp. 127-171

Saturday, June 5    Retreat Day – 9:00am – 4:00pm    Group Spiritual Direction

Readings: The Art of Spiritual Direction, Chapter 3 – Communal Spiritual Direction, pp. 65-96

Tending the Holy 

*Chapter 1 – Making a Cup of Tea, pp. 3-18
*Chapter 2 – The Sufi Path to Guidance, pp. 19-31
*Chapter 6 – From a Graceful Center, pp.78-97
*Chapter 12 – In the Image of Godde, pp. 186-203          

Tuesday, June 8 The Struggle

Readings: The Five Stages of the Soul, Chapter 5 – Learning to Let Go, pp. 175-226
Chapter 6 -  The Struggle and Spiritual Practice, pp. 227-265 
*The Art of Spiritual Direction
– Chapter 5: Dimensions, Exercises and Resources for Spiritual Direction, pp. 137 – 192

Thursday, June 10            The Breakthrough

Readings: Five Stages of the Soul, Chapter 7 – Breakthrough, pp. 269-309
*Tending the Holy, Chapter 4 – The Place on which You Stand is Holy Ground, pp. 45-58

Tuesday, June 15            The Return

Readings: Five Stages of the Soul, Chapter 8 – pp. 310-353
*Tending the Holy
, Chapter 9 – The Spirituality of Nature and the Poor, pp. 131-147
* Still Listening,
Chapter 9 – Let the Oppressed Go Free, pp. 121-133

Thursday, June 17            Integrating Spiritual Direction and Life

*Tending the Holy, Chapter 10 – Transforming Institutions,  pp. 148–169

Chapter 11 – The Care and Feeding of Gen-X, pp. 170-185
*Still Listening, Chapter 12 – Flesh is More than Flesh, pp. 171-182
*AND any of the other chapters from this compilation that peaks your interest.           


Additional Articles will be available from Presence, the journal of Spiritual Directors International.

Additional Handouts will be distributed during classes when appropriate.

We will follow the Hartford Seminary guidelines regarding papers and grades (visit the student forms center to download this information).  Any individual special requirements will be discussed with the appropriate Hartford Seminary personnel and the course instructor.  

Due to the nature of this course and the time crunch of a summer session, prior reading will be helpful.  My suggestion would be to begin with the book, The Five Stages of the Soul.


Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500