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Overview

The Ignatian Spirituality Institute (ISI) Certificate in Ignatian Spiritual Direction (CISD) can be done on a non-credit basis or as part of the TRS Master of Arts degree program. Students who wish to pursue the ISI certificate as part of the TRS M.A. degree need to apply both to the TRS graduate program and also to the ISI program, which has its own standards for admission.

ISI is endowed by a grant from the F.J. O’Neill Charitable Corporation and by gifts from other generous donors. For more information, contact Director Joan M. Nuth, Ph.D.

Curriculum

The ISI CISD program is designed around three areas of study:

  1. Theology and scripture, with particular emphasis upon Christian anthropology, Christology, and scriptural exegesis pertinent to the work of spiritual direction.
  2. Spirituality, particularly Ignatian spirituality, the Spiritual Exercises, discernment, types of prayer, and mysticism.
  3. Psychology, with focus upon developmental models of psycho-sexual maturation, and the cultivation of communication skills.

Progression

  1. Year I is academically focused, with classes meeting twice a month in the evenings along with occasional weekend workshops.
  2. Year II is focused on the supervised practicum with two options:
    1. Track I consists of the supervised practice of spiritual direction. The basic pedagogical model for this training will be the rich tradition of the Spiritual Exercises.
    2. Track II offers more flexibility, allowing students to design a program to bring the tradition of the Spiritual Exercises into their own ministry or profession, whatever that might be.

Students are accepted into Year I initially. Progression into Year II is discerned during the first year in consultation with the director.

ISI Admission Requirements

The Ignatian Spirituality Institute is intended for Christians who have made basic life choices and have a regular habit of prayer or the desire to cultivate one. The Institute is open to Christians from any denomination or walk of life.

Generally it is expected that ISI applicants will have completed a college degree, have several years of steady work, and a variety of life experiences. In addition to a college degree, it is helpful if ISI applicants have some prior academic courses in theology and/or scripture. The ISI Admissions Committee may make exceptions to these general criteria.

Applicants must complete or submit:

  • An application form.
  • A written spiritual autobiography.
  • A written statement of vision of ministry.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • A record of education history.
  • An interview with the ISI Admissions Committee.

The application deadline is April 1 for admission to the fall cohort. Applications will continue to be accepted as long as space is available.

ISI Course of Studies

The Ignatian Spirituality Institute program runs on a cohort basis, starting in the fall semester and continuing for two academic years. The course of studies includes:

  • ISI 401 Theology of the Spiritual Exercises I (=TRS 472)
  • ISI 402 Theology of the Spiritual Exercises II (=TRS 473)
  • ISI 403 Practicum in Spiritual Direction I (=TRS 474)
  • ISI 404 Practicum in Spiritual Direction II (=TRS 475)

Each of these courses can be taken for graduate credit toward the TRS Master of Arts program.

Course Descriptions
  • ISI 401: The Theology of the Spiritual Exercises I (= TRS 472)
    This is the first of two courses on the Spiritual Exercises. Its main focus is on the theological themes underlying the pattern of the Exercises: the theology of Ignatius and his time, as well as contemporary approaches to the Exercises. Students in this course will learn:
    1. A general understanding of the ministry of spiritual direction, its purposes and dynamics.
    2. A foundational knowledge of the history, theology, and dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises.
    3. An understanding of the various movements desired in the one making the Exercises, with practical suggestions for discerning and helping people achieve these.
    4. A knowledge of basic themes in contemporary theology consonant with the dynamics of the Exercises and with particular relevance to the spiritual life of today’s Christians.
    5. Familiarity with scriptural passages relevant to the various dynamics of the Exercises.
  • ISI 402: The Theology of the Spiritual Exercises II (= TRS 473)
    This is the second of two courses on the Spiritual Exercises. Students are expected to learn:
    1. A foundational knowledge of the history, theology, and dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises.
    2. An understanding of the various movements desired in the one making the Exercises, with practical suggestions for discerning and helping people achieve these.
    3. The development of the skill of theological reflection.
    4. A knowledge of basic themes in contemporary theology consonant with the dynamics of the Exercises and with particular relevance to the spiritual life of today’s Christians.
    5. Familiarity with scriptural passages relevant to the various dynamics of the Exercises.
    6. An introduction to scriptural exegesis useful for understanding and giving the Exercises.
    7. Practice in the listening skills necessary for spiritual direction.
  • ISI 403-404: Practicum in Spiritual Direction (= TRS 474–475)
    This course has a single focus: to assist the intern in beginning the exercise of the ministry of spiritual direction, and to provide practice in that ministry under supervision. The supervision process is designed to help the beginning director:
    1. To grow in the practical skills needed to help directees learn to pray and grow spiritually.
    2. To grow in the ability to recognize interior movements and counter-movements in oneself and in one’s directees (discernment of spirits).
    3. To become aware of one’s reactions to directees and grow in comfort with exploring the underlying reasons for those reactions.
    4. To grow in self awareness and interior freedom.
    5. To develop a contemplative stance toward one’s directees.
    6. To become more aware of and savor God’s presence in the direction and supervisory sessions.
    7. To recognize areas in oneself in need of further growth.
    8. To recognize and develop one’s areas of strength.
  • Practicum Requirements:
    1. At least 50 contact hours with directees.
    2. Spiritual direction log.
    3. Nine meetings with your supervisor.
    4. The completion of eight verbatim reports.
    5. Two Team Review Sessions with ISI director and supervisor.
The ISI Mission

To keep the fire of Ignatius’ love for God and the world burning in our hearts today, the Ignatian Spirituality Institute (ISI) offers an educational program for the training of spiritual directors in the tradition of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola.

ISI offers adult Christians of any denomination theological and spiritual tools for deepening Christian life and ministry, whether in the home, parish, congregation, or workplace. Thus, the ISI program is ideally suited to those interested in the ministry of spiritual direction and/or retreat work. While the Institute’s primary mission is the training of spiritual directors, ISI also admits students who wish to gain a better theological and spiritual grounding in personal prayer, discernment, and apostolic action. Provision is made in Year II for ISI participants who, rather than engaging explicitly in spiritual direction, wish to bring to their daily work and relationships the Ignatian vision of “finding God in all things.”

The ISI Newsletter, Ignis

Past issues of the Ignis newsletter:

  • Ignis 16.1 (August 2018)
  • Ignis 15.1 [sic] (December 2017)
  • Ignis 15.1 [sic] (August 2017)
  • Ignis 15.1 (August 2016)
  • Ignis 14.3 (June 2016)
  • Ignis 14.2 (November 2016)
  • Ignis 13.2 [sic] (November 2015)
  • Ignis 13.2 (August 2015)
  • Ignis 13.1 [sic] (April 2015)
  • Ignis 12.3 (November 2014)
  • Ignis 11.3 (November 2013)
  • Ignis 10.1 (August 2012)
  • Ignis 9.2 (Nov 2011)
  • Ignis 9.1 (August 2011)
  • Ignis 8.3 (July 2011)
  • Ignis 8.2 (November 2010)
  • Ignis 8.1 (August 2010)
  • Ignis 7.3 (July 2010)
  • Ignis 7.2 (November 2009)
  • Ignis 7.1 (August 2009)
  • Ignis 6.3 (November 2008: Special Alumni Issue)

A limited number of earlier issues of the newsletter are available in hard copy in the Institute’s office. Please call 216.397.1599 if you would like a copy of a past issue that does not appear in this list.

The Ignatian Spirituality Institute offers a two-year program in spiritual direction. This is a non-credit, non-degree certificate program running concurrently with the fall/spring academic calendar at the University.

Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) may be available to ISI participants who apply for them through the Continuing Education Department at John Carroll University. For information on CEU’s, please call 216.397.4245.

For more information on the Ignatian Spirituality Institute, call 216.397.1599.

Ignatian Spirituality Institute

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Please contact us to request more information about the Ignatian Spirituality Institute.

An Endowment Fund has been established to finance and secure the future of ISI. Gifts to the ISI Endowment Fund are most welcome! If you are interested, please contact us below.

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