Spiritual Direction

“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2)

Fathers William Barry and William Connolly, in their book The Practice of Spiritual Direction, define spiritual direction as:

“Help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of that relationship.”

Building on this thought, it is good to keep in mind that the real director in the spiritual direction relationship is the Holy Spirit.  The primary relationship is between the Holy Spirit and the directee, the secondary relationship between the director and directee.

Here are some basic “dos and don’ts” of spiritual direction:

Spiritual direction can be

  • An experience that over time, helps the directee become more attentive to God’s presence and action in your life.
  • Facilitates the growth of the directee’s relationship with God and can lead to a greater appreciation for the role of the sacraments in your life.
  • A contemplative approach rather than a psychological approach
  • Facilitates the formation of growth (and/or development) in both the human and divine likeness of Christ.
  • A process of seeking to understand and follow God’s will in all aspects of life.
  • Something that flows from and enriches religious experience.
  • A discernment of the movement of the Holy Spirit working in the life of the directee.
  • A relationship of trust that involves a commitment to be open and candid.

Spiritual direction is not

  • Directive in terms of telling a person what to do.
  • Psychological counseling 
  • Pastoral or crisis counseling
  • Life coaching
  • The sacrament of penance. However, if your spiritual director is a priest, you may discuss with him how the sacrament of reconciliation may fit into the direction setting.
  • Primarily advisory (although some suggestions might be offered)
  • Primarily informative (although there can be “teachable moments”)
  • Relinquishing of personal responsibility
  • Always comfortable

For more information, contact Erin McGeever, Director of Christian Formation: emcgeever@dosafl.com.

Approved Training Programs for Spiritual Directors

Bon Secours Spiritual Direction Institute | Bon Secours Retreat & Conference Center (bonsecoursrcc.org)
Faith Formation (immaculateconceptioncenter.org) (Steubenville)
Sacred Presence: Spiritual Director Formation | San Pedro Center | Winter Park, Florida
School of Mary – a site specialising in spiritual life
Spiritual Direction Graduate Certificate | Spring Hill College | Alabama (shc.edu)
Spiritual Direction, Directed Retreats (Cert) | CreightonSpiritual Direction, Directed Retreats (Cert) | Creighton
Spiritual Direction Certificate – Divine Mercy University

Trained Spiritual Directors February 2024

Sr. Tina Alfieri, diocesan hermit​​
Queen of Peace, Gainesville​​
(352) 318-1500 (cell)

Janice Capano​​​​
St. William Parish, St. Simon’s Island
(770) 500-5468

Patty DeHaan​​​​
Holy Faith, Gainesville
(352) 514-0335

Father Al Esposito​​​
Queen of Peace
(352) 332-6279
(Spanish and English)​​​

Paula Fuller​​​​​
Cathedral and Shrine

Susan Hagerty
Our Lady Star of the Sea

Diana Hennig
St. Anastasia Parish
Marian Servant of the Blessed Sacrament

Christopher Fernandez​​​
St. Patrick Parish, Jacksonville
(954) 632-0991

Sister Joan Gabbin, SFCC​​​
Our Lady Star of the Sea​​​
(904) 881-0921 (cell)
(904) 280-7321 (home)

Mary Griggs​​​​​
Blessed Trinity Parish
(904) 710-4284

Msgr Vincent Haut
(904) 382-1678​​​

Diane Hemsoth
St. Joseph Parish

Rhode L. Jean-Aleger
St. Joseph Parish

Kathleen Patneau​​​
St. John Paul II
(904) 614-0241

Kathy Richards
St. Joseph Parish

Mary Rousseau
St. Joseph Parish

Mary Shaw

Gladys Stewart
St. Joseph Parish​​​​
(904) 824-1752 (work)
​​​(904) 260-9724 (home)
(Spanish and English)

Fr. Herberto Vergara​​​
St. Francis Xavier Parish

Sisters of St. Joseph Renewal Center in St. Augustine

Spiritual Directors are available through St. Joseph Renewal Center
234 St. George Street St. Augustine, Fl 32084
Contact: Sister Florence Bryan, SSJ
(904) 824-5894

Fiat Center:  Mercedarian Sisters

1211 NW 10th Avenue, Gainesville
352) 451-4544
Stipends should be negotiated with individual spiritual directors.

Upcoming Events


Annual Day of Healing
St. Joseph Academy


Shrine Second Saturday Speaker Series, Mary’s Assumption into Heaven
Our Lady of La Leche National Shrine at Mission Nombre de Dios


Catholic Writers Guild
St. Pauls Catholic Church


San Juan Feast Day Mass
San Juan Mission


Theology on Tap: The Epidemic of Loneliness
Historically Hoppy


Pilgrimage to the National Eucharistic Congress