Martha West MAT'11, CERT'12

Theology (MAT) and Theology: Spiritual Direction Certificate

The growth I experienced at St. Kate’s is immeasurable.

Profession

Community Relations and Development, Spiritual Director

Building Experience

During my time in St Kate’s Spiritual Direction program, I’ve gleaned deep insight and practical wisdom from a wide range of backgrounds, sacred stories, teachings and experiences that continue to bring me into new places of healing, wholeness, and integration.

I’ve also had the opportunity to take several courses that sharpened my skills as a spiritual discerner. One of my favorite classes was “Jung and Spiritual Guidance.” I learned that the spiritual journey is a voyage toward integration or wholeness, and Jung would say that it occurs through the unification of such opposites as the conscious and unconscious shadow, thinking and feeling, and the masculine and feminine.

Today

A spiritual director in the simplest terms is simultaneously a learner and a teacher of discernment. In my practice, I tend to begin with questions such as: Where is God in this person’s life? What is this person’s story? Where does this person’s story fit in our common human story? And, how is Divine Spirit at work in this person’s life?

Spiritual directors find common ground in living a life devoted to God and prayer; in dedicated time for silence, solitude, and retreat; through developing spiritual friendships; and by participating in community. Other hallmarks include the capacity for presence, holy listening, compassion, empathy and humility.

We learn to live — often uncomfortably —with the paradox of suffering and joy and understanding the dark night. The Buddhist master Trungpa said: “The tender heart has the power to transform the world.” As a spiritual director, this is our ministry and my calling.

I am grateful to St. Kate’s — and for the growth I experienced during my time there.