Matt Palkert '18

Theology: Spiritual Direction Certificate

At St. Kate’s, students are treated with the highest degree of personalism and professionalism.

Profession

Spiritual Director

Why St. Kate's?

As I reflect back on my experience of entering the Spiritual Direction Certificate Program, I remember having some serious questions about my ability to be a spiritual director. The idea of meeting with someone regularly to offer spiritual direction or companionship was quite intimidating. Would I know what questions to ask? Would I have spiritual insights to offer or guidance for those seeking their way? What if I said something that disrupted someone’s relationship with God?

I simply didn’t think I was cut out for this responsibility. I could see that my self-doubt was perplexing to my professors. I had several years of ministry experience, which included many one-on-one pastoral conversations and a graduate degree in ministry… so, I couldn’t be more satisfied with my experience in this program at St. Catherine University.

Students are treated with the highest degree of personalism and professionalism. Both Bill and Christine have made a conscientious effort to get to know and work with me so that I can be successful in this program.

Building Experience

I am grateful for the knowledge and skills I gained because of St. Kate’s excellent courses and professors. All of this offers me a certain degree of confidence. However, I am most grateful to the program because the sense of responsibility, which nearly overwhelmed me when I began, has lost most of its power over me. This is not a coincidence, but the result of being shaped — transformed even — by the Holy Spirit and the program’s emphasis on our own spiritual growth as students.

Today

For me, spiritual direction is very simply about being present to another and listening to how God is present to this person. It’s about the relationship between God and the person in my midst, rather than about me. This is perhaps my most important lesson from St. Kate’s Spiritual Direction Certificate Program.

I am grateful for it, and the ways it has helped me minister more freely and effectively in all facets of my professional ministry.