Spiritual Direction Preparation Program

"I don't think that I have ever been averse to doing deep inner work, but this program put me on a fast track to exploring the inner life. It has helped me be a better listener in the whole of life." - Past participant

Do you wish to help others discover a personal, intimate relationship with God? Are you interested in preparing for a ministry of spiritual direction or retreat ministry? Are you interested in becoming a trained spiritual director? Consider the Franciscan Spirituality Center's Spiritual Direction Preparation Program (SDPP). 

Click here to watch our video about the SDPP.

Click here to download an application.

Click here for a PDF version of the application.

It's about listening to the stories.

Since 1985, the Franciscan Spirituality Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin, has trained more than 500 people in the practice of spiritual direction. This innovative training program provides a mix of workshops and real-life experiences to prepare individuals to share their compassionate listening skills as trained spiritual directors in their communities.

The Spiritual Direction Preparation Program (SDPP) extends over three years, giving participants an opportunity to integrate theory and practice. While the SDPP prepares the participant to direct others - regardless of their faith or religious affiliation - the Franciscan Spirituality Center teaches from the Judeo-Christian tradition. This program is designed to form and train candidates through practical workshops, verbatims, reflections and readings, quarterly meetings and one-on-one supervision. Click here to download our brochure.


SDPP is designed for:

  • Those who are older than 30 and drawn to a deeper understanding of spiritual direction.
  • Those who have not had formal training in spiritual direction.
  • Those preparing for a ministry of spiritual direction or retreat ministry.
  • Those interested in deepening their spiritual and personal development. 

SDPP participants learn by:

  • Attending scheduled workshops.
  • Practicing direction skills using monthly verbatims.
  • Meeting quarterly with a supervisor who is an experienced spiritual director.
  • Writing reflection papers on required books and articles.
  • Participating in annual reviews. 

Expected outcomes:

  • Lifelong compassionate listening skills. 
  • Strong community development with cohort between 25-35 participants.
  • Personal transformation and deeper spiritual understanding.
  • Increased self-awareness and deeper interpersonal relationships.
  • Certificate of completion as a trained spiritual director.