Overcoming Obstacles with new Opportunities
Virtual spiritual direction is becoming the "new normal”. It will not be the only way to do spiritual direction, but for now, it seems that more people prefer actually seeing a person’s face virtually, rather than seeing their face in-person, covered with a mask.
Offering Virtual Spiritual Direction
Fr. Stephan Bauer, osc
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, I had to stop offering spiritual direction for safety reasons. The only way I knew to do spiritual direction was face-to-face. Then I heard the Spirit say to me to be creative (the Spirit’s voice came through many people, not just in my heart).
So I contacted those who came to me for spiritual direction and offered them the possibility to do spiritual direction virtually. I had a whole range of responses. Some said they were not ready for that. Others were excited to begin again, but were cautious on how this would work. They offered different virtual avenues: FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, and Google Meet. If I did not have the App, I would down load it.
A significant part of spiritual direction is listening to the other person. I have found that it is helpful to see one another’s face because then we are able to pay attention to our body language and facial expressions. Just talking over a telephone does not offer the ability to really listen.
For some people doing virtual spiritual direction was very difficult because they had never used any form of virtual gatherings. The positive aspect of virtual spiritual direction is the ability to still talk with someone about their spiritual journey. Most still prefer face-to-face, but they are so happy they can still share with me their joys and struggles of their spiritual journey.
When I meet someone for the first time, I usually say that it is really God who is their spiritual director. I will just help them listen to the Spiritual Director. So, when people tell me about what is going on in their lives, whether we are face-to-face (with mask and social distancing) or using another source of communication, I can still help them listen to God.
I have even received some new spiritual directees. Now, the first question they ask me is “Will I meet with you face-to-face or will we do this virtually?” Virtual spiritual direction is becoming the new “normal”. I do not think it will be the only way to do spiritual direction, but for now, it seems that more people prefer actually seeing a person’s face virtually, rather than seeing their face covered with a mask.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, many of our spiritual directors are now offering virtual online sessions. Please see listings on our AZ Centers page to find a spiritual director.
Fr. Stephan joined the Crosier Fathers and Brothers in 1986 and was ordained as a priest in 1992. He shares the Crosier mission to touch suffering with hope and his conviction is that in the midst of struggle and pain, God offers life and transformation. Crosier spirituality is that of the Glorious Cross, for in the Cross there is salvation.
You can find out more about spiritual direction at Crosier Village HERE