Formation Process

Formation of Spiritual Directors in the Ignatian Tradition

The primary purpose of the Arrupe Program is to form people to be Givers of the Spiritual Exercises. Being a giver of the spiritual Exercises presumes that students will have themselves completed the Exercises, so if they have not completed the Spiritual Exercises before joining the program, they will be expected to complete them prior to engaging in the practice of giving spiritual direction. Students will also be expected to meet monthly with their spiritual director while completing the course. To be admitted students must be enrolled in, or, have completed a spiritual direction course (Graduate Diploma or Master of Spiritual Direction).

Through the Graduate Diploma or Master of Spiritual Direction courses at ACU, students have the opportunity to receive some foundational training in systematic theology, biblical studies and Ignatian spirituality; through the Arrupe Program, students can build on this knowledge by learning the craft of spiritual direction under supervision, as well as by becoming apprentices to more experienced and accomplished directors. The extra practical inputs — by way of group supervision, guest practitioners and mentoring — will augment, in an experiential way, their theoretical knowledge and practical know-how.

The Giving of the Spiritual Exercises is completed by taking two exercitants, under supervision, through the full Spiritual Exercises (Annotation 19 or 20). Throughout the Arrupe Program, students are encouraged to gain additional hours of supervised spiritual direction practice. Students are required to be under supervision during any practicum work.

The Formation Experience

As we are following an apprenticeship model. To offer Arrupe candidates an excellent experience of formation to become Givers of the Spiritual Exercises, we have developed three interrelated components of formation:

    1. Workshops and mentoring through which candidates will receive input from experienced spiritual directors: The aim here is for candidates to benefit from the wisdom and knowledge of a range of people who are experienced givers of the Spiritual Exercises. Where possible, we will also endeavour to create opportunities for Arrupe  candidates to participate in giving retreats to individuals and groups. This will include gaining experience in giving the First Spiritual Exercises.
    2. Group Supervision: as they take exercitants through the Spiritual Exercises, candidates will have the opportunity to participate in a number of group supervision sessions where they can benefit from the wisdom of experienced directors.
    3. Individual supervision: as they take two exercitants through the full Spiritual Exercises, candidates will be accompanied by a supervisor who is experienced in directing the Spiritual Exercises, but who also holds qualifications in Supervision.  Candidates will be required to choose from a list of accredited supervisors provided by the Arrupe Coordinator.

There is ongoing discernment throughout all stages of the Arrupe Program by both program leaders and the  candidates themselves. Candidates are assessed on their demonstration of the attributes listed in the Annotations for Givers of the Exercises and the Code of Ethics for Companions in the Ministry of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.