Spiritual Direction Certification Program

Certification Program:

Training to Become a Spiritual Director

God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.

Do you find people coming to you for a listening ear?
Are you already involved in contemplative practices?
Would you like to explore new perspectives on your own
sacred journey, or consider a future as a spiritual director?

Spiritual Direction is a relationship based on trust and confidentiality which encourages our ongoing conversion, helping us to notice God’s self-communication in life, relationships and prayer. James Keegan, S. J., speaks of “the contemplative practice of helping another person or group to awaken to the mystery called God in all of life, and to respond to that discovery in a growing relationship of freedom and commitment”.

 Our training program will begin in September 2016.

The course will take place on the Third Saturday of the month, with four meetings determining a semester. The program includes the reading of current spiritual direction books and articles, leading prayer, listening to and interacting with guest speakers, practicing spiritual direction skills, doing an internship under the direction of an individual supervisor and peer supervision, presenting oral and written papers, and making a retreat.

Cost of the Program

$50 Registration Fee (one time only)
$500 – 20 hours of class – per semester
$100 Overnight retreat (one time only)
$60 or less for books per semester
$100 Graduation Fee (one time only)

St. Anthony Shrine & Ministry Center is conveniently located in Downtown Crossing Boston and is easily accessible from the T, with stops at Downtown Crossing and Park Street. There is limited, metered street parking. Parking garages nearby are expensive.

Spiritual Direction Certification Team Members

Director Nancy Nichols Kearns – As a retired high school math teacher and school administrator, I am thrilled to be living in Boston and enjoying the nexus of spiritual communities. I am married with 5 children from our blended family and 8 grandchildren. I have been a Spiritual Director at the Shrine for 7 years and a Coordinator of Contemplative Outreach of Boston as well as auditing courses and attending lectures at Boston College. Centering prayer sustains me and allows me to be grounded in active ministry. Wisdom Schools have deepened this awakening. The Cursillo community, prison ministry at Framingham and 12 Step experience have encouraged me to feel blessed as God works through these encounters.

Clara Wood – I became involved in leadership roles in the sacramental and communal life of St. Stephen Priory in Dover twenty years ago, initiating prayer groups and retreats, and a two-year transformation of a contemplative garden with the help of the community. Love of the natural world and the arts, as expressed in practices of poetry, spiritual writings, and storytelling, have shaped my own life of prayer and ministries of homelessness, pastoral visiting and spiritual companionship. I am a widow with two children and four grandchildren, and a resident of Boston for 38 years.

Michael Kelleher – At age 67 I am a retired CPA, married with 2 children, 4 grandsons and I live in Charlestown and Hillsborough NH. At age 62 I listened to my inner voice that had been growing over time and returned to Boston College to earn a Masters Degree in Pastoral Ministry to prepare me for my current ministry – a hospital chaplain. That process required me to undertake 4 units of Clinical Pastoral Education where I worked in various hospitals and reflected on my feelings in dealing with patients, staff and associates, and analyzing my family of origin as it formed my being as I began the process of discovering “me”. This journey has taken me to trauma centers, community hospitals, homeless shelters, assisted living facilities, detox units, and lay parish ministry. My prayer is that my life experiences and learnings will benefit you as you continue your journey.

Victor Melo – I am 62 years old, married and I have two daughters and 5 grandkids. I am a Pastoral Associate at St. Anthony Parish in Lowell, since 1998 and a Certified Spiritual Director for 7 years. The fact that I was born in Portugal grew up in Africa and spent a grand part of my life as an agnostic and atheist, only converting in 1995, gives me a unique perspective on diversity of cultures and beliefs and contributes greatly for the compassionate understanding person I strive to be. A great factor on my spiritual growth and development are the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola that I have been directing for the past 4 years and that are the center of my spiritual life at the moment.

Carol Mitchell – is a former clinical psychologist who has worked as a spiritual director and retreat leader for more than 20 years. She has been involved in the training of spiritual directors as well as leading both preached and directed retreats. She is trained to give the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. She is married with three grown children and soon to be five grandchildren. She and her husband live in an intentional community run by the Quakers.

Fr. Barry Langley, OFM – I have been a member of the Shrine community since August 2007. Prior to joining the Franciscans and undertaking my theological degree, I worked as an attorney in New Jersey for five years. Before joining the staff at St. Anthony’s, I ministered in parishes in Long Beach Island, New Jersey; Tampa, Florida and Wilmington, Delaware. Along with my interests in cooking and quilting, I am an avid fan of the movies and the Phillies. I also enjoy being a chaplain on cruise ships for several weeks each year.

For a downloadable brochure click HERE

For an application or more information about the Spiritual Direction Certification Program, please contact

Nancy Nichols Kearns
St. Anthony Shrine & Ministry Center
100 Arch Street Boston, MA 02110
617-542-6440 x120
NKearns@stanthonyshrine.org