Personal Enrichment

SD1: Art of Accompaniment

In the Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis declared:

“The Church will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious and laity – into this ‘art of accompaniment’ which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Ex 3:5). The pace of this accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness and our compassionate gaze which also heals, liberates and encourages growth in the Christian life.” (Evangelii Gaudium 169)

What is the art of accompaniment?

Pope Francis describes it as a reverence for the other that acknowledges each person’s heart as “sacred ground.” To accompany one must learn to listen in a deeper way, to listen to the heart.

What is the value of a spiritual companion?

We do not understand our own experience fully until we can share it.  Certain wounds also do not heal if we have no way to share them with.  When our hearts remain distant from others they remain distant from ourselves as well.  When we learn to share our interior life with another, it helps us open that interior life more fully to God.  A spiritual companion assists us in these processes.

Who benefits from a spiritual companion?


The Art of Accompaniment course from May, 2022, held in a hybrid format with both online and in-person participation.

As Pope Francis said, the Church will have to initiate everyone into the art of accompaniment.  We believe that this course would benefit every Catholic to help you go deeper in your faith and to help others go deeper as well.

Join Benedictine Fathers Thomas Acklin and Boniface Hicks, authors of Spiritual Direction: A Guide for Sharing the Father’s Love, and Personal Prayer: A Guide to Receiving the Father’s Love, online or in person for “Spiritual Direction I: Art of Accompaniment” at Saint Vincent Seminary’s Institute for Ministry Formation.

Learn how to help others pray better, grow in their relationships with God, and heal from their wounds by accompanying others on their spiritual journeys to become better Christians. This course is for everyone who wants to develop a deeper understanding of the interior life, an understanding of the dynamics of growth in the spiritual life and a listening heart to help others on that journey.

Through this course, students personally develop a strong prayer life through committed practice and, among other objectives, a commitment to life-long learning, rooted in the Word of God and integrated with their spiritual lives.

When can I take the course?

SD1: The Art of Accompaniment is offered multiple times every year in various formats.  The course consists of twenty-five hours of instruction including practice sessions, reading assignments and discussion posts, all to facilitate learning.  We offer it in person in a five-day format, online in a semester-long format and sometimes as a special offering in various locations, like Rome, or in conjunction with other Institutes, such as the Theology of the Body Institute.  Click here for our course listings by semester to find out upcoming opportunities.

Spiritual Direction Program

This course can be taken on its own or as a foundational course in the Spiritual Direction Formation Program. The Spiritual Direction Formation Program is open to clergy, religious and lay students seeking to help others grow in faith through offering them the one-on-one ministry of spiritual direction. This is a two-year program. The curriculum consists of three major areas of study: spiritual direction dynamics, foundations in theology and psychology, and a mentored practicum. The program will equip persons for competent leadership in some form of specialized ministry in congregations and other settings. Participation can either be for credit or non-credit.