Spiritual Directors Institute

Forming spiritual directors with and for Jesuit pre-secondary and secondary schools

Image result for ignatian spiritual direction

In 2019, the Society of Jesus announced four “Universal Apostolic Preferences” to guide its mission over the next ten years. In describing the preferences, Fr. Arturo Sosa, S.J., Superior General, stated, “Our desire has been to find the best way to collaborate in the Lord’s mission, the best way to serve the Church at this time, the best contribution we can make with what we are and have, seeking to do what is for the greater divine service and the more universal good.”

Jesuit schools have been forming young women and men of “competence, conscience and compassion” since 1548 when the first school opened in Messina, Sicily. 

Jesuit schools have the unique opportunity to embrace the four Universal Apostolic Preferences. The Spiritual Directors Institute focuses on two

  1.  To accompany the young in the creation of a hope-filled future

“Our works seek to be spaces open to youthful creativity, spaces that both foster an encounter with the God of life revealed by Jesus and deepen the Christian faith of the young.

      2.  To show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment

“We want to share with others the most fundamental discovery of our lives, namely, that discernment and the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius show the way to God.”

The Spiritual Directors’ Institute is a robust response to the Universal Apostolic Preferences.  The Institute is a two year formation process that includes theological foundations and practicum in Ignatian spiritual direction and discernment spanning two academic years. While the program prepares the participant to engage in spiritual direction and individual and communal discernment regardless of his/her apostolate, this program forms spiritual directors and discerners who serve in Jesuit pre-secondary and secondary schools.


  • Participants made the Spiritual Exercises in either the 30 Day or 19th Annotation formats prior to the first summer of studies
  • Participant is receiving spiritual direction (if one is not currently making the Spiritual Exercises)
  • Application to the Institute and Letter of Intent
  • Letters of Recommendation from the participant’s Director of the Works and current Spiritual Director
  • Two week residency for cohort seminars (July 6-17, 2020 and July 5-16, 2021)
  • Reading list for Summer I (sent January 1, 2020) to be completed prior to July Cohort Gathering. Reading list for Summer II (sent January 1, 2021) to be completed prior to July Cohort Gathering.

Year One:

Fall 2019 – Spring 2020 – Participants make the full Spiritual Exercises either in the 30-Day or Nineteenth Annotation models. This experience takes place in his or her home city, and the Institute Director facilitates details.

Participants complete the reading syllabus in advance of the July term.  

July 6–17, 2020 – The candidate joins his/her Cohort Group in Rochester, NY for two-weeks of prayer, reflection and course work.  The two courses are: The Theology and Dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises and A Pre-Practicum in Spiritual Direction.

Year Two:

Fall 2020 – Spring 2021 – Participants return to their schools and engage in a practicum in spiritual direction, directing two people once a month for nine months.  The participants will meet individually once a month, via Skype, with the Institute Director. Student-directors will submit verbatims and reflections on supervision, as well as a final reflection at the end of the practicum to the Institute’s Director.

Participants complete the reading syllabus in advance of the July term.  

July 5–16, 2021 – The candidate joins his/her cohort group in Rochester, NY for two-weeks of prayer, reflection, and course work. The two courses are: The Theology and Practice of the Discernment of Spirits and Post-Practicum in Spiritual Direction.

Tuition and Fees:

Summers: Tuition is $700 for two classes.

Practicum Supervision: $675 for 9 months supervision

Room, board and transportation is $800.

Airfare and other personal expenses are separate.

The program also sponsors optional weekend excursions for additional fees. Tours of the Finger Lakes wine country or Niagara Falls, are examples of opportunities to experience the natural beauty of Upstate New York, and to deepen colleagueship within and among the group. Other self-guided opportunities, which incur no additional programmatic fees, are available throughout the Rochester area.

School Year: Fees for the Spiritual Exercises, supervision during the Practicum, books and other school year expenses are the responsibility of the participant.


CLICK HERE to register. Registration is due no later than April 1, 2020.

For More Information:

Damian Zynda, Th.D.
Institute Director
c/o McQuaid Jesuit
Email: dzynda@mcquaid.org
Phone: 585-256-6103

As Director of Ignatian Identity at McQuaid Jesuit, Dr. Damian Zynda forms leaders in McQuaid’s adult community in Ignatian Spirituality and Jesuit Pedagogy. She holds a doctorate in Theology from the University of St. Michael’s College, the Toronto School of Theology (2004), and Certifications in Advanced Jesuit Studies from Boston College (2016), Spiritual Direction in the Spiritual Exercises, Loyola House, Guelph, Ontario, Canada (1991), and Supervision of Spiritual Directors from St. Meinrad’s School of Theology, St. Meinrad, Indiana (2014).  Since 2004 she has been on faculty in the Christian Spirituality and Master of Ministry Programs at Creighton University forming spiritual directors in the Ignatian Tradition for almost two decades. Damian is an active member of the JSN Ignatian Identity and Mission Officers’ Cohort and UNE Province Mission and Identity Cohort.