Last month Regnum Christi consecrated woman Lucy Honner discussed the
change of the RC Resource Center to the new
RC Spirituality Center. Currently the center is made up
of a team, including Lucy, Fr. Bartunek LC, and Regnum
Christi member Debbie Graspointner along with several other priests and
contributors working on different projects.
Following is another interview with Lucy
Honner about developments in training being given through the Spiritual
Direction Course. The team working on a certification course for
Spiritual Direction includes Lucy, Fr. John Hopkins LC, Fr. John
Bartunek LC, and Rebecca Teti.
Why offer Spiritual Direction Training?
lay spiritual directors is a service that Regnum Christi has
been providing for many years now. Since Regnum Christi’s primary
mission consists in finding and forming holy, spiritually mature apostles
for today’s urgent work of the New Evangelization, we consider
it imperative to be able to offer well-formed spiritual directors
to all our members.
In recent decades, more than one such
formation course has arisen in the Church at large. Two
factors are at work in this. First, the recognition of
spiritual direction’s importance for continued growth in the spiritual life.
In fact, Pope Benedict XVI, in a speech given in
Rome to students of Catholic spirituality, made this point explicitly.
He affirmed that spiritual direction is meant for everyone who
wants to grow to spiritual maturity:
“As she has never failed
to do, again today the Church continues to recommend the
practice of spiritual direction, not only to all those who
wish to follow the Lord up close, but to every
Christian who wishes to live responsibly his baptism, that is,
the new life in Christ” (Pope Benedict XVI, May 19,
The second factor has to do with the growing recognition,
especially since the Second Vatican Council, that lay men and
women can offer this service successfully. Nothing in the nature
of spiritual direction requires it to be the exclusive purview
of ordained clergy or consecrated religious. The early life of
John Paul II gives a beautiful example of this. Before
his entering into the seminary, he began to receive spiritual
direction from a layman named Jan Tyranowski. The wise guidance
and deep formation he received through that experienced contributed significantly
to his spiritual growth and to his decision to enter
What does this training involve, and where is
For the last few years, training has been
offered for the consecrated members of RC, Legionaries and lay
members of RC at our retreat and family center in
Bethesda, Maryland, Our Lady of Bethesda. The training course has
been developed under the guidance of a Legionary priest, Fr.
John Hopkins, S.T.L., and Rebecca Teti, a long-time member of
Regnum Christi. Right now, they are working together with me,
the director of the newly established Regnum Christi Spirituality Center,
in order to be able to offer parts of the
training online. This will make the formation available to more
people, as well as providing a more flexible platform for
people who are unable to travel or to take large
chunks of time out of their schedules.
How long does it
As it currently stands, the training course consists of five
intensive modules, each with multiple sessions. Each module lasts for
almost a full week. The modules include the following topics:
Role of Spiritual Direction and the Dynamics of Spiritual Growth
Human Person and His State in Life
- Virtue and the Life
- Discernment of Spirits
- The Life of Prayer and Growth in
Up to this point, the modules have been offered a
couple of times a year at Our Lady of Bethesda.
To complete the training course takes a few years. Even
after someone goes through all five modules, they continue to
receive training by attending subsequent sessions at Our Lady of
It is our hope to make the course more available
by adding an online component, as well as offering the
in-person sessions more frequently and in more locations. But these
are still only hopes at present. Right now, all modules
are given in person at Our Lady of Bethesda, and
only certain modules are offered each year, so the whole
course takes a few years to complete.
Who is offering the
course and teaching it?
Besides Fr. John Hopkins and Rebecca Teti,
the training comes from a team of experts in various
subject matters. This is one of the strengths of the
course, in fact. Our Lady of Bethesda and the Institute
for Psychological Sciences (IPS), whose current President is another Legionary
priest, Fr. Charles Sikorsky, J.D., J.C.L, have been developing a
strong collaboration. As a result, this training course is able
to offer not only solid theological content, but also the
most up-to-date and dependable insights from professional psychology. Because IPS’s
mission is to marry the valid and useful advances in
the psychological sciences to the perennial truths that come to
us through Catholic philosophy and theology, this particular training program
offers a deep, practical, and well-rounded formation hard to find
Who can take the course?
Up to now, the course has
been offered to lay people in Regnum Christi who have
felt called to exercise their apostolate in this fashion. Usually
these are people with years of experience in the spiritual
life, and with particular gifts in the area of interpersonal
relations. Sometimes, one of our priests or consecrated members will
suggest to a lay member of the RC movement that
they may be a good spiritual director, and invite them
to think about taking the course.
Our hope is to
begin offering the course more widely, so as to be
able to serve dioceses more directly, as some other spiritual
direction courses do. We would like to be able to
help train spiritual directors not only for the RC movement,
but for the Church at large. This is not easy.
It requires developing more objective criteria for the selection of
students, and more objective criteria for evaluating students’ progress. This
is something we are working on right now.
Our longer-term goal is to turn this training program
into a formal certification program, partnering with an established academic
institution. Part of that effort will involve creating an advisory
board with experts from outside the Legion and the RC
movement. While we are in the midst of our current
renewal process, this has been difficult. But it is our
For further information or any questions about the
Spiritual Direction Course please contact Lucy Honner at RCSpirituality@gmail.com.