Group Spiritual Direction

Community for Discernment

by Rose Mary Dougherty, S.S.N.D.

“This book taught me more about group spiritual direction—enough so I really feel I have a grasp of it, which means that the text is already accomplishing its purpose. It will be a significant contribution to our world.” — Gerald G. May, M.D.

Group Spiritual Direction is a resource for people wishing to explore the possibilities of spiritual community within the context of group spiritual direction. Rose Mary Dougherty’s writing acknowledges the growing need that many people have for small communities of support in their relationship with God, and it describes the diverse means that various religious traditions and denominations have used to address this need. The text presents group spiritual direction as a unique form of spiritual community which assists people in ongoing individual discernment.

Drawing on years of experience as a spiritual director and as one who has offered group spiritual direction in ecumenical settings, the author provides both the theological understanding and the detailed information needed to establish spiritual direction groups. She consistently invites the reader to return to her primary assumption: the most important element in group spiritual direction is the contemplative stance of presence to God for one another within the group meeting and prayer for one another outside the meeting. The author also offers practical suggestions for fostering this contemplative stance as well as ways to prepare people for group spiritual direction.