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Six New Spiritual Directors for Belize

Belize City – On Saturday, May 18th, six new spiritual directors were commissioned at Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercy Center: Ms. Lourdes Cervantes, Ms. Gina Nisbet Fonseca, Ms. Solangel Martinez, Ms. Caroline Joseph, Mr. Damian Perdomo, and Dr. Julia Hall.


The six candidates completed a two-year training program that was a joint venture of the Jesuit Community of Belize and the Guadalupe Mercy Center, which included training modules in Christian Spirituality, Discernment of Spirits, Spirituality and Psychology, and the Theological Dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  Additionally, candidates participated this past year in a supervised spiritual direction practicum in which they accompanied others through the Spiritual Exercises retreat.


The training program was offered in response to a need for more spiritual directors in Belize.  The last spiritual director training was offered in the early 2000s by the Sisters of Mercy at the Guadalupe Mercy Center.  Only one of those trainees remains active in her ministry as a spiritual director.  Others have moved away or retired.  Some have died.  Trained spiritual directors are an asset to the Diocese.


“Spiritual direction is the art of accompanying others on their journey with Christ,” said Fr. Brian Christopher, SJ, who designed the program along with Br. Glenn Kerfoot, SJ, Mr. Dan Finucane, SJ and Sr. Sarita Vasquez, RSM.  “Spiritual directors don’t give advice, we’re not gurus or even teachers.  We learn to listen carefully to the person in front of us, and by doing that, we help them to pay close attention to the movements of the Holy Spirit in their own lives.”


Spiritual direction is not therapy, nor is it about fixing problems.  “A good spiritual director helps us to recognize how God is at work in our lives in all situations, whether good or bad, even when we are not at our best,” said Fr. Christopher.  “At the end of it all, we discover a God, who loves us far more than we could ever love ourselves, and that is transformative.”


Having completed their formal training, the six new spiritual directors are ready to exercise their ministry by assisting with retreats or by accompanying local Christians, who wish to deepen their spiritual lives. 


In the next few months, the new directors will begin preparations for the next offering of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, a 500-year-old retreat designed to bring people to greater intimacy with and commitment to Christ.  Since 1992, the Jesuit Community and the Guadalupe Mercy Center have worked together each year to offer this retreat from September until May.



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