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Why Catholic? Meet Bishop Edward C. Malesic
Offices Parish Life Young Adult Ministry Spiritual Direction

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Spiritual Direction

What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual Direction is help given by a trained Spiritual Director (clergy or un-ordained) to another person through confidential, ongoing conversation. It is a relationship between the Director and the one being directed but also, it is an encounter with God that they participate in together. The purpose of the relationship is so that the one being directed might grow closer in their relationship with God. In short, it's an opportunity to let someone mentor you in developing a relationship with God.

What Spiritual Direction is not.

Spiritual direction focuses on a relationship with God. It is not about solving problems or overcoming a psychological malady, as professional psychotherapy would address. Instead, spiritual direction focuses on the relationship one has with God and how the person sees or struggles with God in their everyday life. It is not therapy or coaching. It is not career counseling or rehabilitation services. It is however, a mentoring relationship where the director accompanies an individual through a process of developing a prayer life.

In that process, one might find answers to problems or dilemmas in their life, but the focus is not on those issues. The focus is on developing a relationship with God so that one feels God's presence in their life - developing a life of prayer (or better stated, communicating with God) and in being guided in learning to pray and on engaging in a spiritual journey to discover more about the divine is the prime focus.

Why should I be interested in Spiritual Direction?

Everyone needs a coach or a guide. Many of us try to pray, but simply don't know how to do it and don't know where to start. In looking at your own spiritual life, you might have questions about what any of this means! You might have never explored your own spiritual side. Or you might be going through a tough time and have begun to have doubts in your own faith life. A good spiritual director can accompany you through all of these instances and more.

How often would I meet with a Spiritual Director?

It depends. Some folks have a regular monthly meeting with their director. Others are in a different stage and might meet more often. Some might meet a director once and then not meet again for some time. You can meet once a week, once a month, once a quarter, or whatever works for you and your director. Typically, an hour session, each month, at a mutually convenient location (or in online settings) where privacy can be assured is the norm. It is customary to offer a small stipend or donation for each meeting in appreciation for your companion's time (Standard rates vary but are roughly $35/hour on a sliding scale. Some directors wave their fee as part of their job requirements and others depend on their stipend as it is a major source of income for them or their religious community).  

More questions about Spiritual Direction?

Feel free to reach out to Director of Young Adult Ministry, Mike Hayes with any questions and he will be happy to have a conversation with you and help you get matched up with a director with whom you would be comfortable.

Find a Spiritual Director

Below find a group of spiritual directors in the NE Ohio area that have been personally recommended to the Diocese that have a gift of working with Young Adults in spiritual direction settings.

JOAN CARNEY. I am available to serve on the East or West side of Cleveland I am a married mom of six adult children, part-time instructor in the Theology and Religious Studies department at John Carroll University and spiritual director/retreat leader. I really enjoy working with young adults. I consider it a privilege to accompany individuals as they explore the "big questions" of life with God.

LARRY CUY. Areas willing to serve: Akron/South, West side, Cleveland, East side Retired with 38 years in public service and responsible for financial management, information technology, risk management and strategic planning. Member of Assumption Church, Broadview Heights and an Oblate of St. Benedict, St. Andrew Abbey. Certified by JCU Ignatian Spirituality Institute; BA Economics and MBA (CWRU); taught and presented at various area colleges. Married with 2 daughters.

DEBBIE DACONE. Debbie has enjoyed helping others identify the presence of God in their lives for a long time. She especially enjoys ministering with women. Among other credentials, she is certified in The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Utilizing art, music, poetry and nature as she guides others, she sums up her perspective on the spiritual life with a line from a Paul Simon song: "These are the days of miracle and wonder..." Areas you are willing to serve: primarily in the Brecksville/Broadview Heights area....then West side Cleveland ... would also consider Akron way .... and South East (Macedonia, Hudson, Northfield etc.).

SR. M. JOSEPHE FERNANDEZ, SND. I consider myself so blessed—the opportunities and gifts I have been given over the years are countless—from the time I was a child, right up to the present moment. God’s grace is abundant and as a spiritual director I feel it a privilege to share what I have received. As a Sister of Notre Dame, I have spent many years in education as teacher, coach and guidance counselor, as well as a number of years in service positions in our community —all of which have deepened and stretched me and given me innumerable opportunities for growth and to assist others in their growth as well. I have found that the training I received as a spiritual director has continued to provide me opportunities for my own personal growth and to assist others in their growth and in deepening their relationship with God as well. Areas I am willing to serve: Greater Cleveland Area.

PAULA FITZGERALD. Paula is a retreat leader and spiritual director with more than 20 years experience ministering to young adults - as a campus minister at John Carroll University, and as a program director with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and Jesuit Retreat House. She is married and the mother of two teenage daughters.

MIKE HAYES. Mike is the Director of Young Adult Ministry and has been doing spiritual direction with Young Adults for the last 10 years.  He is particularly interested in young adults who seek direction in finding meaningful work and want to journey to find where God is leading them.  He is Ignatian trained in the Spiritual Exercises and has led people through the 19th Annontation.  Mike prefers to meet people in virtual settings but is also willing to meet people in person.  Location:  West Side and Downtown Cleveland.  Or anyone in virtual settings (zoom, facetime or Teams).

SR. KATE HINE, SND. Sr. Kate has been engaged in spiritual direction with young adults since 2002. She brings to this ministry her own experience of prayer, retreats, and of being directed by wonderful spiritual directors. She has a background in education and counseling as well as spiritual direction. Sister believes that we can find God in the “stuff” of our everyday lives, and that reflecting on our experiences with a trusted spiritual companion will help us to recognize God’s loving invitations so that we can respond with inner freedom and peace. Location: Cleveland area. Availability of days and times varies. Sr. Kate is willing to use SKYPE for meetings.

RICH JERDONEK. Rich Jerdonek guides retreats in daily life, student retreats on college campuses, ongoing direction, and group retreats. He is a graduate of the Ignatian Spirituality Institute (ISI) at John Carroll and serves at St. Ignatius High School, ISI, and the Jesuit Retreat House in their spirituality programs. Rich earned his MBA from Stanford and MS and BS from Case Western Reserve Universities. Rich and his wife Julie also volunteer to help those in need. They have three sons and six grandchildren and are parishioners at St. Basil’s in Brecksville. Areas I am willing to serve: Cleveland, southern Cuyahoga County, and northern Summit County. 

AMY MCKENNA. I am a spiritual director, wife and mother of four adult sons. I have been privileged to meet with people from college aged through more seasoned adults. I see spiritual direction as a time to get to know yourself, God and how your faith impacts your life. Areas I am willing to serve: East or West side of Cleveland.

JOHN B. SCARANO. John is married to Christine, and they have three children: Erica, Matthew and Sarah. In August 2003, he began his tenure as the Director of Campus Ministry at John Carroll University. Prior to coming to Cleveland, John served as the Director of the Newman Catholic Student Center at Southern Illinois University, in Carbondale, IL, and as the Diocesan Director of Campus Ministry for the Diocese of Belleville, IL. He was also the Director of the Catholic Student Center for the University of Miami, in Florida and Director of Campus Ministry and adjunct instructor of Old Testament at Ursuline College. He is a certified Ignatian Spiritual Director and has a Master’s degree in Theology from the University of Notre Dame with a concentration in Scripture. He has been a full time, lay minister in the Catholic Church since 1981. Areas I am willing to serve: East side Cleveland and Geauga County.

MARY ANN SPANGLER, HM. Sister Mary Ann Spangler, a Sister of the Humility of Mary, brings many years of educational, parish, and retreat/spiritual direction experience. She has a master’s degree in educational administration from Kent State University.  She received a certificate for Spiritual Direction from the Ignatian Spirituality Institute at John Carroll University in 2007.  Sr. Mary Ann is presently full-time Spiritual Companion to adults and young adults on college campuses and beyond as well as facilitating retreats at the Jesuit Retreat Center in Parma, Ohio and on staff at Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center at Villa Maria, PA for the Spiritual Direction Formation Program.

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