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News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool



Cath Pic Jubilee Issue-1
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by Sr Moira Meeghan SSMN


Walking the journey of life with people is the privilege of those whose ministry is spiritual direction, more often referred to these days as spiritual accompaniment.


Accompaniment in its many forms is a familiar term that was highlighted during our diocesan Synod, though the role of the spiritual director or accompanier is not new.


We read in scripture of Moses giving guidance to the Israelites, Eli helping Samuel, and Paul acting as spiritual guide to the first Christian communities.


The early Christian ascetics, known as the Desert Mothers and Fathers, offered guidance to those who sought it. Over time, as the first monastic communities emerged, people would approach the monks and nuns for help in seeking God in their lives.


We also hear of saints down the ages having spiritual guides. In the early Celtic tradition, Brigid of Ireland, Patrick and other Irish saints stressed the need for an ‘Anam Cara’, a soul friend.


In an article on her spirituality website, Anne Solomon writes: “Your Anam Cara was the truest mirror to reflect the contours of your soul to you, a creative and critical friendship rooted in love that was prepared to negotiate the world of your inner contradictions and woundedness to bring you closer to God.” For me, this is a great way to explain the role of spiritual companion.


I have been privileged over the past few years to work with the Anglican Diocese of Liverpool in offering spiritual accompaniment to those who request it. At present, they have 74 directors on their list. The diocese offers a course based on the Sheffield Spiritual Direction Programme.


This course is open to anyone (lay or ordained) who finds that God is leading them to walk alongside others on the spiritual journey and who would like to develop their ability and mature in their understanding of this ministry.


The intention is to enable participants to grow in inner awareness and insight and to develop their other gifts and strengths appropriate to the ministry of listening to others, both in the broad sense and more specifically in the context of spiritual accompaniment. I followed this training course in 2016. It enabled me to practise using my skills of listening and reflecting.


We also explored the many different ways of praying, such as Lectio Divina from the Benedictine tradition, imaginative contemplation from the Ignatian tradition, and creative ways of praying through art (even ‘doodling’ as prayer).


The leaders of the course offered by the Anglican Diocese are from a variety of Christian traditions. They welcome people of many different backgrounds who want to develop their accompaniment skills.


As a team, we are striving to work ever closer with Christians of all denominations, and indeed different faith backgrounds, recognising God working through all of us. Over the years, I have realised how important it is for me to be able to share my own journey of faith and life, to have someone who will listen to the questions arising within me and enable me either to find answers or to live through the questions.


As the poet Rainer Maria Rilke put it so well: “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Walking the journey

Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer

Sr Moira at the 2022 Josephine Butler Awards when she was named Woman of the Year.JPG
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