“My first real insight into the Ignatian Spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises was at Toowong Parish in Queensland” remembers Louise Wellington, the Jesuit Provincial’s Delegate for Pastoral Ministries.
Louise undertook a formation program called Ignis 1 with the Spirituality ministry and then she became a giver of that program. “After training, for Ignis 1, I was interested in the Spiritual Exercises, but I realised I couldn’t make that level of commitment at that time; to do them over 30 weeks in daily life” Louise says, “but I did speak with Peter Quin SJ, Parish Priest at Toowong during that time, and he invited me into spiritual direction with him.”
‘Spiritual direction is help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship.’ William A. Barry and William J. Connolly, The Practice of Spiritual Direction
Meeting with Peter on a regular basis was a fantastic experience” exclaims Louise, “he’d send me away with things to do each week, it was an opportunity to go deeper in my connectedness to the scriptures.”
“Spiritual Direction was my first experience at establishing a deep connection with my experience of God and Jesus, it created a shift in my understanding of prayer and my understanding and experience of prayer life” reflects Louise “I shifted from devotional style of prayer to a more reflective style.”
Spiritual Direction… enriched my relationship with God, I realised that my experience mattered, and my being mattered …I could be more available to be of service to others.
“The main thing that spiritual direction gave me was a connection to my own lived deep experience of my life. It enriched my relationship with God, I realised that my experience mattered, and my being mattered. I not only had a deeper understanding but a deeper acceptance of myself, so I could be more available to be of service to others. It was a profound experience.”
One of the most powerful graces of Spiritual Direction for Louise was to realise that her understanding of her faith is not the same as anyone else’s “Everyone has an individual experience, and you cannot possibly know how other people are experiencing life, that realisation had the most profoundly impact on me, it was the biggest revelation” say Louise “I’m now more conscious that my world view is not the same as anyone else’s and I need to be much more patient in understanding others.”