Traveling the Path: Getting to Know S. Maureen Heverin
Q. In your words, what is spiritual direction?
A. Spiritual direction is an opportunity to process what’s happening between you and God.
Q. Can you say what spiritual direction is not?
A. Spiritual direction is not psychological counseling. It’s not life coaching. Now, life comes into it, so maybe in some senses it becomes coaching, but that’s not what you’re going for. It’s not the place where you go for therapeutic care. It’s about you and God, and where God is in your life.
Q. What compelled you to want to minister as a spiritual director? How long have you been doing so?
A. I’ve been doing this 27 years, so it’s been a long time. I think what drew me to it is that I love to listen to people’s stories. The story of the faith journey is very important to me, so spiritual direction was a great opportunity to share time with people who are really serious about the journey. It’s been a wonderful, wonderful time to companion, or to be with, people who are on the journey.
Q. What do you want to know when a person begins meeting with you? What is helpful?
A. What I like to know is something about who they are, their story. What’s going on in their life? The spiritual journey isn’t just about what’s happening with you and God directly in your prayer, but what’s happening with your other relationships in life? What’s happening with your everyday experiences in life? What’s going on at work? What’s going on in the family? It’s so much more than just sitting down quietly and talking to God.
Also, how do people pray? That’s something that I want to know. How do you connect with God? When do you connect with God? Where do you connect with God? Because I think that’s important, too: time and space and opportunity. All those things play into the relationship. I see our relationship with God as just that, a relationship. Just like in a family, like your relationship between siblings or with your mom and dad. Or friends. It’s something that needs to be tended just like your other relationships do, and so I want to know, how are they tending to that relationship in their life?
Q. How often would a person come to see you?
A. It varies. Normally, it’s every four to six or eight weeks. That seems to be the pattern for most people. Once in a while, somebody will call up and say, “I know we’re not meeting for a month, but I need to see you now.” And that’s usually when they’re discerning some decision, or something in a crisis nature has happened. So we adapt. Sometimes somebody says, “I’ll stop by in a year.” It could be that long, especially if they live far away. My newest venture has been doing direction via Skype. I’ve done telephone before, but Skyping is new for me.
Q. What is most satisfying to you in this profession?
A. Probably the most satisfying thing is being with a companion on the journey for a length of time and seeing the deepening and deepening of the relationship with God. That’s very satisfying.