Our Story SPIRITUAL RESOURCES FOR INDIVIDUALS AND PARISHES
Our Ideals Regardless of the obstacles before us, we must do everything in our power, with the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to create environments conducive to Encounters with Christ for our lay faithful.
Our Story The Institute for Spiritual Direction, located in DeWitt Michigan was founded in 2016 by Rev. David Rosenberg. His vision, inspired by Ephesians 4:15 reads, “Grow to become in every respect mature disciples, united with the mystical body of Christ who is the head.”
Through a well-rounded curriculum of Spiritual Theology and Lectio Divina, our students are invited to sit at the School of the Feet of Jesus, where they are nurtured through Holy Spirit inspired ministry. Completing their course work and peer reviewed practicums, graduate spiritual directors are sent out to their parishes as leaders in pastoral ministry to facilitate Small Christian Discipleship Groups and take on individual directees that, in turn, are called by Christ to grow into the fullness of spiritual maturity. What Is Spiritual Direction? Help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to attune to God’s plan for him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consolations of that relationship. Echoing this thought, it is good to keep in mind that the real director in the spiritual direction relationship is the Holy Spirit. Given this, the primary relationship is between the Holy Spirit and the directee, the secondary relationship between the director and directee.
What is Lectio Divina? Lectio Divina, Latin for “Sacred Reading” is the practice of listening attentively to the Word of God through Sacred Scripture; reflecting on the Word, the voice of God’s whisper, for inspiration; praising God for the gift received; experiencing wonder and awe as one rests within the Sacred Heart of Jesus in contemplation; then, refreshed, going out into the world to proclaim the Good News. Fr. David publishes weekly a reflection on the upcoming Sunday Gospel to help facilitate individuals in this process. (to sign up for Fr. David’s Weekly Reflection, click here: Weekly Reflections)
We value the universal call to holiness through the Holy Spirit to inspire, invite and accompany the Christian on their journey toward spiritual growth and maturity.
(“Therefore, I urge you, be imitators of me.” 1 Corinthians 4:16)
We value Lectio Divina as a way to encounter Jesus Christ and his Sacred Heart.
(“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training righteousness”, 2 Timothy 3:16)
We value Christian spirituality as rooted in the Roman Catholic Magisterium and informed by the historical wisdom of the saints.
(“The Church, a communion living in the faith of the apostles which she transmits, is the place where we know the Holy Spirit...in the witness of saints through whom he manifests his holiness and continues the work of salvation”. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 688)
We value hospitality through a nurturing and welcoming environment.
(“Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another”. 1 Peter 4:8-9)
We value the ecumenical nature of our community where all are welcome.
(“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28)
We value integrity and professionalism through fostering ongoing human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation. (Observe the person of integrity and mark the upright; because there is a future for a person of peace. Psalm 37:37)
Council of Ministries The ISD Council of Ministries was formed in 2020 as working groups of alumni that guide and coordinate all phases of the Institute for Spiritual Direction within the fundamental Ideals of the Institute.
Academics Commission In recognition of the universal call to holiness and in recognition of a great need to develop and equip God’s people in their discernment of a possible call to spiritual directorship.
Since its founding in 2016, the institute has graduated more than 60 Spiritual Directors from five cohorts, with a sixth cohort scheduled to complete their studies in December, 2022. These Spiritual Directors serve 21 counties across Michigan. Systematic Spiritual Theology Coursework: The core of our courses offer students a well-rounded education in spiritual theology
Christian Spiritual Tradition
Pastoral Counseling for Spiritual Directors
Systematic Spiritual Direction
Systematic Theology Coursework: In addition to spiritual theology systematics, the institute currently offers three classes in religious theology systematics
Introduction to the Old Testament
Introduction to the New Testament
All classes are taught in a 12-week semester format, in the Fall and in the Winter, with a summer hiatus. “Next to ordination, my completion of the ISD program means more to me than any of my academic degrees.” Deacon Rick Freedberg, PhD, Chair of the Academics Commission
ISD Retreat Commission In addition to a strong academic foundation, the institute hosts a number of retreats throughout the year. ISD retreat offerings are typically one to three days in length, with an annual eight day silent retreat. The retreats are available state-wide to high school age, college age, and parish men and women of all ages. We also host retreats for individual parishes where the ISD Retreat Team works with parish leadership to craft a retreat suited to their particular situation and needs. The core of the retreats are based on a number of topics:
Ignatian Spirituality: You Can’t Win the War if You Can’t See Your Enemy
Benedictine Spirituality: Coworkers in God’s Vineyard, His Great Opus
The Divine Liturgy: The Source, Summit and Fountain of our Life
Praying With the Heart of the Church: Lectionary-Based Lectio Divina
Entering The Heart Of God: Praying The Lord’s Prayer In Our Day
River Of Life: Celebrating Our Baptism
Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Celebrating Our Chrismation
Inspire and Light a Fire: Bringing Beauty, Goodness, and Truth into Our World
The Retreat Commission is chartered to ensure sustainable and well attended retreats that are spirit led and run seamlessly for both the retreat team and the attendees. Their tasks include:
The creation, design and review of content for ISD retreats.
Review of promotional distribution procedures for inviting attendees.
Continual implementation of effective “train the team” training sessions that build strong retreat teams.
Publish annually a catalog of retreat offerings.
Review, update and publish checklists and training materials to execute seamless retreats.
What retreatants have to say about our retreats:
“Awesome Retreat! Moving from desolation to consolation, knowing that both will make an appearance throughout my life. Desolation is temporary. Stay the course to Consolation!”
“Fantastic! Very helpful and refreshing!”
“I came not knowing what to expect. But this retreat was very helpful for finding peace and learning to pray in a quiet and serene atmosphere. The retreat team was most hospitable!”
ISD Local Parish Ministry Commission
When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest field.” Matt 9:36-38
Over time, ISD has challenged its alumni to expand their ministry beyond one-on-one spiritual direction. To build and encourage sustainability of the local parish leadership, spiritual directors are also called to be an integral part of the pastoral team. This is manifested most effectively when the directors act as facilitators of such offerings as parish missions, multi-week lecture series, etc. selecting from the topics described in the Retreat Commission section. This technique becomes a natural conduit to the development of Small Christian Discipleship Groups. This is the “vineyard” Christ spoke of where “the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.”
The Local Parish Ministry Commission is therefore chartered to help establish local parish ministries that encourage spiritual growth and maturity. This plan includes:
Promoting individual spiritual direction, facilitation of parish based missions and multi-week programs, and developing sustainable Small Christian Discipleship Groups.
Continuous Education Methodologies that empower the spiritual director in leadership roles at their local parish.
Collaborating with adult ministry and evangelization directors to help realize their goals.
Gathering input from parish priests and pastoral leaders on how the ISD can best serve their parish on their journey toward spiritual growth and maturity.
ISD Communications Commission “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. ”Colossians 4:6
The glue that brings all of the components together for ISD is a dynamic communication plan. This commission is charged with the following:
To regularly review and update ISD promotional materials. This includes an ISD poster series and bulletin inserts of mission, vision, and value statements, useful printed ISD cards and resources, and FAQ handouts.
To roll out the ISD communications plan that includes informational materials that allow ISD to get the word out about community events and opportunities, through social media such as Facebook, Instagram and the website.
To support the ongoing creation of in-depth materials such as the Newsletter, the ISD presentation library and pamphlets for those seeking a deeper understanding of spiritual direction.
ISD Alumni Development and Sustainability Commission
Recognizing as Spiritual Directors that the journey toward spiritual growth and maturity is a lifelong endeavor, a strong graduate community of peers has been nurtured and promoted on an ongoing basis to explore the questions, issues and personal growth challenges that accompany the work of good spiritual direction.
ISD enjoys well-attended and regularly scheduled Alumni Journey Group meetings for spiritual and professional development and peer support.
ISD works to create an atmosphere of celebration from the welcoming of new cohorts through graduation that encourages on-going participation by developing joyful events.
This commission is further chartered to explore and plan opportunities for the ISD Community with reunions such as: annual retreats, Mass with potlucks, and parish-hosted meetings that promote the ISD.
The ISD as an Association of the Faithful
In the Catholic Church, an “association of the Christian faithful” or simply “association of the faithful” is “a group of baptized persons, clerics or laity or both together” who, according to the 1983 Code of Canon Law, jointly foster a more perfect life or promote public worship or Christian teaching, or who devote themselves to other works of the apostolate.
As one of the November 2021 key findings and recommendations of the Diocese of Lansing Realign Resources for Mission Committee, the following was a recommendation on how they “...might realign resources for mission of lay apostolates in the Diocese of Lansing.”
The diocese is to establish a liaison team between the diocese and local and national lay apostolates.
The diocese will create a comprehensive list of all the lay apostolates, non-profits, and extra-parish ministries.
The diocese will strategically reach out to the list to solicit their support and ideas for mission. The liaison team would then create a list of potential collaborations that could be evaluated by the implementation committee.
Given this objective by the diocese, the ISD Alumni Development and Sustainability Commission is chartered with the task of joining the liaison team of “lay apostolates, non-profits, and extra-parish ministries.” This will help ISD more closely align its strategies and resources with the diocesan mission, offering input and support.
ISD Finance Commission The apostle Paul said, "God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Cor 9:7
While encouraging the believers in Corinth to give generously, Paul didn't want them to give beyond their means, "reluctantly or under compulsion." Most importantly, he wanted them to rely on their inner convictions. Following St Paul’s example and in order to remain good stewards of God’s resources, ISD Finance Commission is chartered to assist all commissions in offering a nurturing and welcoming environment through hospitality so as to maintain high-quality offerings. The Finance Commission:
Prepares annually a pro forma budget with income-producing goals through tuition, sale of books and collateral materials and fundraising.
Prepares annually a review of past income and expenses and future goals in order to create a budget, both operational and aspirational, to be presented for the review and ratification at the ISD Council of Ministries Meeting.
Upon completion of the budget, launch the ISD Annual Alumni and Friends Pledge Campaign to meet the operational budget.
Create a donor "wish list" to fulfill the aspirational portion of the budget.
“As a contributor I am confident and grateful to support the wonderful mission of the ISD.” Tim Fedewa
Epilogue ISD Alumni and students live these words as our prayer and anthem: "'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent?" -Romans 10: 13-15
God, our Father, we pray that through the Holy Spirit we might hear the call to be your disciple, to deepen our faith, grow in confidence to proclaim the Gospel and boldly witness to the saving grace of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. AMEN!