Spiritual Directors International - Our History

Who We Are

SDI is an educational nonprofit, serving over 6,000 members in 42 countries around the world, committed to supporting and growing access to spiritual companionship and the deep listening, open questions and compassion our healing modality offers.

Mission/Vision Statement

Cultivating the Practices of Deep Listening and Spiritual Presence Across All Faith Traditions and Spiritual Orientations.


SDI is an inclusive, global learning community that serves and supports the ministry and service of spiritual direction. As a multi-faith organization, we share a common concern, passion, and commitment to the ministry and service of spiritual companionship.

From a small gathering of spiritual directors at Mercy Center in Burlingame, California, USA, in 1989, the community has grown to include more than six thousand members on six continents who represent more than fifty spiritual traditions.

Founding Coordinating Council of Spiritual Directors International (Left to Right) Janet Ruffing, RSM (Yale University); Gerald May, MD (Shalem Institute); Lucy Abbott-Tucker (Institute for Spiritual Leadership); Donald Schell (All Saints Company); Mary Ann Scofield, RSM (Mercy Center)

Founding Story

Listen to Sister Mary Ann Scofield, RSM, share the story of how Spiritual Directors International was founded in 1990.

A Brief History of SDI

SDI member Carol Ludwig documents the history in the two-part series “Brief History of SDI,” which was published in Prese​nce journal in 2002.


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