History of SDI

Mission Statement

Throughout human history, individuals have been inspired to accompany others seeking meaning and Mystery, that many name God, or the ground of all being. SDI is a learning community that educates and supports this service around the world and across traditions.

Vision Statement

SDI believes spiritual companionship and deepening into the sacred transform individuals, society, and all creation.


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.