Discernment in Troubled Times: Ignatian Wisdom for Spiritual Directors and Companions

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How can we respond creatively in a world of dysfunction and suffering?

Discernment in Troubled Times

Ignatian Wisdom For Spiritual Directors and Companions

How can we respond creatively in a world
of dysfunction and suffering?


Nicholas Collura


May 24 & 31; June 7 & 14, 2022



6 hours (total)


Webinar will be recorded.

In the people we accompany, and in ourselves, we feel a rising sense of loss and powerlessness. How can we respond in the face of worldwide dysfunction and suffering?

The war in Ukraine, the surge of refugees worldwide, climate change, nations riven by internal distrust and fear. How can we listen so people may engage?

This SDI webinar series is designed to support spiritual directors and companions – indeed all spiritual caregivers —by applying the Ignatian tradition creatively to our desperate century, so that we may better accompany those who are discerning a path of service — or survival.

Please join us on this contemplative journey to grow in our calling.

“The entire life of Ignatius was a pilgrim search for the ‘magis’ [Latin: ‘the more’]: the ever-greater glory of God, the ever-fuller service of our neighbor, the more universal good… Mediocrity has no place in Ignatius’ worldview. Jesuits are never content with the status quo, the known, the tried, the already existing. We are constantly driven to discover, redefine, and reach out for the ‘magis.’… For us, frontiers and boundaries are not obstacles or ends, but new challenges to be faced, new opportunities to be welcomed.”

Concluding Document of the Jesuits’ 34th General Congregation

The spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, can stir great aspirations in dreamers, visionaries, and horizon-chasers of every age, especially those who long to serve a suffering world. Ignatian spirituality is one that embraces the entire world, discovering the divine in every human faith, culture, and activity. But how can we reconcile lofty hopes with our very real feelings of powerlessness and despair in the face of so many heart-breaking challenges in the contemporary history of our planet? 

Nearly twenty years ago, Jesuit educator, pastor, and theologian Dean Brackley wrote a book entitled The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times: New Perspectives on the Transformative Wisdom of Ignatius of Loyola. Brackley understood that the rich tradition of St. Ignatius and his followers is especially relevant when times are troubled: when our divine calling seems distant, opaque, unrealistic, or far too costly. This webinar series will follow in his footsteps, exploring the Ignatian tradition as an inspiration for spiritual accompaniment, contemplation and action.

Our 4-part series, designed for spiritual directors, companions and all spiritual caregivers, will serve as a good introduction to Ignatian spirituality for those who are new to it, but it will also make its insights as contemporary as possible for those who are seeking to apply it in new ways and in new contexts of accompaniment.

This webinar series will provide:

Session Outline

Session 1: Principles and Foundations

In this session, we will explore the relevance of St. Ignatius and his spirituality at our own turning point in world history; we will consider trauma-informed adaptations to the practice of spiritual companionship with those who are struggling with, or responding to, difficult world events; and we will discuss how our personal traps, limitations, and ego fixations can be put into dialogue with our desire for the greatest possible spirit of service.

Session 2: The Two Standards

Here we will discuss and experience together two of the basic components of Ignatian spiritual practice: imaginative prayer and the so-called “rules for discernment.” We will draw on the powers of the creative imagination as a response to the stark moral demands of our time. 

Session 3: What is the Cost?

In this session, as we consider the relationship between contemplation and action, we will examine some tricky scenarios in spiritual direction and discernment. The experience of helplessness and impasse, the call to self-sacrifice, the encounter with human evil — all are consequences of a life of service that can be viewed through an Ignatian lens.

Session 4: Contemplation to Attain Divine Love

In our concluding session, we will see what the Ignatian tradition can teach us about moral resilience, acceptance, and gratitude as we look at a fundamental concept in Ignatian spirituality: mission, the experience of being sent. We will conclude with a contemporary appraisal of the final meditation in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius: what he calls the “contemplation to attain divine love.”



Each session is recorded so you can watch at your convenience.


Nicholas Collura

is a board-certified healthcare chaplain and a visiting spiritual director and retreat director at St. Raphaela Center in Haverford, PA. He co-coordinates EcoPhilly, a faith-based organizing initiative dedicated to creation care in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. A former Jesuit, he has ministered at several colleges and universities, juvenile halls, and adult state prisons, and he is an instructor in the Narrative Enneagram tradition. His website is www.nicholascollura.com.

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