My spiritual director, the Merton scholar Fr. William Shannon, said this to me during one of our meetings—after I’d been seeing him for about a year. That was in 1986. He died last spring, at the age of ninety-four. Since then I’ve been slowly reading through the journal entries that I wrote after every one of our quarter century of monthly meetings.
It’s my way of keeping him with me, of continuing to benefit from his guidance.
Bill (as he was soon inviting me to call him) wasn’t trained as a spiritual director. He was a theologian on the faculty of Nazareth College in Rochester, NY, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph. When he retired, he became the Sisters’ chaplain, living in their Motherhouse.
It was then that people started coming to him for spiritual direction. Word got around that he had gifts of compassion and insight. I was a new Catholic, baptized in my late thirties, in 1983, and I knew I needed wise guidance in my fledgling spiritual life. I asked a mutual friend to fix us up… and that’s how I met the person who has formed my life more than anyone except my husband. [Read more...]