The Saints of Spiritual Direction

Francis de Sales, Ignatius of Loyola, Columba Marmion- saints who led the way before canonization.

This short blog will take a brief look at multiple saints from over the centuries who offered spiritual direction either in person or in writing, many of whom accompanied future saints. With these examples, it is safe to say that good spiritual direction is a foundation for holy living.

St. Peter of Alcántara: Born in Alcántara , Spain during the 16th century. Franciscan friar and contemporary of John of Avila and St. Francis Borgia. Spiritual Director and confessor to St. Theresa of Avila whose writing provide much of the information known about him. More about St. Peter here and here.

St. Ignatius of Loyola: Not known as a spiritual director per se, but as author of the most well known system of discernment in the Catholic Church, the Spiritual Exercises. He was a Spanish Basque priest who had previously been a soldier. He is well known for his conversion and founding of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Catholic Encyclopedia entry here.

St. Francis de Sales: Spiritual director to St. Jane Frances de Chantal, author of numerous letters on spiritual direction and “Introduction to the Devout Life” and “Treatise on the Love of God”. Co-Founder of the Visitandines. This bishop of Geneva and Doctor of the Church is patron of many organizations and had a huge impact on those he helped guide.

St. Vincent de Paul: Great missionary of charity influenced by St. Francis de Sales. Vincent was the spiritual director to the Convent of St. Mary of the Angels (now a Protestant Church) and spiritual advisor to Queen Anne after the death of King Louis XIII.

Bl. Columba Marmion: Irish born Benedictine monk who wrote the spiritual classic “Christ: The Life of the Soul”. Well beloved retreat master, preacher and spiritual director, his writings breathed new life into spiritual practice during the 20th century.

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