The lovely Tara at Anam Cara has interviewed me about spiritual direction. Here is an excerpt:
Introduce yourself to the Anam Cara readers. Who are you? Where do you live? What do you do other than spiritual direction?
I am Christine Valters Paintner and I live in Seattle, WA with my husband and my canine companion (who is one of my primary spiritual directors) in the heart of the city. I am a Benedictine oblate which means I have made a commitment to living as a monk in the world outside the monastery walls. I am also the online Abbess of Abbey of the Arts, a virtual monastery offering resources, retreats, and online classes in contemplative practice and creative expression. So my main work other than spiritual direction is as a teacher and a writer of several books on monastic wisdom.
What brought you to the ministry of spiritual direction?
Like many folks, I found that there were people starting to come to me for guidance in the spiritual life. This first started happening in my mid-twenties when I was working as a campus minister at a Catholic high school. From there I went onto graduate school to earn my PhD in Christian spirituality. Despite the academic focus of my life, I also continued to feel drawn to being in relationship with people in ministry and so began moving into retreat and spiritual direction work. It was really these kinds of relationships that ultimately helped me to decide not to pursue the academic path after graduating. I wanted to keep being involved with people in this intimate and holy way.