SDI Overview

The Spiritual Direction Institute (SDI) was established in Virginia by the late Monsignor Chester Michael, or “Father Chet,” in 1989. This two-year ecumenical adult formation program explores the wisdom of the spiritual masters throughout the centuries to train individuals in supporting others on their spiritual journeys.

We live in a time when most of us can talk easily about sex, somewhat less comfortably about death, and only with the greatest difficulty about our relationship with God.

~ Margaret Guenther, Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction

The first year of SDI is focused primarily on love of God and a healthy love of self. In the second year, there is an increased emphasis on love of neighbor and humanity. We are reminded, as Father Chet writes, that all of “our hearts are made for God and won’t rest until they rest in God.”

An Overview

  • A total of 16 once-a-month Saturday meetings and 4 weekend retreats.
    • The meetings include group discussion, lectures, connecting with a spiritual  partner, prayer, and student practicums to provide experience in giving and receiving spiritual direction.
  • The reading of  22 books, including 6 by Father Chet, and the writing of brief reflections on each of those books.
    • A book list with recommendations, as well as an extensive lending library, are provided.
  • Fees that include a $25 non-refundable registration, annual tuition to cover course costs, and lodging/expenses for each of the four retreats.
    • Scholarship funds may be available by contacting the board.

For further information, including when a new class is forming in your area, contact one of the area leaders:


Al Mirmelstein –
Bev Mirmelstein –


Scott Fisher –


Gary Bill –


Tom Hook –