Beginning with students’ spiritual autobiographies, the unit develops an understanding of the nature of religious experience through appreciation and interpretation of their own experience, which includes reflection on images of God and Jesus, both historical and personal.

The unit examines the contemplative foundations of spiritual direction through an examination of, and reflection on, Biblical, Patristic, Medieval, Reformation and Mystical spirituality and for contrast, the spirituality immanent in East Asian and other religious traditions.

The unit also specifies and explores the varieties of religious experience as well as the effect mindfulness and meditation have on human and religious experience and considers Grace and Conversion and the crucial role these play within the Christian spiritual tradition.

Unit code: DD8711Y

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Spiritual Direction

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate a critical understanding of the Biblical, theological and spiritual underpinnings of the ministry of spiritual direction


Discern and describe the varieties of religious experience they encounter in their ministry as spiritual directors


Understand and explain the role mindfulness and meditation play in religious experience and spiritual direction


Identify and explore the movement of grace in their personal experience and the experience of those to whom they minister


Develop a theology of grace on the basis of their experience and be able to elucidate this learning


Lectures, tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

Readings for Religious Experience

  • Barry, William A. Spiritual Direction and the Encounter with God: A Theological Enquiry. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1982.
  • Coutinho, Paul. How Big is your God? The Freedom to Experience the Divine. Chicago, IL: Loyola, 2007.
  • de Mello, Anthony. Sadhana: A Way to God Christian Exercises in Eastern Form. East Melbourne: HarperCollinsReligious, 1998.
  • Edwards, Denis. Human Experience of God. Romsey, NJ: Paulist, 1983.
  • ———. Jesus, the Wisdom of God. Strathfield: St Pauls, 1985.
  • Eliade, M. The Sacred and the Profane. New York: Harcourt, 1957.
  • Lane, D. The Experience of God. New York: Paulist Press, 1981.
  • Navone J, ‘Write a Gospel,’ Review for Religious. Vol. 38, No. 5 (September 1979): 668-673.
  • Pearson, C. Awakening the Heroes Within: Twelve Archetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform Our World. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991.
  • Stewart, C. The World of the Desert Fathers. Oxford: SLG Press, 1991.

Readings for Grace and Conversion

  • Alphonso, Herbert. The Personal Vocation. Rome: Centrum Ignatatianum, 2002.
  • Conn, Walter, ed. Christian Conversion. New York: Alba House, 1986.
  • Louf, Andre. Grace Can Do More: Spiritual Accompaniment and Spiritual Growth. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian, 2002.
  • Liebert, Elizabeth. The Way of Discernment. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2008.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

3000 word essay on Religious Experience

3000 50.0

1500 word reflective essay on the experience of Conversion

1500 25.0

1500 word reflective essay paper on personal Grace

1500 25.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 19 Oct, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2019-05-03 09:55:39 +1000