Post-Master's Certificate in Spiritual Formation

An in-depth, intensive program of study to enhance one’s ability to mentor the spiritual lives of individuals and Christian faith communities.

Take the next step in your ministerial career and strengthen your ability to transform the spiritual lives of individuals and Christian faith communities. Three themes—prayer and discernment, the art of spiritual direction, and working within faith communities—highlight the program. This advanced certificate is offered only in the summers and is completed over three summers. The program includes discussions with faculty, who are established professionals, and hands-on, small-group work. Prerequisites include a master’s degree in theology and full-time experience in ministry.

Certificate Features

An introduction to the fundamentals of spiritual direction practice

An opportunity to fine-tune retreat skills

Convenient summer study – two weeks for three consecutive summers

Opportunity to participate in vibrant daily liturgy

Economical on-campus housing

Curriculum

Unit A: Ways of Prayer & Discernment
 

Morning Session Themes

Historical developments in prayer, teaching forms of Christian prayer, comparative approaches to prayer,the significance of place and body in prayer, the art of discernment, and tools and resources in discernment

 

Afternoon Session 

Interactive spiritual direction exercises, verbatims, role plays, and peer review of prayer rituals

Unit B: The Art of Spiritual Direction
 

Morning Session Themes

Historical roots of spiritual guidance, contemporary understandings of spiritual guidance, developmental considerationsfor spiritual guides, ethical considerations in spiritual direction work, contemplative listening, and particular issues in spiritual direction
 

Afternoon Session

Interactive spiritual direction exercises, verbatims, role plays, and peer review of retreat presentations

Unit C: Fostering Creativity & Communal Spiritual Formation

Morning Session Themes

Creative approaches to ritual, creative approaches to dreams in spirituality work, creative writing as a spiritual resource,multiple intelligences and diverse ways of knowing in spiritual formation work, extended senses of community,spirituality and one’s work community, group discernment, group spiritual direction, and spiritual issues arising in community

Afternoon Session

Interactive spiritual direction exercises, verbatims, role plays, and peer review of scriptural reflection

At the end of years one and two, assignments are given to be completed in preparation for the next year’s session (i.e., reading, verbatim, prayer ritual, retreat presentation, and/or scriptural reflection). The order in which Units A, B, and C are offered will not necessarily coincide with year I, II, and III of participation in the program. Students will begin with the unit being offered that year (Unit A for 2024). Completion of all three units is required to earn the certificate.

 

Crista Mahoney
The past three years in the Post-Master's Certificate program has not only given me the practical skills and experience to make spiritual direction part of my everyday ministry, but it has reinforced the importance of my own continued prayer, discernment, and learning as a professional minister. Each summer has been an oasis, a chance to gather with colleagues and engage in what feels like a two-week retreat.
Crista Carrick Mahoney, Certificate Alumna

Apply

Application Requirements

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Lay and ordained persons experienced in ministry with a master’s degree in a theological discipline are invited to apply. This program cultivates skills that are helpful for a wide range of ministerial positions, and can be applied in a variety of settings.

Priority Deadline: April 15, 2024

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis after this date if space remains.

 

Application Form

The application to STM must be completed online.

Application Form

Application Fee

A non-refundable fee of $75 is required for every degree and non-degree application submitted.

Payment Options

  • Pay by credit or debit card via the web; You can pay the application fee at the same time your submit your application form.  However, if you do not pay the fee at the same time you submit your application, you can pay online at a later date through the Agora Portal. You must use your BC Username and password to log in.

  • Pay by check or money order made payable to Boston College, via regular mail.  Please include your check with a copy of your application form submission confirmation page and include your name and intended degree program.


Please note: The application fee cannot be refunded for any reason. If you qualify for a fee waiver, you should not pay the fee when you submit the application form. Fee waivers are granted to the following applicants: Jesuits, veterans, applicants currently completing a year of service or who are Pell Grant-eligible, and current STM students. We do not waive the application fee for other reasons.

Personal Statement

The personal statement must be uploaded as part of the application.  The personal statement should be two to three pages in length, double-spaced.

Your statement should address the following:

  • What leads you to apply to this program at this time?
  • How do you hope this program will contribute to your growth as a minister?
  • What do you understand by the term "spirituality"?
  • How do you describe "spiritual direction"? 

Transcripts

We require transcripts from all colleges, universities, seminaries, or theological schools that you have attended. Each transcript should contain a list of all coursework taken, grades/marks received, and, if applicable, degree granted and date of degree confirmation. If your college or university will send official transcripts electronically, they can be emailed to stmadm@bc.edu.  Otherwise, transcripts must be mailed and be contained in a sealed, signed envelope. If the official transcript is not English, a translation should be provided with the official document. Please alert us if your transcript will be arriving with a different name than the one you are using on your application (e.g. your maiden name). Please note that a transcript is only considered official if received directly from the institution issuing it.

Please note that your application may be reviewed with unofficial copies of your transcripts. If you send unofficial copies, know that if admitted, you must sent official copies before you begin coursework. If you are currently finishing your theological master's, you must send a final, official version of your transcript upon graduating, and before beginning the Post-Master's Certificate. If you have questions, please reach out to us.

Mailing Addresses
For applicants using the U.S. Postal Service:
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Simboli Hall
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

For applicants using FedEx or UPS:
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Simboli Hall
9 Lake Street
Brighton, MA 02135-3841

Recommendations

Applicants to the Post-Master's Certificate are equired to submit one recommendation using the online application system. 

The recommender should be familiar with the applicant’s suitability for advanced training in spiritual formation work.

Applicants who are Catholic diocesan priests or deacons, or members of religious orders must submit a letter of approval and financial support from their bishop, major superior, or Provincial. This is in addition to the other recommendation. Please select "Bishop/Major Superior" as the recommender type on the application form.

Please be sure that your recommenders are aware of the application deadlines and online process, and choose them carefully to ensure that they can write on your behalf in a timely manner.

Résumé

The resume must be uploaded as part of the application.  It is helpful if you highlight relevant ministry, service, and leadership positions you have held.

Religious & International Applicants

Religious Applicants

Applicants who are Catholic diocesan priests or deacons or members of religious orders must submit a letter of approval and financial support from their bishop, major superior, or Provincial. Please select "Bishop/Major Superior" as the recommender type on the application form.

International Applicants

This experience has given me a language for and a capacity to recognize the movements and realities of the human spirit; something not always sought nor honored in our world. The coursework in the art of spiritual direction particularly, has deepened my appreciation for this ancient Christian practice of accompanying others who seek to find meaning in the vastness of a loving, kind yet mysterious Creator who unfolds in all of our lives. I am more capable of honoring that and assisting that growth in all persons.
Joseph Lagan, Certificate Alumnus