In launching its new Graduate Certificate in Leadership, Spirituality and Organisational Practice, Sentir is bringing together some of the best knowledge from around the world linking Ignatian spirituality to people’s working lives.
The Dean of Sentir, Fr Michael Smith SJ, says the course is unique in bringing together the tools of organisational development and the Spiritual Exercises.
‘As new moral imperatives arise – the preferential option for the poor, the plight of refugees and asylum seekers, the ethical use of science and technology, the fair use of the earth’s resources – a comparable growth of insight in theory and praxis is needed to infuse our understanding of spirituality to meet these challenges’, he says.
Fr Smith has helped develop the course in conjunction with Bernadette Miles, drawing on the work of the late Fr George Schemel SJ and Sr Judith Roemer, who developed the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises for the Corporate Person (ISECP) when they were at the University of Scranton.
‘Our new three-unit Graduate Certificate in Leadership, Spirituality and Organisational Practice intentionally focuses on the spirituality of organisations (parishes, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, businesses, social service agencies, collaborative ministry teams and so on) and integrates spirituality, leadership and organizational transformation.’
Fr Smith says that Ignatius had the image of God as Deus Operarius – ‘God the Worker’. This course looks at how, as individuals and as organisations, we are called to cooperate in God's project.
‘In this course students will be formed in prayer and processes, structures and skills, attitudes and awareness, of organisations’, he says.
‘Students will become skilled at creating processes that are facilitating to the groups they serve. Students will be taught about how groups are formed and develop through stages. Students will learn how individuals bond to groups, and groups to the universal Church in order to be the leaven in our broader society.’
An integral component of the course will be weekly role consultation and spiritual direction.
The Sentir Graduate College of Spiritual Formation is one of the ten colleges within the University of Divinity. It teaches courses through the Campion Centre of Ignatian Spirituality in Melbourne and the Faber Centre of Ignatian Spirituality in Brisbane. The centre also has an ecumenical connection with WellSpring Spirituality Centre in Ashburton.
As well as its strong basis in Ignatian spirituality, one of the things that makes Sentir unique is its teaching style.
‘We aim to integrate serious academic study, personal spiritual formation and supervised praxis’, says Fr Smith.
‘This integration, while challenging, is popular with our students because it helps them enter deeply into their personal spiritual formation, offers them a broad and deep cognitive knowledge and understanding, and provides opportunities for supervised practice.’
A ministry of the Australian Jesuit Province, Sentir currently has 126 students enrolled in nine different courses, including a small doctoral program. Its core work involves the formation of givers of the Spiritual Exercises and spiritual directors in the Ignatian tradition.
The connection with the University of Divinity enables students to receive recognized awards for their formation in Ignatian spirituality, as well as accessing FEE-HELP through the Australian Government to support the cost of tuition.
As well as the Graduate Certificate in Leadership, Spirituality and Organisational Practice, Sentir offers a Graduate Certificate in Supervision, and a wide range of other graduate courses.
For more about these courses, and how to enrol, go to http://www.sentir.edu.au.