Hesychia School of Spiritual Direction

The Hesychia School of Spiritual Direction focuses on the ancient art of Christian spiritual direction in a multi-faith context. Hesychia means “watchful, inner stillness, silence” and offers contemplative study and practice designed to prepare lay professionals, clergy, and the vowed religious for a ministry of spiritual guidance within the diverse context of contemporary life.

The art of Christian spiritual direction traces its roots to the Desert Fathers and Mothers of Egypt, Palestine, Arabia, and Persia. Having left the noise of the cities to live in solitude, and seeking community with like-others, the Desert Elders recognized the need for on-going guidance of the Spirit. Their desire to be attentive to God’s movement in one’s life, and to the inner motivations which lead one closer to or further from Truth, provide for women and men today respite from the demands of modern culture, and restoration of the life of prayer.

Thomas Merton

We seek to recover the freedom and peace of the Desert Elders. That desert paradise Thomas Merton considered a liberation, a kind of permanent vacation in the original sense of emptying, in which we discard the useless and tedious baggage of vain concerns and devote ourselves to the one thing really necessary: the quest for meaning and for love, the quest for our own identity.

Statement of purpose

Our vision is to prepare spiritual directors through in-depth study, peer learning, and spiritual mentoring to serve the growing community of women and men who, from all walks of life and all religious traditions, seek the guidance of the Spirit.spring-2011-005

Program Overview

The Hesychia School is an ecumenical and interfaith program designed to provide resources and support for the ministry of spiritual guidance, and to encourage the deepening of the spiritual life of participants. The program focuses on the ancient Christian practice of spiritual direction, adapted and revisioned for our time.

The heart of the program is contemplative, emphasizing the importance of spiritual study, discernment, and prayer. Its focus is on the experience of a person’s relationship with God, and on fostering this relationship as the foundation of one’s life.  The program is offered in spring each year.


Time to take in the wonder of colors.
Time to take in the wonder of colors.

Classes will include 15 – 20 participants who feel called to explores the ministry of spiritual guidance and to further their spiritual growth. Participants usually include lay people, clergy, vowed religious, and professionals representing a wide variety of vocation and faith traditions. We expect that applicants will have some general experience in giving and receiving spiritual guidance, and will have the maturity and life experience necessary to this ministry.

The deadline for all application material is two weeks prior to the start of each program. Please send all applications and recommendations via email to teresa@teresablythe.net.   You will be contacted about acceptance after all materials are in.

Applications & Recommendation Forms

Application in PDF

Application Form in Word

Recommendation Form in PDF

Recommendation Form in Word

Upcoming Dates



Weeks 1 and 2:     Feb. 4-16, 2018
Weeks 3 and 4:     April 8-20, 2018


Weeks 1 and 2:     Feb. 3-15, 2019
Weeks 3 and 4:     March 31-April 12, 2019


Weeks 1 and 2:     Feb. 2-14, 2020
Weeks 3 and 4:     April 19-May 1, 2020


Weeks 1 and 2:     Jan. 31-Feb. 12, 2021
Weeks 3 and 4:     April 11-23, 2021


Weeks 1 and 2:     Jan. 30-Feb. 11, 2022
Weeks 3 and 4:     March 27-April 8, 2022

The Hesychia Spiritual Direction Programspring-2011-007

This program offers a formal training program of study, prayer, and reflection designed to deepen the spiritual life and to aid participants in their discernment to the ministry of spiritual direction.

It draws from the wisdom of the Christian mystical tradition, spiritual guidance as practiced in the community of the world’s religions, and the insights of psychology, the arts, and social justice.

Format of Study

The Hesychia Program is formed around four retreats, which can be taken in separate modules or weeks I and II together, then weeks III and IV together.  Each retreat is focused on a specific level of spiritual direction. Completion of all four retreats is required to qualify for a Certificate of Completion.

Please click for a syllabus: hssd-syllabus, and the calendar grid of Hesychia of each week: calendar-grid-2017

Program Schedule and Fees

Retreats begin with arrival and registration on the Sunday evening before classes begin. Participants are encouraged to arrive between 3:00-5:00 PM in order to register, move into your room, and become acquainted with the other participants. A reception will be held at 5:00 PM. Dinner will be served at 6:00 PM. Classes begin at 9:00 AM on Monday morning. The school ends on Friday after lunch.

Cost for the Hesychia Program: Funds:  USD only.

Resident:  $4,400.00 ($1,100 per week). In 2019, Resident: $4,660.00 ($1,165.00 per week).
Commuter:  $3,460.00 ($865 per week). In 2019, Commuter: $3,720.00 ($930.00 per week)


The Hesychia School of Spiritual Direction offers an intensive four week program that is both comprehensive and user friendly. Preparing their students for the much needed role of spiritual director in our culture, the program covers topics and issues crucial to the growth and healing of individuals and to society as a whole. In addition to learning from the excellent staff and presenters, my completion of the Hesychia program provided an opportunity for deepening and expanding my own inner healing and spiritual journey.   ( Linda Hunter)

I was looking for education in spiritual direction and received so much more:  a greater appreciation for how various faith traditions live out their spirituality, a deeper understanding of myself and my own spiritual journey, and a more confident sense of how I could be a person called by the Spirit to hear someone else’s sacred story. The Hesychia program has been life transforming.   ( A. Joan Bowers)

Thank you for a wonderful experience.  The key ingredient in any program that depends on active listening is a practicum.  My, our experience, of practicum was so rich because of the deep reverence and respect with which we held each other. ( Sister Jean Flannelly, SC, M.T.S., Ph.D.)

 The Hesychia Program is truly a “diamond” in the desert! The contemplative atmosphere is a plus.  It provides the context to be exposed to a truly ecumenical program of study, practice the skills needed to be a competent spiritual director, and faculty and guest speakers practicing in their area of expertise.  The length of the program is ideal-four weeks total! (Sister Carolita Mauer, OSF)

For more information

Teresa Blythe, Hesychia Director
Phone: 520.971.4724
Email: teresa@teresablythe.net  or office@desertrenewal.org