Holy Listening

Admission + completion

Welcome to Holy Listening
a Benedictine approach to spiritual accompaniment

Two-week summer programme    :    18-29 June 2018 (Participants arrive 17 and depart 30 June)
Cost of the 2018 programme    :    € 1.700   :    (estimate based on 2017 cost)
Registration deadline    :    6 April 2018   :    Register now
Contact information    :    Dom David Foster    :    programmi@anselmianum.com
Scholarships are available    :    please see the Application Form

The monastic tradition understands faith as a journey we make in companionship with others. Accompaniment is an important way in which we help each other find our way forwards in faith, hope and love. It can include spiritual direction and counselling, it can take place formally in one-to-one dialogue, in informal but regular meetings, on an individual basis or in groups, in the context of retreats and conferences. It is about sharing insights, listening to questions, seeking wisdom for the journey.

This programme is intended for people who are interested in spiritual direction, counselling and similar roles, in a faith context. It provides practical instruction and guidance not only for monastics, but for anyone who wants to learn them. It is open to men and women of all Christian traditions and to anyone who wants to learn to journey sympathetically with others on that path of faith.

What is specifically Benedictine about it? The Rule itself speaks of a journey towards the Kingdom that we make together under the direction of Jesus, who shows us the path, and gives us the Gospel as our guide. In St Benedict’s mind, monastic men and women are born into their vocation by an experience of spiritual parenting by the Abbot or Abbess, an experience that becomes characteristic of the order of the community where the elders are all seen as ‘fathers’ and ‘mothers’ who are able to generate the fellowship of the community in the love of Jesus Christ.

From this experience flow five elements that characterise a Benedictine understanding of spiritual accompaniment: the search for God in response to a divine initiative (search for God); mediated in human relationships of everyday life (community); attentive to the word of God speaking in the Bible (lectio divina) and persevering in prayer (prayer and liturgy). It acknowledges the presence of God in everything, in everyday routines, work and encounters, especially with the weak and with strangers. It is a strong element in the service monastic communities offer the wider world.

Admission and Completion


  • People already working in spiritual accompaniment/direction, either to reinforce and consolidate their skills or to develop their skills, especially in terms of an understanding of the monastic tradition
  • People wishing to extend training in counselling and accompaniment with the specialisation in the monastic tradition; or who intend to continue their training in other institutions
  • People working in Christian adult or vocational formation
  • Participants may be monks or religious, but also lay people, with or without Christian allegiances, but who are sympathetic to it and who want to understand the monastic tradition of accompaniment.
  • The programme is open to both men and women.


The main requirement is that a candidate demonstrate suitability for the programme in terms of interest and relevant experience (including relevant academic training at 1st degree or equivalent), as well as personal and spiritual maturity and emotional health. Applicant should have a sufficient level of understanding of theology and Christian practice. This is ascertained as follows:

  • Submission of the applicant’s reasons for applying together with a record of relevant experience, including academic record, and a statement of what he or she hopes for from the programme and how it will help future work
  • Recommendation by his superior, in the case of priests or religious, or a reference from employer, or someone who is in a position to support the application
  • Applicants will be expected, if admitted to the programme, to write a review of life as part of the programme which will be discussed with the Director of the programme in order to focus on personal practical goals for participation. They are expected to make arrangements for and to continue in spiritual direction or an equivalent process while registered with it (until the completion of the final written project.)

Sant’Anselmo reserves the right to advise a candidate not to continue the programme where it appears that the candidate is not suited to it.


  • Successfully complete the assignments of each module used as a basis for assessment
  • Successfully complete the final written project
  • Meet personal formation expectations
  • Demonstrate suitability for the work of spiritual accompaniment


Each module envisages approximately 70 hours of reading as well as a short written assignment (6-8 pages).
Final assignment should be about 30 pp.

Application Form and Support Information

DATES OF THE 2018 COURSE    :   18-29 June 2018

COST OF THE 2018 COURSE    :    € 1.700   :    (estimate based on 2017 cost)

(inclusive of board and lodging, and all teaching and administrative fees)

Some funds are available for bursaries in case of need. If you would like to request this, please tick the box on the Application Form.


(Form will be sent in response to an application)

  • CV including academic record, and a record of relevant experience (form available)
  • Recommendation by a religious superior, a spiritual director, or a person.
  • Personal statement giving the reason for your interest in this training programme, what you hope to gain from it, and how it may help you in your life and work.
  • If your application is accepted, as part of the preparation for the programme you will be expected to make a written review of your life which will be treated in absolute confidence, to facilitate discussion of personal goals in the training programme.
  • If you do not have a regular relationship of accompaniment or direction, you will be expected to seek one while you are on the programme.

When your application is received, it will be acknowledged and you will be sent a form to help present the above information, which should be returned by email in PDF format, with the supporting statements, to the Course Director. At the same time we will contact your nominated referee.

Payment for the course is due with confirmation of your acceptance of the offer of a place. We will acknowledge receipt of payment and the award of the place.

Cancellations must be made in writing, and are eligible to a 70% refund, if the cancellation request is received by 18 May 2018.

For reasons of organisation, the course depends on a minimum number of 10 participants. The maximum number is 20. A decision about viability will be made before 18 May.


DEADLINE FOR PAYMENT    :    18 May 2018


Note: Sant’Anselmo reserves the right to advise a participant not to continue in the programme when it appears that he or she is not suited to it.