The Teresian Carmel makes use of a long tradition not only of experience of the Christian mystery, but also of listening and of spiritual accompaniment, to lead those who desire it towards their own experience of the mystery. It is this mystagogical concern, verified since the time of St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross, that will now be articulated on the two sides of the experience of the mystery that transforms persons and communities: the doctrinal side in the form of fundamental content and the practical side in the form of the art of mystagogical accompaniment and discernment. As in the time of John of the Cross, there are many people who wish to experience God and make progress on a spiritual journey. Unfortunately, they do not always find competent and available guides, while offers abound that exhibit pseudo-religious discourses, exploiting the emotionality of the moment without structuring the person in his or her entirety or in his or her journey towards full realization.
With a predominantly theological anchorage and approach, the Course will establish a permanent dialogue with the human sciences that help to better understand the dynamics of the human person integrally involved in the varied itineraries of life under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
In this regard, four aspects can be enucleated:
- The perspective of the course highlights the theme of the experience of the mystery of the one and triune God as foundational and enveloping the mystery of man. The accompaniment manifests fidelity to the mystagogical concern of the holy Fathers of the reformed Carmel, Teresa of Avila (cf. V 18, 8) and John of the Cross (cf. S, prol. 3).
- In the wake of our saints, spiritual accompaniment is attentive to the impactful and accessible languages of today’s concrete and/or predictable interlocutors, existentially engaged in contemporary scenarios.
- The structuring theological perspective of accompaniment (in Christ and in docibilitas to the motions of the Holy Spirit) integrates approaches from other sciences that help us to approach the human being in the complexity of his condition and his relationships.
- Accompaniment and discernment conform to the principle of the mediation of the like in the spiritual life (cf. 2 Salida 22:9). Hence the identification of all human resources capable of introducing participants to the experience of the mystery.
The course aims to help pastoral agents at different levels, first of all by offering the theological foundations of spiritual accompaniment, which essentially refer to the deepening of the Word of God as a source of discernment. The contribution of the training offer then intervenes in what precisely concerns the guidance of persons, proposing criteria for discernment and instruments of analysis, with the contribution of the human sciences. Finally, it wants to propose a practical formation in spiritual accompaniment which, however, being a ministry of the Church, requires from those who exercise it the canonical mission obtained from the competent ecclesiastical authority.
The course is intended for people (priests, consecrated and lay people) who are involved in the pastoral care of individuals or in schools, universities, listening centers, hospitals, youth groups, or spiritual exercises.
- To prepare the pastoral agents for the ecclesial mission of spiritual accompaniment and mystagogy, offering them a solid formation, centered on the study of the Word of God, which will be marked by a theological understanding of the spiritual life, as an experience of the Word of God, and by a deepening – in an interdisciplinary key – in the field of theological anthropology.
- To introduce the different approaches to spiritual direction and accompaniment.
- To propose the contribution of the Carmelite tradition.
- To implement a practical didactic of accompaniment.
- To promote a personal experience of accompaniment.
- Re-read the formation process for accompaniment proposed by the Faculty and the experience of accompaniment in the context of a mission entrusted to us.
The Course has a duration of one year. The program includes theoretical, theoretical-practical lessons and laboratories. Although the Course lasts one year, it is possible to extend its completion up to four years from the first enrollment.
There is the possibility of personal accompaniment. The moderator of the Course is Prof. Valéry Bitar.
6. Requirements and admission
In order to be admitted to the Course, a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification is required, as well as the positive result of the admission interview.
A diploma in Spiritual Accompaniment will be awarded to those who have passed the evaluation tests.
The diploma does not confer any academic degree by the authority of the Holy See (cf. Statute, art. 92; Veritatis Gaudium, Norms, art. 41).
For the aforementioned diploma, the final mark is calculated by averaging the marks of the exams taken during the course.
From Monday to Wednesday 3.30 pm – 6.50 pm. The Methodological Workshop takes place on another day in the afternoon (three meetings of two hours).