*Original art by Farshad Sanaee entitled ‘The Guardian’


   July 16-18 

virtual and small local groups

As early beginnings birthed a creative vision for Spiritual Direction across Australia, a community of spirituality has connected and progressed the vision. Since those early beginnings we have journeyed in contemplative communion together and apart across this vast continent, in both place and time. As we come to our national Gathering we acknowledge our rich and diverse beginnings, dwell in the present moment together, and seek to gain a sense of tomorrow. In July we are offering exactly that, though apart we can be together through conversations with founders, engaging with each other in the moment and looking to an energy towards our next steps together as we audaciously dream a future. This is an opportunity to draw aside in conversation, shared wisdom and learning, and a refreshment of spirit through the gift of virtual gathering.

You can Register here


Conference Speakers and Presentations

Keynote Speaker: Rev Jill Manton –

Communion in Diversity: Audacious Dreaming


Asylum Seekers and Refugees –  Margaret Moore rsm:

Margaret trained in spiritual direction at the Institute fro Spiritual Leadership in Chicago, completing her Masters at Loyola University, with further Biblical and theological study at Catholic theological Union, Chicago and Pastoral leadership studies at Leuven, Belgium. Margaret has also completed further training in retreat giving and the Spiritual Exercises at St. Bueno’s Ignition Spirituality Centre in Wales. The ministry of Spiritual Direction/Companioning and retreat giving has been and continues to draw Margaret into a rich tapestry of people and places around Australia and sometimes beyond.


Embodied Life and Spiritual Direction – Jennifer Guild

Jennifer is a formation team member for ‘Art of Contemplative Practice’ and ‘Art of Spiritual Direction’  at Wellspring. Jennifer has a background in dance and physiotherapy and is a teacher of the Feldenkrais Method of using movement to deepen awareness and an Embodied LifeTM guide.

Jennifer’s session will explore how a fuller sense of embodiment can deepen our awareness of holding and being held in a contemplative prayer space, and our listening, discerning and responding from this space with our pilgrims in spiritual direction. It will also look at how our sense of embodied living can deepen our awareness of “communion in diversity” within and without. The session will involve talking and practices in sitting and standing.

Ensuring an Integral Care of the Soul – spiritual direction, human formation and mental health issues – Paul Perfement

Paul developed several diplomas in soul care, spirituality and psychology as Head of Faculty at Nature Care College, Sydney which led to the Award of the Peace Flame. Prior to this, Paul was on faculty for the Australian Transpersonal Institute (ATI) with courses also from the California Institute of Integral Studies in spirituality, therapy and deep ecology. After training with anthropologist and shaman Michael Harner and his wife Sandra Harner, psychologist and faculty of the foundation for Shamanic Studies in California, Paul was the first psychologist in Australia to incorporate shamanism with spirituality into clinical practice. Undergraduate learning psychology and ecology led to postgraduate studies in pastoral care and human formation, then to further qualifications in transpersonal psychodynamics, counselling and psychotherapy. Paul served as the Australian co-ordinator of the Spiritual Emergence Network established by Christina and Stan Grof MD, presenting on how to distinguish between psychosis and a spiritual crisis, and the care of soul in mental health, whole health and healing. Paul and his wife Stephanie live on the Far South Coast of NSW, providing an integrated spirituality, alternative mental health, retreat and training service called /Soul Resonance. They offer short soul care programs as well as accredited diplomas in both Soul-Centred Counselling and Transpersonal Psychodynamics & Integrated Spirituality.

Integral care of the soul promotes deep listening, human formation, soul recovery, and transformation in spiritual direction. Engaging spirit it attends to all levels of the pilgrim’s self, our living earth, and civilisation in transition. Soul-centred interactions are multi-layered, attentive to earth-based experiencing , the body process, feeling and emotion, mental health, the alchemy of the psyche, and a nature filled cosmos of life. A brief background to integral spirituality, theory, and practice will be followed by a self-awareness process in the integral way of your soul.

Cosmic Sparks: Seeking Presence in all that is – Margie Abbott rsm, with Sally Neaves

Margie Abbott is a Sister of Mercy who lives in Geelong. Margie has studies in education, spiritual direction, theology, facilitation and psychodrama. Margies recent studies have been in applying cosmology for the Ecozoic era. Margie highly values inner independence, the contemplative stance and active hope for a healing world.

Drawing on a quote by Diarmuid O’Murchu: “Foundational to the quantum worldview is the perception that everything in creation is energy. It is all that is – and everything that is.” (2021) Margie will suggest there to four ways that we can live into this reality as spiritual directors. Cosmololgy, Deep Incarnation theology, and Earth based Spirituality will underpin the session. With Margie will be Sally Neaves, Integral Ecology Animator who will lead a Q&A style presentation.

‘Traditional Spirituality’ – Miliwanga Wurrben in conversation with Jane Ormonde, spiritual director.

Miliwanga is a traditional woman from the Mirratja clan group, originally from the Central Arnhem region. Miliwanga lives in Katherine, Northern Territory. Her home is also Wugularr, her skin group is Galijan of the Duwa moiety. Miliwanga comes from a family line of traditional healers and is an advocate for sharing the importance of traditional Indigenous healing modalities as well as working as a Traditional Cultural Education Consultant. Miliwanga is a traditional artist, weaver and healer. She has overcome adversity in her own life, coming from the regions of the Northern Territory. She stands now as a leader and elder in her community and as an advocate for the rights of Indigenous people. Miliwanga currently works as a Cultural Advisor and Language interpreter, facilitating Cultural Awareness workshops with medical students and mainstream health providers, educating about traditional bush medicine and other traditional health therapies. Miliwanga also co-facilitates regular weekly Yarning Circles in Katherine in collaboration with Save the Children. Miliwanga is the Chairperson for Banajarl Strongbala Women Association and is on the board of Mimi Arts.

Abuse and Disgust – Dr. Sally Longley

Sally is a Spiritual Director, Supervisor and Retreat leader based in Sydney. She has built the Chartres Labyrinth with her husband as well as a wild classic labyrinth among the trees at Canisius Retreat Centre. Sally leads silent and themed retreats and is a giver of the Ignatian Exercises. She is a part-time pastor of Avalon Baptist Peace church, and a team member of ‘Listen Into Life,’ a formation program for spiritual directors. Sally has published a booklet and a three set DVD/MP3 ‘Christian Meditation: 5 Ways to Pray,’ and two books: ‘Walking the Labyrinth as the Beloved in John’s Gospel’ (2016) and ‘Conversations With Silence: Rosetta Stone of the Soul’ (2021). Sally is married with two adult children.

As spiritual directors who desire to be open to the rich diversity of humanhood, what does the theology and psychology of disgust have to say to us? How common it is, for our response of turning up our lip expressing our disgust at men who have abused women in the corporate and political worlds and our similar response to those who are involved in the current slavery epidemic? It is so often much easier to accompany those who are survivors, than it is to accompany those who are perpetrators. What does the theology and psychology of disgust have to say to us as a community of spiritual directors who desire to be open to the full diversity of humanhood in all its pain and ugliness? To perpetrators of abuse and survivors? Immediately after I was first abused, I ran to the bathroom and threw up. This is the body’s healthy way of expelling that which doesn’t belong. However, a problem arises when our experience of disgust means people become objects of expulsion, albeit more subtly. This session will look at the way the very subtle presence of disgust within us as spiritual directors and/or our directees, acts as a boundary and expulsion theology, and offer a forum for discussion around how we can be our best selves as spiritual directors when we encounter disgust in ourselves and our directees.

Autism and Spirituality – Dr. Karenne Hills

Dr Karenne Hills maintains a “portfolio lifestyle” with a number of professional interests. She is the course co-ordinator/lecturer for the Master of Counselling program at Australian Institute for Professional Counsellors (AIPC) in Brisbane. She also operates a private practice combining her professional qualifications in the ares of counselling, nursing, teaching, disability and autism, working with individuals, couples, families and organisations in a variety of contexts. Karenne completed her Ph.D titled ‘Spirituality in the Context of Nonverbal Autism’ in 2019, and is passionate about exploring the spiritual experiences and expressions of people who may experience barriers to traditional religious teaching and involvement. Karenne’s research explored how spirituality could be experienced and expressed beyond the use of words or typical religious practices by comparing the traditional mystic practices of silence and solitude with the life content of people who do not communicate with speech. She regularly speaks at local, national and international conferences on a variety of topics pertaining to people with disabilities, spirituality and autism, and has published in several academic journals and books.

Ableism – Dr. B-J Dee-Price

Betty-Jean Price is a researcher and sessional lecturer at Flinders University and is currently a co-investigator on a collaborative project ‘Equity pathways for families of children with cerebral palsy’ (Sydney children’s Hospital and UNSW). Prior to this B-J taught within the social work degree (UniSA) and practiced social work in a variety of roles. B-J consults within the field of disability, including the writing of disability policy and in-sector training. B-J participates on several state and national committees including the Statewide Adolescent Transition Care Clinical Network Steering Committee and the Australasian Association of Cerebral Palsy and, Developmental Medicine Advocacy and Awards Committee.

Spiritual Direction Without Borders – Dieter Weinand

Dieter Weinand is an executive coach and business performance facilitator with over 30 years experience, specialising in leadership and organisational development in both South Africa and Australia. Dieter’s passion and dedication for learning and development motivates the individual and the organisation to be more solutions-focussed and committed to continuous improvement. Dieter is a trained spiritual director and retreat leader, a member of ANSD, and is involved with JISA  (Jesuit and Ignatian Spirituality Australia) based at Canisius. He is currently completing a two year program with the Living School, Centre for Action and Contemplation.

My audacious dream is to explore spiritual direction without borders – taking SD into daily life and work. being committed to helping others in their spiritual unfolding; holding space for others to come to a deeper understanding of God, and their spirituality; being like Jesus on the road to Emmaus – companioning with others on their life journey, journeying with the disenfranchised, non-church goers and people in daily life. Looking beyond the traditional framework of about sixty minutes in a quiet room. Like engineers without borders: where technology benefits all; SD without borders: where spiritual companioning benefits all.

Intercultural and Interfaith Spiritual Direction – Discovering my Muslim and Atheist Siblings in a School Gymnasium – Dr. Tim Cowan

Rev Dr. Tim Cowan OAM is a spiritual director, retreat leader and involved in formation and supervision of spiritual companions in both Melbourne and Manila. He is the founder and past director of Building Bridges in Schools, a program of inter-religious and intercultural understanding and co-operation.

Probing the gifts of spiritual companioning and contemplative inquiry across the religious cultural and age spectrum in Australia. Tim will draw on the lived experience and stories of primarily young Australians who discovered communion in diversity through contemplative groups, and new visions for our common future.


Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity – Celebrating the Queer in the Spiritual Direction Space – Rev Dr. Josephine Inkpin and Rev Penny Jones

Rev Penny Jones and Rev Dr. Josephine Inkpin are an Anglican clergy couple with permission to serve in the Uniting Church. Josephine is currently the minister of Pitt St. Uniting church in the Sydney CBD. Penny has recently moved from the role as Director of Formation for the Anglican Church Southern Queensland, and is now concentrating on her long established ministry of spiritual direction, supervision and retreat conducting. Josephine is Australia’s first out licensed transgender priest, a church historian and active in many areas of social justice. Penny has a background in dance and is particularly interested in the interface of the body and spirituality.

Our presentation will reflect on the experiences of both giving and receiving spiritual direction as members of the LGBTIAQ+ community. By means of a conversation between the two of us, it will discuss the particular challenges faced by that community as people of faith who are also queer, and some of the gifts of theology and spiritual perception that it brings. It will encourage us to think audaciously about how queer people can best be enabled to offer their unique perspectives in the spiritual direction space. The conversation will be followed by a time for questions, interactions and comments.

Spirituality in the Workplace – Dr. Bernadette Miles

Dr. Bernadette Miles is co-founder and co-director (with Dr. Marlene Marburg) of Kardia Formation P/L based in Melbourne, Australia. Kardia was established in 2015 as a response to the increasing number of people who desire spiritual formation outside of current institutional settings. Bernie is passionate about developing the ministry of spiritual direction, making it relevant in a multitude of settings, particularly in the workplace. Bernie’s book “Strengthening Spirit – Releasing Potential: Spiritual direction for leadership and organizational development, emanated from here recent PhD research.

How do we integrate spirituality into our work practices, particularly those that are not faith-based? What does the spiritual dimension of our work contribute to organisational development? In this presentation we will explore the role spiritual direction can have in the workplace, and the contribution spiritual direction can make in raising leadership and organizational consciousness.



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