Carol Ludwig

Title of UFCSH talk: “Spiritual Direction: Ancient Roots, Contemporary Resurgence”
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Since the early 4th century, and probably well before, people have been consulting spiritual elders to find ways to live healthier, more balanced lives, infused with spirit and open to generously serving others. This practice has taken many forms and been known by many names: spiritual direction, spiritual companioning, spiritual friendship, soul friend and anam cara are just a few. For centuries spiritual direction was reserved for people living committed vows in religious settings. But in later 20th century America there was a resurgence of this practice among lay people seeking spiritual direction.

Carol Ludwig explores how this practice has developed around the world and here in Florida. She evokes how variations have been and can be used successfully in health care settings to help practitioners recommit to their sacred vocation and work more harmoniously with colleagues, patients and families. 

Taking a look at Rabbi Samuel Karff’s sacred vocation concept, Parker Palmer’s circles of trust, Christina Puchalski’s healing encounter and Rose Mary Dougherty’s group spiritual direction, she explored methodologies that might help doctors, nurses, chaplains, hospice volunteers, patients, families and healthcare administrators live more satisfying lives, and more deeply into the surprising shifts in today’s health care paradigm. Might this practice breathe new life into weary health care workers?