"The only possible happiness lies in letting God love us, and everything that has happened and will happen is only for that purpose."Ruth Burrows
The Carmelite Centre Melbourne seeks to provide a contemplative space to facilitate spiritual journeys and personal growth. Spiritual Direction is one of the supports offered by the Centre to those interested in developing and deepening their spiritual life.
Spiritual Direction is a series of conversations about your life and prayer in the light of your faith or values. The focus is on your spiritual journey through the day to day experiences of your life. These conversations assist discernment of what is life-giving for you, and what is binding you or holding you back from becoming all you have the potential to be – all that God created you to be. With greater clarity and self-knowledge you can then choose the way forward on the spiritual journey with greater freedom.
There’s more information on the flyer below which we hope answers some of the question you may have. Please contact one of our spiritual directors if you have further question and/or to arrange an appointment time.
We currently have three spiritual directors available – Brother Geoff Whitefield, Pia Pagotto and Bernadette Micallef. All three are members of the Conference of Spiritual Directors Australia. The Australia Ecumenical Council for Spiritual Direction provides the Code of Ethics for Spiritual Directors. Catholic Religious Australia recommends a fee range from $78 – $156 per hour. The Carmelite Centre asks for $75 per session however this can be discussed with your spiritual director if it will cause financial hardship.
MEET OUR SPIRITUAL DIRECTORS
Br Geoff Whitefield is a Christian Brother who has ministered in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, as well as in Papua New Guinea. He has been a Spiritual Director since 2009 and was trained through the Siloam Formation Program, Heart of Life, Box Hill, followed by further studies in Formation at Loreto House, Dublin, Ireland. He has been spiritual director to people from all walks of life, of various faith traditions and of a range of ages.
Pia is available for zoom or phone sessions or in person for the Lysterfield area. She can be contacted directly by email.
Pia Pagotto has a long association with the Carmelite Centre after completing the Siloam program at Heart of Life in 2011, an experience which Pia says continues to reverberate for her a sense of privilege and deepening of faith. Pia, an experienced spiritual director, knows how valued Spiritual Direction has been in her own life and desires to “hold well” and companion others in the same way. Family life is important to Pia in all the ups and downs and shapes and forms it takes. With a background in teaching, Pia still works in schools with sacramental preparation with the Presentation Family Project.
Pia’s favourite scripture is John10:10 I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Bernadette is available via zoom and in person in her home office in Mount Waverley and at The Carmelite Centre in Middle Park. She can be contacted directly by email.
Bernadette Micallef completed the Siloam Formation program at Heart of Life in 2011 and has been working as a Spiritual Director at The Carmelite Centre since 2012. She is married with three sons (two daughters-in-law and two grandchildren) and has been a member of the Carmelite Order since 1991. In 2021 she returned to study to complete a Masters in Spirituality.
Bernadette’s favourite scripture in relation to Spiritual Direction is Acts 7:33. Take off the sandals from your feet for the place where you are standing is holy ground. She believes that the here and now of our day-to-day lives is where we encounter God and finds it awesome to witness God’s work in another.
Spiritual Direction can be particularly helpful if you feel a need for change in your life in response to a calling to a deeper spiritual life; or feel stuck and dissatisfied in your spiritual journey; or when you are dealing with difficult circumstances; or when you feel a desire to talk at a deeper level than day-to-day conversations allow; or have a persistent yearning for a more intimate relationship with God. Speaking about what’s happening, receiving the undivided attention of another, focused on what matters to you, can in itself be most helpful, supportive and encouraging on your spiritual journey.Is Spiritual Direction different from counselling?
The main focus in Spiritual Direction is your spiritual journey. The main focus of counselling is problem solving. Both deal with the concrete reality of your experience of life and both encourage deepening self-knowledge. In counselling such self-knowledge serves the purpose of dealing with the problem or on-going difficult life situation. In Spiritual Direction such self-knowledge enables greater freedom to respond to the fullness of life to which God is calling you, that is, to more fully become the unique person you are created to be. With an appropriate counsellor, counselling can certainly facilitate this journey too without being the primary focus.
Spiritual Director qualification
The qualification of ‘Spiritual Director’ is through a Graduate Diploma which involves both theory and practice. Spiritual Directors themselves receive regular Spiritual Direction and also Professional Supervision.
Getting to Middle Park by public transport
No. 12 Tram from Collins St to stop 135 (on Mills Street) then 220m walk down Richardson Street.
No. 96 Tram from Bourke St to stop 129 (on Canterbury Rd) then 450m walk down Wright Street.
Pastoral Supervision with Damien Peile
Pastoral Supervision provides professional and personal support to people working in Church ministry. Offered in a trusting and confidential setting, the benefits can include improved workplace relationships, renewed sense of vocation, clarity of roles, support and managing stress.
For many years I have worked as a spiritual mentor, counsellor and social worker. During this time, I have met with many people working in Church communities including ministers, pastoral workers, students of theology and volunteers.
In a culture of ‘quick fixes’ with pressure to succeed in the work place, little time is left to step back, and reflect and ponder on what is being done or why it is being done. My approach to supervision includes contemplative practices such as stillness and silence, prayer and meditation. I have found that these practices add a rich source of inquiry to the thinking mind in dealing with problems in ministry, by creating a space to take time out to reflect and ponder on what needs attention.
Contact Damien for further information by phone 0419503421 or email. Damien is available for face-to-face or on-line meetings.
Damien is a member of the Australasian Association of Pastoral Supervision.
- Clergy and ministers
- Chaplains in hospitals, schools, universities, prisons, aged care or other
- Employees of church organisations
- Teachers in church managed schools
- Carers and volunteers working in Church based organisations
- Students of theology
What happens in the Pastoral Supervision process?
At early meetings the following is covered:Brief introduction about the nature of pastoral supervision
- A definition of pastoral supervision
- Understanding & Preparing for supervision
- Confidentiality & Disclosure information
- A Supervision Agreement is developed covering short and long term goals
- Agreement on ongoing sessions
What issues may arise in our conversations?
- The need to gain greater balance between the demands of ministry and home life.
- A lack of professional development in ministry – I sometimes feel unskilled in my ministry with some current clients
- A feeling of isolation in ministry and a lack of teamwork with the result resulting in feelings of burnout
Benefits of Pastoral Supervision – what others say
It was a joy to be listened to with deep respect and regard, no matter how trivial or serious. There were many mountain top and valley experiences. Thank you Damien for guiding me to develop a deeper more authentic relationship with our God. It’s a gift in this busy complex and beautiful world. Susan
I had conversations with Damien regarding discernment and vocation and found the experience extremely helpful. Damien helped me find clarity and confidence going forward. Wendy
A quiet space to contemplate and reflect on work and life’s challenges. Michele
I have been seeing Damien for some time and I have appreciated every meeting. His deep listening, his wise responses and his understanding of the challenges and graces of human life all combine to be such a gift to me. I value the sacred space he provides where I can share what is on my heart and continue to grow as a loved child of God. John
Damien is warm and welcoming. He is a ‘companion on the journey’ providing a safe place to talk through the highs and lows of my spiritual quest in work and life. He encourages open, frank and non-judgemental dialogue. Suzanne
My meetings with Damien are a spiritual blessing as I ponder how God had been at work in me. Sometimes the preparation for our meetings illuminated God’s activity in me and then there would be the questions Damien would ask that required deeper thinking to appreciate God’s work with me and the challenge to move on in the Spirit. Damien helped me to clarify and validate my walk with Jesus. Philip
What issues or concerns do people bring to Pastoral Supervision?
Anything is appropriate that arises from the actual experience in ministry including vocational questions, time management, establishing boundaries and communication skills. It is helpful for the supervisee to identify outcomes they want from supervision.
How is Pastoral Supervision different from Spiritual Direction or Counselling?
The goal of pastoral supervision is reflection on one’s work-practice in a psychological and spiritual context. It is a forum to reflect and review workplace ministry practice in order to find new learnings and insights. Counselling addresses the mental and emotional well-being of people and spiritual direction focuses more on one’s relationship with God. There are overlapping processes in spiritual direction, counselling and pastoral supervision but that doesn’t take away from the distinction between them.
Supervision and Confidentiality
The supervisor is guided by the legal and ethical standards of the profession. In most instances, pastoral supervision is completely confidential. In situations where the supervisor identifies potential abuse or other actions requiring further exploration, a discussion with the supervisee takes place with a view to information being shared with the employer organisation.
THE CARMELITE LIBRARY OF SPIRITUALITY & MYSTICISM
Located within the Carmelite Centre precinct the Carmelite Library of Spirituality and Mysticism provides a unique resource for students of religion, theology and spirituality throughout Australia. With its wide membership which includes graduate and post-graduate students and researchers, clergy and lay people, the library is a popular resource centre for all things spiritual.
Philip Harvey (Librarian) and assistants Susan Southall and Tim Hennessy provide care and support in the Carmelite Library, home to many hundreds of books, arguably one of the largest collections of theological and spiritual books in the nation. You are most welcome to visit the Library to browse. You can also become a Library member and borrow from our extensive collection.
The Carmelite Library is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Theological Library Association Ltd. This Association seeks to foster the study of theology and religion by enhancing the development of theological and religious libraries and librarianship.
The Carmelite Library of Spirituality & Mysticism
2023 Library Opening Times
Tuesday: 10.00am – 2.00pm
Thursday: 10.00am – 2.00pm
Library Contact Details
Phone: +61 (03) 9682 8553
Fax: +61 (03) 9699 1944
The Carmelite Institute of Britain and Ireland (CIBI) Program
CIBI is a collaborative initiative of the British and Irish Provinces of Carmelites and the Angelo-Irish Province of Discalced Carmelites. CIBI is currently offering students a postgraduate programme - Master's of Theology (Carmelite Studies) accredited by St. Patrick's College, Maynooth. At under-graduate level there are three programmes available :
- Certificate in Spirituality (Carmelite Studies)
- Diploma in Spirituality (Carmelite Studies)
- Baccalaureate in Theology (Carmelite Studies)
The Discovering Carmelite Certificate Programme is an initial level programme offering a foundation in various aspects of Carmelite studies. For more information, please visit the CIBI website.