What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual direction is, simply, the faithful guidance, help, and encouragement given by one person of faith to another. Spiritual direction involves regular meetings with someone of wisdom and experience in our search for God in everything. For the faithful, the “spiritual life” is all life, in the Spirit — not merely a “religious” corner set aside for God. It is not a practice only for a “spiritual elite” or for those of us who are professionally religious — monks, nuns, or clergy. All of us need guidance in discerning God’s action in our lives, and in the lives of those around us.
Tacheria School of Spiritual Direction
Tacheria School of Spiritual Direction is a two-year interfaith course for those called to a vocation of spiritual direction or for those who are yearning for answers to their spiritual questions and want to be able to do something with this yearning.
Tacheria is a Yaqui word meaning “inner spirit” or “inner journey” and reflects both the native Southwest roots and the purpose of the center:
- to offer spiritual direction
- to help people grow in spiritual maturity
- to train spiritual directors
- to provide a multifaith spiritual home through classes, workshops, and retreats.
Tacheria’s mission is “Believing love and peace to be gifts living in all of us, Tacheria is dedicated to promoting spiritual growth and companionship in groups and individuals so we may serve as examples of wisdom in the world.”
Lupon Claude d’Estree, Buddhist (Tibetan), and Jeanette Renouf, Christian (Episcopal), started Tacheria in 1992 as an interfaith course in spirituality at Saint Philip’s in the Hills. The course was so popular they taught it several times over the next three years. It soon became clear that some of these students wanted also to be trained as spiritual directors. By 1994 a board of advisors had been formed and a name chosen. Tacheria, a Yaqui word meaning “spiritual journey” or “inner journey” seemed appropriate to the topic and the geographical area. A two-year curriculum was developed and the first class enrolled in 1995.
In the 1998, Claude and his family moved to the Washington, D.C., area and Jeanette was left to run Tacheria alone. She combined the two-year classes so that a first-year and second-year class always met together. The design has generally remained the same over the years, with instructors changing as people moved or new resources became available. The classes have always been interfaith, with the various faith traditions present in the Tucson area being represented over the 15 years. This combination of traditions has enriched the classes and the community of Tucson. Many graduates have used their learning for personal spiritual growth; a few have become formal spiritual directors and others using this gift in a variety of occupations.
Jeanette planned to close Tacheria in 2003 when she retired from Saint Philip’s, but a number of people came forward and indicated their desire for the program to continue, emphasizing the need in the community. Among these volunteering their efforts to continue the program were Linda and Frank Williams and Annick Saffken. They joined Tacheria for several years and began to take over teaching and administrative duties. Jeanette continued to be a part of the program and chair the board. Claude would visit about once a year for a retreat or to teach a class. Annick left for other work and in 2006 Jeanette passed leadership to Linda and Frank Williams, with Frank becoming head of the board.
Jeanette has maintained membership on the board and teaches a class or takes part in a retreat every year. Tacheria continues to graduate 5–10 students a year from its two-year course (20 months). The quality of its graduates remains high and alumni continue to meet in a regular way for continuing education and support.