Spiritual Formation

Entering the Narrow Gate

Phase 1: Foundations of Christian Spirituality
A reflective study of the Christian Wisdom Tradition

Explore the classic elements of monastic, spiritual & contemplative life to discover how this ancient wisdom, learning and spiritual practice might be understood and lived in new settings & life today. The program offers a reflective personal & transformative process for all who desire deeper life in Spirit and more intentional living of the Christian life in Christ. The rich and inspiring teaching is centers on the saints, mystics and spiritual teachers of the Christian centuries, personal contemplative prayer practice and the writing and living of a personal Rule of Life. 

September 2017 to June 2018, Ten Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (with lunch)

2016: Sept. 7, Oct. 12, Nov. 9, Dec. 7
2017: Jan. 11, Feb. 8, Mar. 8, April 12, May 10 and one more date in May or June

Each session consists of two three-hour sessions with each session a separate topic. 

Tuition: $700 (50% due with registration and 50% due in February, 2018)

  • Required books (may be purchased on Amazon.com at reduced cost):
    • The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault
    • The Rule of Benedict. Ed., Timothy Fry Liturgical Press, 1982
    • The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality by Ronald Rolheiser
  • Recommended:
    • Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality by Richard Rohr;
    • Joan of Arc by Mark Twain – with trial proceedings included.

Each session has required readings (short background and/or readings from the original writings of each spiritual teacher) and journal questions.

  • Participation in a four-day silent directed retreat  (A retreat is scheduled during Lent at Victory Noll Center) {Please note: separate cost.}
  • Participants are encouraged to have a spiritual director
  • A final 1- 2 page personal reflection paper is due two weeks after the final session

2017-18 Schedule:

Sept. 7, 2017
Gospel according to John
Spirituality of the Paschal Mystery

Oct. 12
Contemplative Prayer & Approaches to God
Desert Mothers as Midwives of Wisdom

Nov. 9
Rule of St. Benedict & Scholastica
Hildegard of Bingen

Dec. 7
St. Francis and St. Clare
St. Anthony of Padua

Jan. 11, 2018
The Beguines-Lay Women’s movement of 13th century
Julian of Norwich

Feb. 8
St. Catherine of Siena
Meister Eckhart

March 8
St. Ignatius of Loyla
Joan of Arc

April 12
St. Theresa of Avila
St. John of the Cross

May 10
St. Teresa of Calcutta
Henri Nouwen

May 31
Dorothy Day
Thomas Merton


Phase II

Those completing Phase I may apply for a two-year Formation Program & Practicum for those who have discerned a call to the ministry of spiritual direction. This phase begins every two years…next program begins September 2017.
Contact Sue Wilhelm: (260) 200-1739 or sue.wilhelm@victorynollcenter.org

Bridges to Contemplative Living, Book 1: Entering the School of Your Experience

8 sessions • 9 to 11 a.m. Fridays • September through December

Do you find yourself seeking to live more contemplatively? Do you probe life’s great questions: “Who am I?” “Who is God?” “What am I to do with my life?” Or perhaps you have found yourself drawn to the thought and writings of Thomas Merton, the Cbook1icstercian monk of Gethsemani in Kentucky who has written many books and articles on the spiritual life. As the introduction indicates: “The Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton series is especially designed for small group dialogue. The selected themes of each session are intended to progressively inform and deepen the relationships that form our everyday lives. Each session begins with scripture and ends in prayer. In between there is time and mental space for spiritual reading, reflection, and contemplative dialogue.”

Facilitated by Sue Wilhelm
Cost: $75.00 Participants responsible for purchasing their own booklets (Amazon or Ave Maria Press)

Sept. 1, 2017 Session 1: Contemplative Living
Sept. 15 Session 2: Contemplative Dialogue
Oct. 6 Session 3: Exploring Life’s Question
Oct. 20 Session 4: Trusting Life, Nature, and God
Nov. 3 Session 5: Praying through
Your Changing Image of God
Nov. 17 Session 6: Doing God’s Will
Dec. 1 Session 7: Praying Out of the
Roots of Your Own Life
Dec. 15 Session 8: Compassion: Prayer in Action

Bridges to Contemplative Living, Book 5: Traveling the Road to Joy

8 sessions • 2 to 4 p.m. Fridays • September through December

In Traveling Your Road to Joy, participants examine joy in its innumerable facets. Joy is not a reward for our practice but is always a no-strings gift of book2the Holy Spirit, mediated through all the events of our lives. It is not a state of being, but the whole-hearted embrace of the divine presence.

Facilitated by Sue Wilhelm

Cost: $75.00. Participants responsible for purchasing their own booklets (Amazon or Ave Maria Press)

Sept. 1, 2017 Session 1: Living Joyfully in the Present Moment
Sept. 15 Session 2: The Joy of Being Human
Oct. 6 Session 3: Waiting for Joy through Sorrow and Anguish
Oct. 20 Session 4: Living Together with Wisdom
Nov. 3 Session 5: A Joy That Tastes God
Nov. 17 Session 6: The Joy of Doing God’s Will in Me
Dec. 1 Session 7: Being Grateful that God Is Who God Is
Dec. 15 Session 8: God’s Joyful Cosmic Dance