Come and draw from the well

Spiritual center operated by the religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Spiritual companioning

Because faith is deeply personal, but is not confined to you, the Sophie Barat Centre suggests that you sample spiritual companioning. As it forms an integral part of the retreats, it is also offered all through the year for those who wish.

What is companioning?
The Church has always sent spiritual companions to those who seek truth and seek God. Ignatian spirituality has made use of this tradition through the method of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola.

Companioning is a relationship of three persons. On the one hand the companion, on the other the person being companioned. And then the Master within, the one who teaches and opens the heart.

In practical terms, spiritual companioning is a dialogue in which the person being companioned talks about their prayer, joys, plans, difficulties, doubts, fears… It is in the “compost” of your life that you can see God at work and recognise what He is calling you to do. The companion helps you to sort things out, to put first what is most important, and to discern what leads towards Life. In no circumstances will the companion make a decision on your behalf, but will help you to be clear and to distinguish how the Spirit is acting within. Suggestions may also be made for human and spiritual growth.

During an Ignatian retreat, the companion will find a way of meditating that suits you, and a series of biblical texts which follow the dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises.

Echo from a woman companion
Companioning leads me into a deep experience of:

  • touching holy ground, going barefoot into the other person’s heart
  • witnessing God’s entry into the life of the one I am companioning
  • experiencing myself as a channel for living water
  • walking the road together, certain that the Spirit is leading us
  • inviting the other person to perceive, to contemplate, to be convinced of the truth that the Trinity lives in us
  • being certain that after the night, He is the light
  • giving the other person pointers to the way of freedom, listening to God’s profound desire for each one
  • listening with an open, free and compassionate heart
  • redirecting clearly, able to ask questions that go to the heart of the matter, without prompting answers that could be an invasion of privacy
  • letting myself be touched by the other person’s words


Mariela Peña, rscj