This month’s profile features Andrea Le Roy.
Beginning March 13, Andrea will be leading a six-week series of Lectio Divina at COS. All COS members and friends are welcome to participate.
Interviewer: I understand, Andrea, that you are a spiritual director.
Interviewer: Tell us, what is
Andrea: It’s a spiritual practice that usually takes place between two people. It involves deep listening – deep spiritual listening. It is a way of opening yourself up to God, deepening your relationship with God. It is one person helping another person in discerning God’s activity and presence in your life.
Interviewer: How did you get involved with it?
Andrea: For a long time, I had a sense that it was something I wanted to pursue but I had young children and I was working. It’s a practice that involves slowing down in a way; it seems to draw or benefit people who are in the second half of life not exclusively, but that’s definitely been the case for
Interviewer: Can you say a bit more about what this has meant for you personally and how it has nurtured your relationship with God?
Andrea: There are lots of spiritual practices – contemplative prayer,
Interviewer: Spiritual direction has its roots in the contemplative tradition, doesn’t it?
Andrea: Yes, that’s right. I think we can trace its origins back to St. Ignatius. He wrote a book on
Interviewer: Such as all the schools that have Loyola in their name.
Andrea: That’s one of the things I liked about the program at the Dominican Center, they use Ignatian spirituality as their foundation for how they teach and train. So, it has pretty deep roots.
Interviewer: COS is a church that is actively involved in outreach ministries. How do you see this approach as enriching the life of a church like COS?
Andrea: Contemplatives, like Thomas Merton, for example, would say that contemplation prepares us for action. Contemplation is not just for our own nourishment. It is to nourish us for action. So, I think that it’s a perfect fit with a church that is committed to outreach for keeping us grounded and nourished; it can help prevent burnout and cynicism.
Interviewer: You are going to be starting a program here at COS, right?
Andrea: It will be during Lent. It will be on six Wednesdays. We will spend 45 minutes in
Interviewer: Do you have a particular audience in mind?
Andrea: No, it’s open to the whole church. Absolutely. when I met with Karen and Chris, there was a real sense that this could be a lovely opportunity for the staff and anyone else who would come. It’s just six weeks; it’s over the lunch hour, so if people work within a proximity of the church, they can get here. We will definitely honor that time frame so if people have a hard stop, they can get to where they need to go next.
We’ll see how it goes. Unfortunately, with Michael and my schedule, I don’t feel very involved here. It’s not because I don’t want to be; it’s because we are not here a lot. Chris said, “You should probably get up and make an announcement after church.” And I said, “I would, but we are not going to be here any Sundays in March.” I’ll be here during the week, but we are often out of town on Sundays.
Interviewer: So, you often travel with Michael then.
Andrea: Now that there are no children at home, I can. There are lots of advancement dinners and events and it works well for us to be there together. As a result, it has been very difficult for us to dive into the life of the church. That is very different for us. Wherever we had been we have always been very involved – we were elders, Sunday school teachers – we did all that. So, it’s a strange feeling not to be doing that. This church is an important place for us – we want to be here. It nourishes us when we are here. I run
Interviewer: And there are no prerequisites for this, right?
Andrea: No, none. Just a warm body. You don’t have to bring a bible; you don’t have to read anything ahead of time. My role is to facilitate it so that people can experience this prayer form without having to worry about time-keeping and “What do I do?” and “Am I doing it right?”
Interviewer: So, for people for whom this is brand new, who have never tried this before, who are willing to take a risk, this is OK, right?
Andrea: Oh, yeh. It’s very safe. If you are a person that feels drawn to some ideas of contemplation or have read something about it and were moved or at least curious, this is a safe and welcoming place to start.
Interviewer: OK. And thank you for talking with us and for what you will soon be doing!
This interview was conducted by Jim Bradley on February 26, 2019