Anamcharadas has been a life-saver for me, and I am not exaggerating. I was living ‘down the country’ in a little rural community where it was very difficult to find someone to really share my spiritual search.
In Anamcharadas I found a safe haven where I met kindred spirits who were also searching … and now that I have an established link with Anam Cáirde I feel encouraged to share and to reach out to others who also are on a God-quest and hoping for an understanding heart-ear.
During the two years of Anamcharadas training, I felt carried in the gentle, firm care of the team and in the loving trusting atmosphere in the whole group. It was an enriching graced experience.
The weekends were crafted with great skill, leading to a growth in precious insights into the world of spiritual direction in the Ignatian tradition.
Participating in this course provided me with more nourishment, more challenge, and more ways to experience, explore and understand my own particular spiritual journey than I could ever have imagined. It was not an easy course, it demanded time and attention and real engagement, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. The team with a vast array of experience between them effortlessly provided a warm hospitable, and safe environment to do the deep work of learning what it means to be a spiritual companion. Over the two years I experienced real community with the other participants, and am so grateful that this community of support continues now through our regular get togethers for practice and prayer. I will be forever thankful that I discovered, and was accepted on this course, and I imagine I will be drawing from its well for many years to come.
Have you ever asked yourself, is this it? Is this what life is all about? Surely there must be something more? Lives have become so pressurised, demanding and stressful that all sense of balance and fulfilment gets lost in a web of loneliness and isolation. What I am talking about here is “my life”! But perhaps you can identify with it too? An awareness of the lack of purpose, meaning and sense of belonging in my life, set me on a soul searching quest for answers. It was at this point that I received my most valued treasure; a spiritual companion, who journeyed with me and helped me get in touch with the truth of my being. This in turn brought me into contact with Anamcharadas where a new chapter in my life began. Any apprehensions I may have had quickly disappeared as I embarked on a course that gave me an opportunity to get off the merry go round and take time out of my hectic life style. I looked forward to each weekend which promised something new and exciting. In the company of likeminded people I began a journey of self-discovery and transformation that enriched both my life and those I came in contact with. Armed with new skills, a better sense of self and a deeper awareness of what is beautiful, true and just; I feel alive, excited and enthusiastic about life. The boat has launched, the sails are up and I am waiting for the wind to take hold of the sails of my life and blow me wherever it will.
I had a deep desire to do a spiritual accompanying course. When I applied for the course with Anamcharadas I decided to be honest and open about me being a gay man. I thought I would be rejected, but I encountered such an embrace, compassion, support and unconditional love that really struck me and blew open my heart and mind. I really encountered the spirit of genuine Christianity and companionship. It’s been a journey not about perfection and playing a role of a Spiritual Director, but about allowing oneself become vulnerable, opening up to the Spirit and about being open for healing and spiritual pilgrimage. I have to tell you truthfully, it was one of the best times in my life but also one of the most difficult. I feel proud to be a member of this community and I still feel a strong connection between us (participants, facilitators, members of Anamchadaras). If you have the guts and desire to be honest, curious, open, vulnerable and courageous, and want the training to be a spiritual companion, then do not hesitate, go for it. Warning: it‘s not a school of theory; it is real, joyful, tearful and transforming.
For me, the training programme with Anamcharadas was a very special experience, where I felt encouraged, challenged and supported in my spiritual journey. I truly appreciated the openness, compassion and inspiration within the group – nurturing the music of my soul!