Delve deeper into your own communion with Jesus Christ and equip yourself to receive fruitfully from the life of grace. Build the foundation for a life of leading yourself and others into a relationship with the Triune God.

Today, the Church and world are in deep need of people of spiritual depth enjoying communion with the Holy Trinity and attuned to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Our Certificate in Prayer and Spiritual Direction program will form you to become such a person. Through courses taught by Monsignor Thomas J. Richter, Monsignor James P. Shea, and Father Wayne Sattler, you will deepen your own life of prayer as a disciple of Christ – clergy, religious, or lay leader. You'll begin to gain the knowledge, virtues, and skills necessary to bring others into an ever more faithful and fruitful experience of prayer and devotion while you explore the historic monastic tradition of prayer and spiritual direction and apply it to the present day.

This certificate can be combined with the graduate certificates in Marriage and Family and Sacred Scripture to complete the requirements of the MA in Applied Catholic Theology.

Take the First Step

Get in touch with any questions or submit the simple application for admission.
We will assist you every step of the way toward acceptance so you can enroll and begin your classes!

At a Glance

Study with Monsignor Thomas J. Richter, Monsignor James P. Shea, and Father Wayne Sattler

Program Length

1 semester/9 credits


  • Online with on-campus institute
  • In-Person

Tuition per Graduation Credit*


Students not seeking graduate credit should contact us for more options.

Is This the Degree For Me?

Who It’s For

  • Those who wish to deepen their lives of prayer
  • Directors of Religious Education (DREs)
  • Diocesan and Parish Personnel
  • Clergy
  • Volunteers involved in faith formation
  • Counselors and those seeking the beginnings of a training in spiritual direction

Career Paths

  • Spiritual Direction (with additional coursework and practicum)
  • Theology and Religion Instructor
  • Church Leader
  • Counselor (with additional education and licensing)
  • Director of Religious Education
  • Faith Community Leader
  • Church Leader
  • Missionary Work

What You’ll Learn

  • Experience the principles and dynamics of Christian prayer.
  • Become familiar with the spiritual and mystical tradition of Catholic Christianity.
  • Explore how the pathways of spiritual illumination opened up by this tradition in its various expressions bring freedom and peace to the human heart.
  • Understand the effects of personal and communal sin on one’s relationship with God.
  • Learn prayerful means of experiencing healing through encounters with Divine Love.

The Covenant School of Spiritual Direction

Our certificate program provides a firm foundation for the spiritual life and assists students to receive spiritual direction fruitfully. Some graduates of our program proceed to earn their certification as a Spiritual Director through our partnership with the Sioux Spiritual Center.

Program Details

Program Information

Please visit our catalog for admission requirements and a full list of our courses.

Your first step is to get in touch with any questions or submit the simple application for admission. We will assist you every step of the way toward acceptance so you can enroll and begin your classes!

If you are serving or have served our country, we sincerely thank you. Our military services office is here to work closely with active duty, retired, reserve, and eligible family members qualified for military benefits. Learn how we can help you with the application process and review the benefits you have earned.

Being with God: What Happens in Prayer

Consider the fundamental principles for the understanding and practice of truly relational Christian prayer. Students will aim to awaken the heart in faith to a deeper lived relationship with God in Jesus Christ. In this course, emphasis is given to the identity of the Christian as a beloved son or daughter of God as foundational for a life of effective apostolic mission.

Sanctity and Sanity: The Christian Spiritual Tradition

Explore the historical development, sweeping influence, and fruit of the Church’s spiritual and mystical tradition through the ages. Specific consideration in this course is given to the treasures of Benedictine monasticism, Carmelite spirituality, and Ignatian Discernment of Spirits. This tradition is then brought to bear upon some key obstacles to interiority presented by modern life.

Transformation and Renewal: Healing the Mind

Examine impediments to communion with God arising both from fallen human nature and from the fragmentation of contemporary life and culture. In the context of the practice of the presence of God, this course treats themes of grace, acedia, shame, resilience, and the importance of a sanctified imagination for growing into a true vision of others, the self, the world, and God.

For a full list of fees, visit our Tuition and Fees page.

The University of Mary is committed to putting your educational goals within reach. Learn what scholarships you qualify for.

We welcome students from various backgrounds, including transfer students from regionally accredited colleges and universities and those with military or career and work experience. 

How do I show my previous college, military, or work experience?

  • Official transcripts (if applicable) from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 should be submitted directly to the Office of Admissions.

    • Did you graduate from the University of Mary? Then we’ll get your Mary transcript for you!
    • At most other schools, you can request transcripts by going to the National Student Clearinghouse or by contacting the registrar’s office. 
      • Have your transcripts sent to:
        Office of Admissions
        University of Mary
        7500 University Drive
        Bismarck, ND 58504
      • Or request to send electronic transcripts to
  • Students with previous career or work experience can earn credits for prior learning.
    • You can choose to test for prior learning credits — we convert your test scores into college credit.
    • You can request a portfolio review for prior learning credits. You’ll assemble documentation to show your experience, which will be reviewed and evaluated by an experienced faculty member.
  • Military experience can count towards a degree.


  • All of our programs require you to fill out the general application form in addition to submitting the application fee and your transcripts.
  • Any program-specific requirements you’ll need to submit in addition to the items listed above can be found in our catalog.

At the University of Mary, we review every application on an individual basis, ensuring that the materials you submit are evaluated with care and attention. Reach out to us if you have any questions in filling out your application.

Get Started Today

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