Claret Center


Chris Hopkins and Father Ron Stua,
C.M.F., share a laugh during
spiritual direction at the
Claret Center.

Helping people cultivate a deeper relationship with God has always been a Claretian endeavor, and through the Claretian ministry of spiritual direction, many have found healing and hope by being accompanied in growth in their prayer lives. Claret Center, named for Claretian founder St. Anthony Claret, has offered spiritual direction in Chicago for more than 25 years.

Mary Ellen Moore, a sister of the Society of Helpers and co-founder of Claret Center, says it is a privilege to walk with the people of God on their journeys.

“We hear the lived experience of the church,” she says. “Not the theory, not what it should be, but the lived experience of people of the church, and that’s a very valuable perspective.”

The aim of spiritual direction is to accompany a person on their faith journey. Rodrigo Ulloa, a Maryknoll seminarian who sees a director at Claret Center, describes it as “a conversation in which the spiritual director allows me to see God in many events in my life when I didn’t realize God was there. ”Claret Center is unique because it combines spiritual direction and psychotherapy when appropriate.

“The diversity of the people we serve is certainly a gift, and it’s also quite a challenge,” Father Cirone says.

Father Ron Stua, C.M.F. emphasizes the strength of Claret Center’s staff. Despite their diverse backgrounds and busy schedules, the staff of 12 functions as a tight-knit community. Their comfort with each other translates into a relaxed atmosphere at the center.

Chris Hopkins sees Father Stua for direction every six weeks and calls Claret Center “a lifesaver.” “It’s affirming,” she says, “and there’s a wonderful balance about the place.”

Rodrigo too says the benefits of direction are vast, as he has become a more confident and secure person.

“Direction teaches you to be transparent to dance as though no one is watching, to sing as if no one is listening, to be who you are no matter what.”

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