Minnesota Spiritual Direction
“Our greatest task is to discover our
True Self in discovering God.”

– Thomas Merton

What is Spiritual Direction?

What would it be like to meet with someone regularly to explore your innermost questions and longings? Imagine conversations focused on spiritual connection, love, loss, desire and awareness of the Divine in your life. The listener is a trained and experienced professional who is non-judgmental, encouraging and listening deeply to God’s spirit in your journey. He brings fresh eyes and ears to your quest for spiritual balance.

The conversations are not about problem solving or fixing anything. Each of us carries the spark of the Divine within our essence. Spiritual companionship helps us stay grounded, centered and connected to our unique Divine indwelling.

Ultimately, if spiritual direction “works” you will have fully participated in the intentional and restorative process of coming home to your truest self. Just as a fine-tuned instrument harmoniously plays within an orchestra, you will experience the support and guidance for remaining in spiritual attunement.

This is the work of spiritual direction or holy listening which I have the privilege of supporting a diverse clientele in a variety of settings. 

Terry’s attentiveness and quick insight into ever deepening areas of my spiritual inquiry has been an incredible gift. I feel he “gets me” and has accurate intuitions as to directions I need to explore-(sometimes before I do, sometimes we arrive together). My most frequent response to a session is to feel met, understood and ready to explore questions further.

– Alan in Carlsbad, CA

Terry Shaughnessy Minnesota Spiritual Director

Who is Terry Shaughnessy ?

I am a seasoned spiritual director and retreat leader. I also supervise other spiritual directors in their ongoing professional development.


I have served in leadership positions for:

  • Loyola Spirituality Center
  • Sacred Ground Center
  • Men’s Spirituality program at Wisdom Ways Spirituality Center
  • MALES (Men as Learners and Elders)
  • Little Brother’s Friends of the Elderly Omaha Chapter


and served as a Board Member for:

  • Pacem In Terris Hermitage Retreat Center
  • Spiritual Direction Master’s Program, College of St. Catherine


Examples of my retreat leadership experience include:

  • Contemplative Outreach Colorado offering extended centering prayer retreats
  • Franciscan Retreat Center, Prior Lake, MN
  • The Jesuit Retreat Center, Oshkosh, WI
  • MALES & Illuman offering men’s rite of passage retreats, MN
  • Priest Retreats, Loyola Spirituality Center, MN
  • Facilitating individuals in extended 19th annotation Ignatian private retreats
  • Various parishes and organizations on topics related to Centering Prayer, Masculine Spirituality, lgnatian Spirituality, and the Enneagram


I have a Master’s degree in Theology from the Christian Spirituality Program at Creighton University. I also have Certificates in:

  • Spiritual Direction
  • Retreat Leadership
  • Supervision for Training Spiritual Directors

My wife and I are the parents of three adult children. Prior to becoming a spiritual director, I worked in sales, developed several real estate businesses and (Fun Fact!) worked as a singing guerilla and a celebrity (Radar O’Reilly) look alike.

Terry is a spiritual compass. By asking, “Is this life-giving? Are the fruits deepening love?” He keeps me aimed at true north.

– Elizabeth in Minneapolis, MN

Who I Work With

I work with women and men from a variety of faith traditions who are  seeking to deepen their spiritual lives.  

Some have specific vocational or relational questions to explore. Some have religious discernments. Others are looking for  ongoing support in their prayer practices or in living their lives  through the lens of a faith journey. 

My areas of expertise include contemplative spirituality, men’s issues,  clergy abuse, the Enneagram and spirituality – and I do not limit myself to these interests.  

A partial description of my clients include: curious seekers, those engaged in the second half of life exploration,  ministers, fellow spiritual directors and faith and business leaders. 

I’m available to meet in person in my St. Paul, MN office or by phone  or zoom. I welcome clients who are local, national and  international. 

If you’re curious whether we might be a good fit for working together, please contact me and we can explore the possibilities as well as my fees.  

Who I Work With as a Spiritual Director
The Spiritual Journey is like Rowing a Boat

The Spiritual Journey is like Rowing a Boat

The role of the Spiritual Director is like that of a guide on a spiritual rowboat  journeying together with the client (or directee) towards where God is gently inviting them. 


Imagine a Minnesota lake on a calm, foggy early morning. The client is rowing  the boat in the spiritual waters of their life, pushing forward through the journey of life, bringing their questions, longings and expressions toward Divine energy.


The Spiritual Director is a supportive, engaged presence and is familiar with much of what is being expressed along the way. He sits at the front of the boat, looking out into the mist, those mysterious dimensions of spiritual life. He is the guide familiar with the lake and the landmarks coming up. He offers his observations: a rock or obstacle that might be a barrier between the client and God. He points them out to help navigate, but the directee is the one rowing the boat—it’s their boat, their  journey, their life and the Spiritual Director supports them. 


As a guide, the Spiritual Director may have a sense of what’s coming up ahead, while also holding in his heart the story of the rower, the rearview so to speak. He gently brings this to the attention of the client – their history, struggles or good times with God – in a way that deepens the client’s perspective of their spiritual journey. 


Then a glimpse of daylight appears. The Spiritual Director can mirror back to the client changes he’s observing; the fog is beginning to break, the sun is appearing. This may represent a breakthrough and occur in a retreat, a prayer moment or a joyful experience with God.  The Spiritual Director is there to support and encourage the client toward moving with the flow of life and growing in trust with God’s love.


The rower and the guide are together in this boat. It’s a soul friendship, a  partnership—two people on the journey together, each serving a purpose. The guide observes and highlights something new or different that the rower might not see. He helps create a space of trust and openness as the rower continues along their sacred journey.

Spiritual Journey is like Rowing a Boat
For over 15 years Terry has worked with me as both a spiritual director and retreat leader in various settings. I find him to be a deep and patient listener, consistently encouraging my next steps in spiritual depth and maturity. His knowledge of the Enneagram, 12 step spirituality and Centering Prayer has supported me in ways that have uniquely served me as I approach 50 years of ministry.

– (Fr.) Kevin – Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul

Featured Article

I was recently featured in an article in U.S. Catholic Magazine regarding my work with men’s ministries. The article reports on a trend among men’s ministries to shift their focus from traditional notions of masculinity and competitiveness to emphasizing friendship and vulnerability. The article theorizes that it is a response to cultural changes and a desire for more authentic relationships among men. You can view the article at the link below.

Read article
Terry Featured Article
Image Credit: Unsplash/Adrianna Geo
Contact Terry about Minnesota Spiritual Direction

Contact Terry

    Working with Terry has been transformational.  Our conversations have consistently offered a sacred space to explore masculinity, caregiving, and justice that are rooted in a spirituality of connection to people and the earth.  Our work together has gifted me with daily practices that ground and orient me as I navigate an unsettled world.

    – Mike in St. Paul