Two new spiritual directors want to help folks find God in their lives

September 12, 2023

Spiritual directors Cathy Jordan and April Young

The Diocese has two newly trained women who can help others see how God works in their lives through spiritual direction.

Cathy Jordan, of St. Mary of Nazareth Parish in Des Moines, completed a program at the Franciscan Spirituality Center in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

April Young, of St. Theresa Parish in Des Moines, completed a program at Creighton University in Omaha. 

Both Jordan and Young had visited with spiritual directors for years. Through prayer, discussion and discovery they came to see how God is present in their lives. They were so touched by the depth their own spiritual lives had reached through spiritual direction, they want to help others find that peace and love.

Father Dan Krettek, who assists at Emmaus House in retirement after having been on staff there, encouraged both Jordan and Young to be trained as spiritual directors. He wanted to support lay women in their ministry. And, he said, spiritual direction is not reserved for priests or professed religious. Rather, “real life regular people do spiritual direction as well.”

Cathy Jordan
Jordan’s experience with spiritual direction carved out a space in her life that allowed her to pay attention, to slow down, and see how God was active in her life. 

“Through my spiriutal director’s deep listening and questions, I was encouraged to continually go deeper and through that I experienced a greater capacity for love for God, love for myself, love for others, and really love for all of creation,” she said. 

Over time, Jordan could see a change in herself. 

“I thought this gift was given to me and I should see if I could give it to others,” she said.

She found a program through the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and began about the same time the pandemic changed everyone’s lives.

“I think that was another catalyst” in the decision to become a spiritual director, she said. “When that happened, I thought I need to look at this more closely because I can see how important it is for us to listen to each other.”

Spiritual direction is “an act of deep listening of one person to another. It is not fixing. It’s not therapy,” Jordan said. “It’s allowing a person to tell their own story and hear their own story for the first time. They realize where God is present in their lives where maybe they didn’t realize it before.”

She’s not sure how God will lead her to use her talent as a spiritual director, but she’s sure it’s needed in society.

“If everyone was in spiritual direction, I can’t imagine what the world would be like. I just think it would be a more compassionate and kind place,” she said.

April Young
Young was in her 20s working as an administrative assistant and wondering what she ought to do with her life when someone recommended she get a spiritual director. She was thinking God might be calling her to religious life. 

Turns out, he wasn’t.

But Young kept going for spiritual direction because it was so much more than she thought it would be.

“It opened up way more than I ever expected. I thought spiritual direction was, like, pray these three prayers and call me in the morning,” she said. “It helped me begin to understand and listen to the movements in my life and understand how God was working within my own gifts and where I really felt like I was in the right place at the right time, and where I was feeling consolation and desolation.”

Her path to fulfilling her vocation was circuitous. 

She thought she would be a hospital chaplain and volunteered at Mercy Hospice to get a flavor for that ministry. She became a pastoral minister at St. Theresa Church in Des Moines and spent time at UnityPoint Hospital to get experience while returning to school to earn a master’s degree in pastoral care.

Along the way, she discovered she preferred pastoral care because she liked developing longer-term relationships than hospital chaplaincy allowed.

After working a couple of  years at St. Theresa, she served at Bishop Drumm, where she continued to examine what she really liked to do.

All along this route, she was still talking with a spiritual director.

“That’s when I began, again, to listen to what I felt would be the best fit for me” and she applied to Creighton University’s spiritual direction formation program.

“It was transformative beyond my wildest imagination,” Young said. “In the last year, I’ve experienced an absolutely phenomenal amount of transformation and healing.”

Inspired by an image of Mary meeting her cousin, Elizabeth, Young says this is the scriptural foundation for her ministry.
“It’s a privilege and an honor to hear how God is working in people’s live and allow myself to be a vessel, to have God work through me in that relationship,” Young said.  

Young, who works at Emmaus House in Urbandale, now accompanies others through spiritual direction while continuing her own journey with her spiritual director.

She said: “Who is a good candidate for spiritual direction? Anyone who wants to grow in their relationship with God.”

To find a spiritual director in the Des Moines Diocese, go to