Looking to talk to a trusted person about some of the big questions in life? Siena now offers spiritual companionship for all students.
What is spiritual companionship? It’s one-on-one support and guidance for the honest self-examination needed for personal development and growth. Who am I, and what is mine to do? How do I find my path in life? How can I form better relationships?
“We walk with people on their life journey and help them answer important questions,” said Fr. Larry Anderson, O.F.M., campus chaplain. “We accompany people, so they know they are not alone.”
Siena’s Spiritual Companionship team is made up of Fr. Larry; Beth DeAngelis, senior director of the Sr. Thea Bowman Center for Women; Fr. Sean O’Brien, director of the mentoring program; and Deacon Nick Ascioti, assistant campus minister. Appointments can be made by emailing any member of the team. You can meet in person (distanced and masked) or via Zoom.
DeAngelis said they are available to help students work through questions of life purpose, determining a career path, discovering meaning in life, building and healing relationships, and much more. If you have a faith tradition, the companions can share relevant texts if you wish.
“Our students need to have a sense of belonging,” she said. “This is simply talking to a trusted person who can help you explore your inner personal life and offer moral support.”
What is it not? Spiritual companionship is not a therapy session, a wellness visit, or confession, although these are all offered for Siena students by other campus offices. (If the team feels another kind of service is needed, they will refer the student to it.)
Fr. Larry said that with its core values and traditions, Siena is well-positioned to embrace the concept of spiritual companionship.
“One of our gifts as a Franciscan institution is being intentionally present for one another and listening,” he said. “We’re at our best when we’re reaching out to other people.”