Spiritual Companionship Program


The Spiritual Companionship Program is a 19-month program to train people to respond to the growing need for spiritual companions. It is designed to introduce the theory, spirituality, and practice of spiritual companionship for Christians today.

To be a Spiritual Companion means that you offer yourself as a fellow traveler and a guide along the journey of faith. This program is designed to teach those who may have the gift of offering spiritual guidance to others, but who have not had any formal training in spiritual companionship.

Upon completion of this program, Spiritual Companions will serve as a resource in their faith community for others desiring their help in discerning the work of the Holy Spirit in their life. When you fulfill the requirements of this program and complete it, you will receive a certificate of completion.

This program has been designed by those who are spiritual companions themselves, including:


Sr. Joetta Huelsmann, PHJC

Sr. Joetta has trained Spiritual Companions since 2009. Since then, six groups of fifty-six people have graduated.

She is the former director of John XXIII Retreat Center and now serves on the PHJC Provincial Leadership Team of the American Province. Sister Joetta has training in Ignatian Spirituality and is a graduate of the Shalem Institute of Spiritual Guidance.

Her master’s degree is in Human and Religious Studies and she holds bachelor’s degree in English with an Elementary Education minor. She has been a spiritual director for 35 years with experience in parish ministry as well. Sister Joetta is a member of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.


Rev. James Hilleson, MDiv, BCC

James is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, serving parishes in Ohio and Indiana for 27 years. In 2008, he began serving as Director of Spiritual Care & Chaplaincy Services at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, IN. He was endorsed by the ELCA for chaplaincy ministry and is a board-certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains.

James’ MDiv. is from Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, IA and his BS in Social Work is from Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN.

In 2000, he received a Lilly Clergy Renewal Grant and studied Ecumenical relations with an emphasis in Jewish, Islamic and Christian studies. Part of his sabbatical included a 5-week study trip with the Tantur Institute, a Roman Catholic Ecumenical study community located between Jerusalem & Bethlehem, The Holy Land. He is a Spiritual Director/Companion, having completed the Spiritual Direction program at John XXIII Retreat Center, formerly in Hartford City, IN.

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