Kay Vander Vort
Kay is the first laywoman to have joined the staff of Loyola Spirituality Center in 1985. Trained in spiritual direction at the Wayzata Cenacle, she earned her Masters Degree in Theology St. Catherine University. From 1997 to 2012 Kay served as Director of the Graduate Certificate program in Spiritual Direction at St. Catherine’s.
In 1994 Kay was presented an award by the Commission on Women of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul for her involvement in “Walking with women through spiritual direction and coordinating the Theological Insights Program at St. Catherine University.” Kay has co-edited a book: Walking in Two Worlds: Women’s Spiritual Path.
Some of Kay’s special interests in working with others in spiritual direction include the Enneagram, dreams, life transitions, the Spiritual Exercises, Centering Prayer andjournaling. Her spirituality is influenced by Vatican II.
In her words: My “call” to become a spiritual director grew out of my experience of making the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. In the Exercises I learned to pray with scripture which later led me to study scripture on a graduate level. The early training for spiritual directors at the Wayzata Cenacle was a one-to-one tutorial with a Cenacle sister. Later as the training for spiritual directors grew more formal, I became one of the teachers.
Perhaps an early indicator of what has become my passion is my joy in story. As a child I loved to read and see movies. Movies, plays and good books are still a favorite pastime as well as having one-on-one conversations with friends, children and grandchildren. In spiritual direction I am blessed by listening to life stories.
The gift of spiritual direction seems even more precious to me these days as I observe the communication changes brought about by technology. Spiritual direction offers the opportunity to spend at least one hour each month to explore the traces of God in one’s life as well as other aspects that are part of the human journey. This is in vivid contrast to modern communication which so often consists of “sound bites.”
My own life has been the crucible for my work with transitions. It grieved me when my children left home, particularly when my oldest son, Mark joined the Peace Corps, served in Africa, and later decided to live and work there. After the “empty nest,” I experienced divorce. I lived alone for 10 years. I married again. Nurturing relationships with adult stepchildren and stepgrandchildren as well as cherishing my own four children, their spouses and my 15 grandchildren is an important part of my spirituality. I am looking more closely at the transition of aging as I and my friends see the decades slipping by.