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The Ignatian Spirituality Institute (ISI) offers a two-year educational program for the training of spiritual directors in the tradition of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola. First-year students learn about the life of Ignatius, the Spiritual Exercises, and the history of spirituality. In the second year, practical skills of spiritual direction are emphasized. At the conclusion of the two years, students receive a certificate in spiritual direction from John Carroll. 

The ISI welcomes those who serve in parishes, retreat ministries, campus ministry, and other Church-related works.  Men and women of diverse faith and professional backgrounds are welcome. The ISI offers theological and spiritual tools for deepening Christian life and ministry, in schools, church congregations, or other ministries. Undergraduate students may participate as part of the 10-credit TRS internship.

As an affiliate program of John Carroll University’s Office of Mission and Identity, the ISI conducts all courses at the University.

Simply stated, a spiritual director is one who accompanies another in their life of faith, and their relationship with God. The core of this relationship concerns spiritual experience and discernment.

Based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, ISI courses focus on the study of contemporary theology with classroom sessions, retreats, small group work, and a supervised practicum during the second year.

The program is designed around three areas of study:

• The writings of St. Ignatius Loyola: Autobiography, Spiritual Exercises, Letters, Diary, and contemporary commentary

• Spirituality: Ignatius and the Christian Mystical Tradition, Christology, discernment

• Spiritual direction: art and practice


  • A completed application, a written spiritual autobiography, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and an interview with the Director of ISI


  • $3,000 per year or $1,500 per semester due at the beginning of each semester. Scholarships are available.

  • More information regarding the total cost of attendance can be found here.

Apply here!



Rev. Thomas J. Pipp, S.J.

Ordained to the Society of Jesus in 1992, Rev. Thomas J. Pipp, S.J. currently serves as Director of the Ignatian Spirituality Institute at John Carroll University. Fr. Pipp is the superior of the Jesuit Community at John Carroll.

Tom has two degrees in theology from the (former) Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California. 



Bill Hobbs

Bill Hobbs serves as an instructor for the ISI, as well as the Director of the Jesuit Retreat Center in Parma, Ohio. Bill has had a long and vibrant career in Catholic education and Jesuit ministry. A native of South Jersey, Bill earned undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and Theology at Saint Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania before obtaining his master’s degree in Adolescent Religious Development from Fordham University in New York City.

Bill then joined the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus in 1991, but later left the Jesuits to work in both Benedictine and Sacred Heart Schools before returning to Jesuit education at Rochester’s McQuaid Jesuit as Principal and President. He went on to earn a Doctorate in Education, with a focus on Spirituality and Leadership, as well as a certificate in spiritual direction through the Haden Institute in North Carolina, where he serves as a faculty member and mentor.



Liz Woconish

Liz Woconish has ministered in spiritual direction, retreats, education and parish work for more than 25 years. In addition to her role as an instructor for the ISI, Liz is the Director of Religious Education at St. Dominic Parish in Shaker Heights, Ohio where she has served the large, dynamic, and diverse parish since 2013.

Originally from Elyria, Ohio, Liz earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Notre Dame College in South Euclid. She also holds a Master of Arts degree in Christian Spirituality and Certification as a Spiritual Director/Retreat Director from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Liz lived as a vowed member of the Sisters of Notre Dame for a time, and now finds God in all things as a wife and mother. She currently resides in the Cleveland area with her husband and daughter.

Michelle Buehrer


Phone: 216.397.1599


Mass with Commissioning of Spiritual Directors, Sunday, May 5th, 2024.