Elisabeth K. J. Koenig, M. Div., Ph. D.
In 1978, Elisabeth asked Sister Rachel, one of the founders of the Episcopal Order of St. Helena, to be her Spiritual Director. Sr. Rachel inspired Elisabeth with her stunning integration of Christian spiritual practice and social justice and illuminated for Elisabeth dimensions of her own relationship with God that had been hidden to her before. As a result, Elisabeth began to seek an intentional relationship with God, which has been strengthened by the study of spiritual theology, and a commitment to social transformation. Over the years, she has been gratified to discover that the worldwide community of Spiritual Directors has developed along similar lines, i.e., combining ancient traditions with new discoveries in psychology, social science, and the neurosciences.
Elisabeth began serving as a Spiritual Director in the early 1980’s through the Center for Christian Spirituality at General Seminary. From that time to the present, spiritual direction has been an ongoing practice and art for Elisabeth. She has learned from and contributed to its culture, learning from people of differing beliefs and from many walks of life. Her own Spiritual Directors, both in San Diego and in New York City, have conveyed God’s love to her in a variety of ways, as have several peer supervision groups. Elisabeth is interested in a wide range of spiritual cultures and practices from Orthodox to Native American, East Asian and Christian mysticism. She has written and lectured on these traditions and benefited from their practices, as well. She also has a background in Psychology and Family Systems and is indebted to the tradition of Christian Discernment in all that she does.
Elisabeth’s style of spiritual direction centers around her belief that the heart is at the center of the human person and it is by the heart that one enters into a relationship of unity with God. Our minds can be full of distractions that work against this unity. Forms of prayer can guide the mind to descend into the heart keeping attention there, waiting for God to make His uniting, harmonizing, and integrating presence known. Thus, Elisabeth encourages prayer and other spiritual practices where God may break through as both the Challenger to mature growth and responsibility and as the Loving Healer of personal and interpersonal wounds.