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Becoming a New SelfPractices of Belief in Early Modern Catholicism$
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Moshe Sluhovsky

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226472850

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226473048.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

Directing Souls

Directing Souls

(p.29) Chapter Two Directing Souls
Becoming a New Self

Moshe Sluhovsky

University of Chicago Press

The chapter follows the history of the ancient monastic practice of the direction of souls from its inception to early modern Catholicism. It argues that this monastic practice started to gain popularity among lay people during the later Middle Ages, and some religious figures, many of whom were Dominicans, gained fame as outstanding directors. The Direction of souls included the cultivation of intimate one-on-one interactions between the director and the directee, and often led to accusation of improper behavior. But as spiritual exercises of meditation and introspection were also gaining popularity, it was crucially important to supervise devout people and make sure that their spiritual experiences did not derive from demonic temptations and adhered to the church's teachings. Thus, while problematic, the practice became a cornerstone of post-Tridentine religious life, especially of monastic life.

Keywords:   Francois de Sales, Madame Acarie, Jean-Joseph Surin, spiritual direction, sacramental confession, nuns, Order of the Visitation, Teresa of Avila

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