Dr. Devoree Clifton Crist is a spiritual director with a Masters of Theological Studies from Eden Theological Seminary and a graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis. She also holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from Washington University in St. Louis (now retired).
My background is Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with Roman Catholic roots. I am married with two adult children. I believe my ministry is walking with those desiring a closer relationship with God and helping them to become more aware of the Holy in all aspects of life. I am experienced with persons of diverse backgrounds and faiths, clergy, young adults and older adults. My special interests include liturgy (ritual), art, music and youth ministry.
I have come to this place in my life by an interesting path. I grew up in the Roman Catholic church and my own theology is rooted there. I have felt the presence of God in my life since I can remember with a very devout mother and grandmother as my primary mentors. I have prayed for guidance in all major decisions and felt called to service in the form of medicine which I practiced for nearly 20 years. At that time I felt torn because my calling to serve ran into tension with treating disease not people. I thought I would move to a more holistic approach and sought to deepen my understanding of scripture and theology as foundation. In the process I found myself seeking a degree in theological studies. As I finished the program I was astonished to find in prayerful discernment that I was being called to ministry rather than medicine. I have followed that calling and currently am a spiritual director. It is a perfect fit for me. I have used my knowledge of medicine countless times in the work I do leading me to believe that it was a necessary part of my own journey. It is my hope that I might continue to be instrumental in helping others in their journeys to a closer relationship with God. I believe that God comes to us where we are and will be present always loving us no matter our path. It is our task to become more aware of and pay attention to God's loving presence in our lives.
Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk said, “Spiritual direction is, in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and obey the real Director — the Holy Spirit hidden in the depths of our soul.”
I like this statement. I see spiritual direction as a walk with another in their search for meaning, closer relationship with God, or development of their innate spirituality. It is a privilege to companion another in this journey. We are all spiritual beings. Though we may each speak of it differently there seems to be a part of our nature that moves us to seek meaning, to want more so that we might be whole and fulfilled. In spiritual direction a person opens him/herself to that divine/holy/sacred spark. The task of the Spiritual Director is to listen carefully as the seeker spends time understanding who they really are. As the person shares thoughts, desires, concerns or spiritual experiences, the spiritual companion listens and reflects or mirrors these ideas back to help the person savor and appreciate God's presence in life. Spiritual direction is beneficial for anyone who wishes to have a deeper spiritual life no matter where they are on their journey. The spiritual journey is long. At times it can be easy, difficult, confusing, or even scary or painful. Having someone to help sort things out or suggest other points of view can be life giving and open one to greater connection with the Holy.