Transforming Formation

Friday, March 15, 2024

Since its inception in 1990, the Annand program has strived to “add a spiritual grounding to students’ academic lives.”

Currently, that mission is primarily carried out through a series of offerings, including group and individual spiritual direction, workshops, retreats, and other group events focused on spiritual topics. While these offerings are essential and likely foundational for many who participate, there is currently no data on how the Annand program could be strengthened to reflect the changing needs of modern spiritual leaders.

Thus, BDS will be embarking on a research project aimed at studying the spiritual lives of students who have participated in the Annand program. The project will evaluate the program’s effectiveness through anonymous surveys and qualitative data gathered from interviews with current students and alums who participated in the program 5-15 years ago. In addition to students—past and present—we will also be surveying key stakeholders in seminary formation, including Diocesan Bishops, Transition Canons, and Deans in charge of formation in other seminaries to understand better the spiritual leadership needs in the wider church and how the Annand Program can address them.

The research will identify the strengths of the current program and gaps in spiritual education and explore categories such as resiliency, character strengths, social connection, generational differences, discernment, prayer, and contemplation. This research will also inform the project’s second phase, which involves exploring possibilities for the program’s future and identifying what students would like to see in the program.

We hope you will consider participating to help with this very important project!