Sharing the Wisdom: What I Learned from an Elder

Sharing the Wisdom: What I Learned from an Elder

I’ve been seeing another woman for the last 15 years. OK, now that I’ve got your attention, this woman is 84 years old and she is my spiritual director, Maureen.

I met Maureen after a presentation I gave about ministry burnout at a time when I was at a low point in my own ministry. I was considering the possibility of seeing a spiritual director to help me through the darkness I was experiencing when Maureen approached me, introduced herself, and blurted out, “I do spiritual direction.” She later told me that she had never done that before and had no idea what moved her to say it to me, but we both now realize that it was the movement of the Holy Spirit bringing us together.

Since that time, I have spent an hour with Maureen once per month, talking about how I’m encountering God in my life experiences and listening to her share her insights as she draws from the seemingly infinite wisdom she has amassed over the span of her lifetime. Maureen has been and continues to be the wisdom figure in my life, and I pray that some day I may have even a fraction of the wisdom she has, as well as the gift of being able to share it with others, as she does so generously.

All this week here at Catechist’s Journey, we’ll be sharing stories of wisdom learned from our elders. We’re all inspired by Sharing the Wisdom of Time by Pope Francis and Friends. We hope you are too and want to read your stories of elders who have impacted you in a positive way! Visit to get started.

About Joe Paprocki 2739 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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