Franciscan Spirituality Center920 Market StreetLa Crosse, WI 54601608-791-5295https://www.fscenter.orgBob Schmidt: In this episode, we’re going to be doing something a little different. Steve Spildewill be talking to many people who’ve been through the SDPP program. Steve, a lot of peopledon’t know what SDPP is. What is it?Steve Spilde: SDPP is the Spiritual Direction Preparation Program. It’s a three-year programwhere people train to become what is known as Spiritual Directors, or Spiritual Companions.Primarily, it’s an opportunity for people to become better listeners. And in order to do that,people need to examine what it is that blocks them from being good listeners. So they create anopen space within their heart so they can hear the stories of other people.Bob: While doing the editing for this podcast, I had a chance to listen to a lot of different peopletalk about what they’ve gotten out of the Spiritual Direction Preparation Program. What did youget out of it?Steve: I became a better listener – period. I became a better listener to my wife, a better listenerto my daughter, a better listener to my friends. And I think it opened the door for me to do thework that I do leading retreats, leading workshops, meeting with people one-to-one, [and] reallyhearing the stories people need to tell. In order for me to do that, I really had to learn how tolisten to my own story and not edit out parts, but listen to all my story – the painful parts, the sadparts, the angry parts, the hurt parts [and] just get really comfortable. This is my story, and nowI can show up and listen to whatever story you need to tell. And I’m not going to ask you to edityour story. You can tell whatever story you need to tell, and hopefully I’m prepared to hear that.Bob: Who is Steve Spilde?Steve: Steve Spilde is Director of the Spiritual Direction Preparation Program. He works as aSpiritual Director and Retreat Leader at the Franciscan Spirituality Center. Steve is husband toJeannette and father to Sofia. Sofia has some challenges related to Autism, which has been a bigpart of my story. It’s really opened me up to the possibility that life doesn’t always turn out theway you might plan. But sometimes these things that seem pretty bad on the front end turn outto have gifts, and turn out to offer opportunities. And that’s certainly been the case with ourdaughter, Sofia. [She’s a] wonderful kid. [She’s] funny. But not what I would expect.Bob: Steve, would you say life turns out the way it’s supposed to turn out?Steve: I don’t know if there’s a “supposed to.” I think part of that is just being open to howeverit turns out, that, “Wow, I think there’s goodness here.” I’m hesitant to say that because I knowsome people who have suffered some terrible losses, and I don’t want to disrespect them bysaying, “Well, that’s the way it was supposed to happen.” I don’t know if any of these things aresupposed to happen. But I do have faith that even really horrible things that happen, gifts andopportunities can come through new relationships, new learnings. And oftentimes, we findsupport that we didn’t know we had before.FSPA Podcast2Bob: Over the last many years of being the Spiritual Director Preparation Program Director, I’massuming you learned a lot of things over the years. What takeaways have you had?Steve: We recently had a presenter here at the center for some other retreat. Her name is DianaButler Bass; she was on the podcast several months ago. [She’s a] wonderful author. She wastalking about the concept of re-membering. One understanding of that term “re-membering” isthe “re-membering.” All of us are composed of different parts of ourselves [such as] differentages [and] different sides of our personality – just different members within ourselves. Theprocess of "re-membering” is the bringing all those parts together [and] bringing rejected parts ofourselves back home. And I think that’s the part that’s really rewarding for me: seeing people inSDPP being able to embrace all of their stories. Maybe they had periods of loss in their life. Arelationship didn’t work out. A job didn’t work out. When they tell the story of their life,oftentimes that’s a part of their story that they try to hide. [It’s] really unfortunate becausesometimes that story really shapes who they are. Being able to claim all of the pieces of mystory have contributed to make me who I am. And I think people come out of the program morewhole, more at peace, and their hearts are more open. They’re better able to accept themselves,and accept the people they meet.Bob: I think a good place to start is to find out a little bit more about the participants.