At the heart of the Bridges retreat are trained prayer companions who meet weekly with retreatants to accompany them, answer questions and, most importantly, listen to their stories and responses to the work of the Spirit as they make their way through the wisdom of St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises.

Applications are accepted each spring for those interested in becoming a Bridges prayer companion. Applicants must have received the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola according to the 19th or 20th annotations and have participated fully in the “Dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises” small group offered through the Magis Program.

Below is an outline of the complete discernment process for becoming a prayer companion, and attached at the bottom of the page are the application form, the form for required letters of recommendation, and a PDF of the brochure about the program. For more information, contact Marian Love, facilitator of the Prayer Companion Training Program, at

Discernment Process for Becoming
A Bridges Prayer Companion

  1. Receive the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola according to the 19th or 20th annotations.
  2. Participate fully in the Magis small group, “Dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises” (one absence allowed per semester).
  3. Begin meeting regularly with a spiritual director. If you don’t have one, there is a good listing of St. Louis directors HERE or you can contact Marian Love, Facilitator of the Prayer Companion Training and Chair of New Prayer Companion Review Committee, at:
  4. After at least one year of Magis and full participation in the “Dynamics” small group, complete the form below for application into the Prayer Companion Training Magis small group, along with two letters of recommendation. These recommendations can come from your Bridges prayer companion, your spiritual director and/or another appropriate source. The form for these letters is also included below.
  5. Complete application by June 1 of the application year and mail to: Marian Love, Chair, New Prayer Companion Training Program, 709 Wickerleigh Terrace, Fenton, MO 63026.
  6. Review of the Application: The New Prayer Companion Review Committee will review your application and letters of recommendation. This review committee includes the Facilitator of the Prayer Companion Training Program and two other members who are first-year prayer companion mentors. The review may include consultation with the applicant’s Bridges prayer companion and facilitators of Magis small groups. If the Review Committee determines the applicant is not ready to enter the Prayer Companion Training Program, the Chair will notify this applicant.
  7. Acceptance into the Magis Prayer Companion Training small group.
    1. Participate fully (one absence allowed per semester) in the Prayer
      Companion Training Program Small Group* and continue with spiritual direction.
    2. Following completion of this Magis small group: Receive recommendation from the Review Committee and endorsement from the instructor indicating the person has a clear understanding of the dynamics and structure of the Spiritual Exercises.
  8. Complete “Application for Entrance into the Mentoring Program.”
    1. A First Year Prayer Companion will meet regularly with an assigned
      mentor; mentors are available beyond the first year, if requested.
    2. A Second Year Prayer Companion will participate fully in a Peer
      Consultation/Supervision Magis small group.
  9. All prayer companions are expected to have a spiritual director. Ongoing formation may also include various means, including participation in Magis.

*Alternative to Participation in the Bridges Prayer Companion Training Program: The person will fill out the application (#4. above) along with a copy of any spiritual direction certification and description of courses/background in Ignatian Spirituality. After an interview with the applicant (#7. above), if the person is deemed to have substantial preparation in spiritual direction and Ignatian Spirituality, the New Prayer Companion Review Committee may decide to waive partial participation in the Bridges process for becoming a Prayer Companion.