Edward C. Sellner is Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology and Spirituality at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has worked as a chemical dependency counselor and consultant, including five years with Hazelden in Minnesota. In this newly revised and expanded edition of a book written in the late 1980s, he examines the age-old Christian tradition of mentoring.
Although the term is usually used in the context of career guidance or leadership formation, Sellner believes that it has a noble role to play in religion. He points to the spiritual mentoring ministry of C. S. Lewis who had a positive impact and influence on others through teaching, letter-writing, and preaching. Sellner moves on to examine the Irish anamchara or soul friend which embraces seven dimensions: maturity, compassion, respect, confidentiality, self-disclosure, personal reflection and study, and ability to discern the movements of the heart. Another aspect of spiritual mentoring is using figures from our dreams as catalysts to spiritual growth.
In the closing chapters, Sellner discusses spiritual mentoring as pioneer work especially as it expands the soul. He concludes with a quotation from Aelred of Rievaulx that beautifully sums up the finer points of this calling: "What happiness, what security, what joy to have someone to whom you dare to speak on terms of equality to another self; one to whom you need have no fear to confess your failings; one to whom you can unblushingly make known what progress you have made in the spiritual life; one to whom you can entrust all the secrets of your heart."