Spiritual Mentors

Part 3-A in a multi installment series for Lent.

Partners on Your New Path – What mentors or fellow travelers helped light and shape your new path?

I’m going to break this reflection into two parts, mentors and fellow travelers. Today, the mentors on my spiritual journey.  The mentors I discuss fall into the categories of Mom, Professors, Clergy, and Spiritual Directors.


Mom -My mom was my first spiritual mentor and the fellow traveler I have been with the longest. The older I get, the more I look back on my life and realize that my spirituality is a direct gift from my mom. Her insistence on God and prayer and love as the core of spirituality- and for her they are very much the same thing – and an open heart and mind regarding the practice of religion have shaped me in ways I am still discovering. It’s because of her example that my faith life never really changed direction in order to reject ideas so much as a life-long learning and growing experience in terms of the heart. She has shared the entire journey, especially the journey of the spirit. Most of us love our parents and our children, but when you also  really truly like them as people, it’s an exponential blessing.

The Professors – I had two professors as an undergraduate that had an immeasurable influence on my character and my spirit. Harry Semerjian, a music professor and Maria Mercedes Jaramillo, a Spanish professor. Neither were in my major department of English and neither were particularly religious, although I believe that Harry once told me his name means “Resurrection” in Armenian. My dad was a professor at the college I attended and I still appreciate the fact that both of these mentors knew my dad well, especially Harry, but both always treated me as my own person, not Lou’s son. Harry and Maria Mercedes each had a gentle affect and a fierce soul. Both exhibited great integrity. The way they dealt with students was no different than the way they treated their peers in the faculty. They were both direct, kind, compassionate, and big hearted. I learned more from them about things outside the subject matter of class than I ever learned from them in class – and I learned quite a bit from them in class! Continue reading “Spiritual Mentors”