Spread the word! Two of our Heart of Life team have contributions in the YTU Alumni Digest (Vol 8 Iss 2, 6 Oct 2023), appearing below. The Yarra Theological Union is a member college of the University of Divinity, “an inclusive and welcoming community for theological education and ministerial formation, open to those who seek educational and personal transformation in changing contexts. [It] is Catholic in tradition and ecumenical in spirit, [seeking] to promote and resource the participation of all people in the mission of God for the building up of a healthy Church and for the transformation of the world.” On our end, we are proud to work with people who’ve shown commitment and dedication to theological and spiritual formation.
The Siloam Program
Theodora Ghaitidis BTH, GDSD current MTST
After completing a Bachelor of Theology at Pilgrim Theological College, I was keen to integrate my theological studies with spiritual practice. Hoping to live out my faith with more meaning, and to work with others within a spiritual context. Joining the full-time Siloam program at Heart of Life gave me the opportunity to graduate with a diploma in Spiritual Direction from Yarra Theological Union and it has proven to be one of the most transformative and life changing experiences for me. The Siloam program offered by YTU is training formation, based on the sacred practice of spiritual direction. It is offered in two streams, a full-time program over the course of a year, or part-time, over two years. Becoming a spiritual director meant for me, becoming free to integrate my spirit with the Spirit of God and work with people who are actively seeking spiritual accompaniment. The course is profound because the program helped me to open my heart to be a compassionate, contemplative listener, but most significantly, it helped me to open my heart to hear God, and to experience His compassionate healing love for me and the other. The Siloam program enabled me to invite God into my whole self through contemplative prayer, a major focus of the program. In turn, contemplative prayer and spiritual direction have become the process I use to continue to cultivate my spirituality, and my journey of becoming more like God in image and likeness. Shortly after finishing the Siloam, I took on a role as tutor to the new students for a short time and now I am a supervisor for the fulltime Siloam program. What I initially hoped to achieve when I first enrolled at Heart of Life has been fully realised. Additionally, working at Heart of Life with likeminded people, who also have the desire to integrate their faith into a pastoral practice is an extra gift to me.
The rhythm is fourteen.
Hien Vu BTh, GDSD
“What is my heart beating for?”, this was a burning question for me as I began this journey. Moving from the role of assistant priest in parishes (in which I had done many things without much accountability) to the new role as parish priest I realised that the rhythms of my heart needed some attention. After office hours, sitting in front of the computer, my hands kept typing the line ‘something for my heart’ and there appeared poems, prayers, and songs. Celine Dion with her angelic voice ‘My Heart will go on’ filled up my journey but it didn’t last long. Then it appeared, ‘Heart of Life Spirituality Centre’, I was drawn to that headline. Arriving at the door of the centre a few days later with my curious heart, I found the rhythms of my heart through the people and the courses, and I haven’t left. ‘Come & See – Come & Stay’, a journey of 14 years and counting! It is here that I could hear my heart’s beat clearer! It is here that I find a quiet place to rest. It is here that I have been open to visit my own scars. It is here that I name and own my strengths and weaknesses, my gifts and my limitations. From ‘Let the Heart Listen’ to Spiritual Direction to Emmaus (Professional Pastoral Supervision) and everything else in between, I have travelled the world to learn but it is here, I have found my inner heartbeat.
Hien Vu is a parish priest and Heart of Life’s Student Chaplain