Fr. Boniface Hicks, O.S.B.

Meet The 2024 Spiritual Guide For Exodus 90

Fr. Boniface Hicks will be leading men through the 90 days of Exodus, starting January 1. He is the author of the final ten days of our current season, Battles in Autumn, which you can join right now.

In the Benedictine, monastic tradition, there is a strong emphasis on accompaniment. Monks learn to be monks from other monks. This only works when monks are willing to be vulnerable and expose their interior lives to their spiritual fathers. The spiritual fathers, in turn, have to learn how to receive those vulnerable places in the heart with reverence and love. This foundational relationship dynamic also extends to the brothers in the monastery, as much as possible, such that St. Benedict exhorts his monks to grow in a fraternal vulnerability and reverent trustworthiness with each other.

I have been growing in these graces of spiritual sonship, spiritual fraternity and spiritual fatherhood since I joined St. Vincent Archabbey in 1998. At that time, I was a one-year-old Catholic, having just been baptized at Penn State during the Easter Vigil in 1997. (You can read, watch or listen to various formats and lengths of my conversion and vocation story if you are interested; just go to my website. Since then I have had the privilege of growing in monastic life for 25+ years as I live out my vows with 100+ other monks at St. Vincent.

Since I was ordained a priest in 2004, I have been giving spiritual direction to many men and women–single, married, consecrated, and ordained–and have diligently cultivated the art of accompaniment. In 2017, my spiritual director, Fr. Thomas Acklin, and I published a book called Spiritual Direction: A Guide for Sharing the Father’s Love and in 2019 we started a spiritual direction formation program through Saint Vincent Seminary’s Institute for Ministry Formation. Everyone is not called to be a spiritual director, but I believe that everyone can grow in the Art of Accompaniment. For this reason, we have a single course with 25 hours of instruction to teach this material and I have offered that course more than 15 times. I have also found ways to offer the key points of accompaniment in workshops, retreats, conferences and individual talks.

I am so pleased to have this opportunity to share some insights and guidance on accompaniment with you through Exodus 90. Vulnerable, committed, deep relationships are the necessary, vital matrix in which spiritual growth happens. St. Benedict understood this 1500 years ago as he simply lived out the teaching of Jesus as found in Christ’s words and deeds in the Gospels. In my upcoming series of ten reflections, I will teach the central dynamics of accompaniment by expounding on various passages in the Gospels. By reading and applying these reflections to your life, you can learn from this ancient art how better to support the brothers in your fraternity, and also how to live all your relationships more deeply in a more Christ-like way.

Fr. Boniface is the author of the last ten days of the Battles in Autumn exercise, focusing on journeying with others in the faith. He is also the spiritual guide for Exodus 90, starting January 1st.