The Spiritual Practice of Discernment

A Conversation with the Rev. Dr. Jane Patterson

Have you ever asked yourself: how does spiritual discernment work, practically? What are the signposts? How can I feel God’s subtle nudge?

In the final episode of this season, we discuss the ways that spiritual discernment practices reveal God’s calling in our big and little decisions. Join our conversation with the Rev. Dr. Jane Patterson, who is Project Director of the Communities of Calling Initiative at the Collegeville Institute. Jane recently retired from Seminary of the Southwest, where she was Associate Professor of New Testament and Director of Community Care. She is a wise teacher and expert on spiritual discernment who works with congregational leaders, many of whom we’ve heard from this season on the podcast.

The Communities of Calling Initiative is a five-year program that grants congregations funds to design a new project or enhance existing ministries that help Christians discover and deepen their sense of God’s calling in their lives.


Jane Patterson is Project Director for Communities of Calling Initiative at the Collegeville Institute. She recently retired from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, where she was Associate Professor of New Testament and Director of Community Care. In addition to Biblical Studies, she teaches in the area of Christian formation, where her work focuses on vocation and Christian practice. She is a contributor to Calling All Years Good: Vocation Across the Lifespan (Eerdmans, 2017) and the author of Keeping the Feast: Metaphors of Sacrifice in 1 Corinthians and Philippians (SBL Press, 2015). With John Lewis, she co-directed the St. Benedict’s Workshop, a ministry devoted to helping laity live their faith in daily life, and served the Diocese of West Texas as a member of the Discernment Committee.