The Studion Bio

The Studion School for Spiritual Direction is dedicated to training and supporting individuals who seek spiritual growth and desire to become spiritual directors. Our flexible and affordable program is designed to equip our students with the necessary skills and knowledge to guide others on their spiritual journey. With over 80 years of combined ministry experience, our facilitation team offers a wealth of wisdom and practical guidance in Christian spiritual direction. Our program consists of three courses that cover a range of topics and skills, including Knowing God and Self, Knowing the Tradition, and Knowing the Practice. Our unique approach focuses on experiential learning, including silent retreats, practicum, supervision, and practice sessions.

The Studion launched its first cohort in January 2016. Since then, we have been committed to helping individuals deepen their spiritual growth and become effective spiritual directors. We are a trans-denominational school and serve learners from a wide range of Christian backgrounds. Over the years, we have welcomed participants from Catholic, Anglican, Reformed, Baptist, Presbyterian, Alliance, and Non-denominational backgrounds.

The Studion is proud to host their residencies at Star of the North Retreat Centre in St. Albert, Alberta, where all of the in-person modules take place. The Star’s hospitality, accommodations, and great food, allow us to offer a comprehensive and enriching learning experience to our students, ensuring that they receive the best training possible.

Ron Klok - Spiritual director, Counsellor, Author, and Carpenter

Ron Klok:

Ron Klok is a spiritual director, counsellor, author, and carpenter. His love for spiritual life began in the early 1990s when he became a pastor and started taking monthly retreats for prayer, silence, and spiritual direction. Since completing his training in 2004, Ron has been providing guidance to spiritual growth, particularly in retreat settings.

Aside from his work as a spiritual director, Ron is also a professional counsellor and runs his own counselling business ( He authored the book Ancient Spiritual Practices and Modern-Day Mental Health, which explores the connection between ancient spiritual practices and mental health in modern times.

Ron is passionate about seeing the contemporary church rediscover the ancient practice of the "therapy of God" and incorporate it into their spiritual lives. When he's not working, Ron enjoys spending time with his wife, Pauline, to whom he has been happily married since 1984. He also enjoys gardening and grows an amazing vegetable garden that includes authentic, super-sweet Taber corn!

Heather - Co-founder and facilitator of The Studion School for Spiritual Direction

Heather Cowie:

Heather is a co-founder and facilitator of The Studion School for Spiritual Direction. Completing her training in spiritual direction in 2004, Heather has cultivated a special interest in Ignatian spirituality, directing Ignatian retreats, as well as accompanying people through the full Spiritual Exercises in daily life. With her kindness, insight, and empathy, Heather accompanies, with grace, those seeking to deepen their faith and connection to God. When she is not directing and facilitating, you have to look up to find her, dangling and climbing up rock walls, one of her favorite pastimes.

Shelly King - Trained as a spiritual director

Shelly King:

Shelly trained as a spiritual director with the Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ) at the Christian Life Centre in Calgary and studied the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius at St. Beuno's Jesuit Spirituality Centre in Wales. She is ordained as a deacon in the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton, with a ministry in offering and teaching spiritual direction, and coordinates the diocesan spiritual directors' network. Shelly served as a tutor with the Encounter program at the London Centre for Spiritual Direction and enjoys teaching the Enneagram as a tool for spiritual growth. Her career in journalism included 14 years as an instructor in television broadcasting at SAIT Polytechnic. She lives with her husband, Richard, in Edmonton.

Julianne Gilchrist - Spiritual director at Studion School

Julianne Gilchrist:

Julianne is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and has previously worked as a campus pastor for more than a decade. Julianne earned her MDiv at Regent College in Vancouver, BC and trained to be a spiritual director through The Studion. She and her husband are nurturing a small business that seeks to provide space for those in ministry to rest, reflect, and grow. Her writing and other offerings can be found at When summertime hits, you can find her and her family hiking, canoeing, and kayaking in the great outdoors.

Our mission is to provide a deeply sacred, transformative, enjoyable, hands-on, and practical training in the skill and art of spiritual direction. As a Christian spiritual direction school, we strive to equip individuals with the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to help others in their spiritual journey and growth. Through our flexible, affordable, and unique program, we aim to foster a close cohort community of learners who share their stories, listen to each other, and support each other in their spiritual growth. We are committed to providing a comprehensive and professional training program that is grounded in Christian values and traditions, and that reflects the depth of insight, wisdom, and practical guidance of our experienced facilitation team.

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