The Friendship Of Fr. Ed Dowling . S.J. and Bill Wilson In Letters
Robert Fitzgerald , S.J.
This book explores the relationship of Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, and his spiritual adviser and friend, Father Ed Dowling. Reading The Soul of Sponsorship will illuminate and answer the question of how Father Ed, an Irish Catholic Jesuit priest who was not an alcoholic, was able to be of such great help to Bill Wilson by teaching the importance of "discernment."
In Father Ed's Jesuit tradition, discernment was a gift, passed down to him from St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, who described his own struggle with discernment in Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. The Twelve Steps of AA and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius presuppose that there is a caring God whose will can be known. The act of tuning in to God's action at one's center is discernment: how do you know your Higher Power is speaking and revealing Himself through your feelings and desires?