Monsignor Chester Michael, Nov. 2013 – 97 Years Young

Monsignor Chester Michael

Monsignor Chester Michael, founder of Open Door Ministry and the Spiritual Direction Institute

Monsignor Chester Michael, a Roman Catholic priest since 1942, has a Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) from St. Mary’s University in Baltimore, Maryland.  In addition to serving as pastor to four different parishes in Virginia and as a seminary rector, Monsignor Michael devoted a substantial part of his priestly ministry to spiritual direction as director of the Spiritual Renewal Center of Richmond and led numerous retreats and programs throughout Virginia.  He was actively involved as a Spiritual Director in the Cursillo movement of Central Virginia. Prior to his retirement, Monsignor Michael  also founded the Spiritual Direction Institute (SDI) and trained over 500 women and men through the two-year course.    To this day, the Spiritual Direction Institute continues the work of Monsignor Michael training Spiritual Directors in Virginia.

Monsignor Michael has authored numerous publications including: Prayer and Temperament, Different Prayer Forms for Different Personality Types (1991); An Introduction to Spiritual Direction (2004); A New Day (updated 2011); The Human Side of Jesus (currently undergoing updating); A Christian Worldview (2002,2010); and Arise: Jungian Insights for the Christian Journey (updated 2012).  He also wrote numerous essays under the Open Door.   These works will be available on this website in the near future.

Father Chet’s Two Favorite Quotes from The Bible


We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) RSV


14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.

20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.  (Ephesians 3:14-21) RSV


Update of Fr. Chet’s move to St. Joseph’s Nursing Home in Richmond

Here’s an update on Father’s move to St. Joseph’s Nursing Home in Richmond, which is run by the Little Sisters of the Poor.  There has been a period of adjustment for him, naturally enough, but all in all, despite some emotional ups and downs, Father seems to have adjusted well.

Father is getting regular visits almost daily at Little Sisters.   The Sisters have a sheet on his door now which allows people to take a tab with the “team-up” website.  The hope is that this will help encourage coordination of visits and make all aware of this site. 

The Sisters include Father in their prayer time in the afternoons (rosary and Divine Office) in the chapel.  There is also daily Mass which they get him to in the morning.  He is doubtlessly blessed by both.  The Sisters seem genuinely interested in his comfort and contentment – they interact with him numerous times on a daily basis.  They are very concerned with his well-being and happiness, and they really desire to please him.  Ginny Lysinger, his go-between for messages to the Open Door mailing list and regular visitor, reports that she has “never seen care in any nursing home to be any better than where he is now.  I have worked in and visited many for over 20 years. I am even told the priests in this area put their mothers on the waiting list for entrance here….”

All that being said, Father does feel lonely at times and need us dearly.  Indeed, he needs us very much.  As all of you probably know, much of the frustration for the elderly and particularly for the very gifted elderly, like Father, is seeing their abilities diminish.  Although Father was given the opportunity for a time to concelebrate, he struggled with it.  Part of that is due to his inability to read well at this point.  Please consider reading to him if you visit.

Recently, Father attended the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral in Richmond, accompanied by one of the Sisters.  He also made a trip to St Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Yorktown for their 60th anniversary Mass and celebration.  This was the sixty-year anniversary, on the Feast of St Joan of Arc, when Father presided at its inception.  He was very excited about this opportunity.


Article about Little Sisters of the Poor in Richmond (from the Tiber to the James Blog)

Little Sisters of the Poor – Virginia (official website)

Sister Teresa makes cream puffs (Richmond-Times Dispatch)

Sister Teresa makes her famous creme puffs to share (photo - Richmond-Times Dispatch)

Sister Teresa makes her famous cream puffs to share



New Website for Open Door Ministry

Welcome to the new Website for The Open Door Ministry, Inc.  Open Door Ministry has been working with Catholic Web Services to build a new website that will be a resource offering information and inspiration to its visitors.  Your feedback is appreciated and can be sent to John Clem (webmaster) at  Please let us know about any edits, additions, or concerns you have about the website or its contents.