Presenters

Fr. Seán Charles Martin

President of Aquinas Institute of Theology

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Fr. Seán Charles Martin

President of Aquinas Institute of Theology

Fr. Seán Charles Martin, president of Aquinas Institute of Theology (Saint Louis, Missouri), is a biblical scholar, much of whose work focuses on the letters of Saint Paul. Educated at the University of Dallas and the University of Notre Dame, he holds the doctorate in biblical theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. His most recent publication is “New Testament Christologies” in the Anselm Companion to the Bible (Winona: Anselm Academic, 2014).

Winifred Eshragh, MD

Bahá’í Retired Physician of Grand Rapids

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Winifred Eshragh, MD

Bahá’í Retired Physician of Grand Rapids

Shuji Valdene Mintzmyer

Buddhist Spiritual Leader

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Shuji Valdene Mintzmyer

Buddhist Spiritual Leader

Faye Richardson-Green

Christian Executive Director of Partners for a Racism-Free Community

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Faye Richardson-Green

Christian Executive Director of Partners for a Racism-Free Community

Diane Hamel

Artist

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Diane Hamel

Artist

Diane Hamel, a lifelong artist, studied fine art at Michigan State University from 1971 – 1975. After raising her family, she returned to Aquinas College in 1989, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in theology. Diane worked as a professional lay minister at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Greenville, Michigan, where she served as the Director of Religious Education for nine years. In 2000, Diane began working at St. Patrick Parish in Parnell, Michigan, as the Director of the Catechumenate. In addition to her ministry at St. Patrick Parish, she served the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids, Michigan, as a member of the Liturgical Art and Environment Commission for many years. Diane has given numerous workshops on preparing sacred spaces and liturgical environments.

In 1997, Diane attended A Brush with God, an icon workshop. It was during this experience her two passions of faith and art converged, and she’s studied iconography and painting icons since. In addition to studying with Xenia Prokovsky, a Russian iconographer, Diane has written many icons for private collections, churches, and other institutions, including the Cathedral of St. Andrew in the Diocese of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her icons are exhibited around the United States, and one belongs to the private collection of Bishop James Harvey, the Prefect for the Papal Household at the Vatican.

Diane gives private lessons, guides retreats and workshops, and teaches college courses on the technical skills and spiritual aspects of creating an icon. She works out of her studio, Viriditas Icon Studio in Lowell, Michigan. She is privileged to be a part of the rediscovery of iconography within the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.

Mic Carlson

Artist

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Mic Carlson

Artist

Mic Carlson began his art career painting portraits. His energetic personality shows in his eclectic style of artwork. Mic’s style and techniques continuously evolve, not limiting his possibilities. Originally an artist of two dimension, travels in Italy moved Mic to produce a collection of bronze statues of St. Francis of Assisi, displaying a vision of timeless and everlasting art.

Mic’s statues were first displayed at the Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi, Italy, in 2004. The energy of pilgrims and tourist conveyed during the exhibition and the peaceful presence of Francis at Eremo delle Carceri inspired Carlson to bring that spirit to the Marywood campus. These bronze statues show St Francis of Assisi is various postures of prayer, meditation, teaching, and interacting with the natural world he loved so well.

Mic continues to sculpt, paint, and create in many mediums.

Rev. Tim Tuthill, MDiv, LCSW

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Rev. Tim Tuthill, MDiv, LCSW

Rev. Tim Tuthill-Tim is a United Methodist Elder and has served communities in Dallas, Texas, along with Michigan communities, Mason, East Lansing, and Grand Rapids. Over the past 20 years, Tim has worked with individuals and communities in different roles. He has initiated groups for grief, loss, and healing, along with programs for church leaders. Tim is passionate about finding ways to live out faith within the realities of life and death.

Tim holds a Masters in Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University and a Masters in Social Work from Michigan State University.  Tim completed the Center for Spirituality at Dominican Center’s Spiritual Formation Program, and is a certified spiritual director. He continues post-graduate work at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in Washington, DC.

Nahed Fernando

Spiritual Director / Retreat Leader

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Nahed Fernando

Spiritual Director / Retreat Leader

Nahed Fernando is a certified spiritual director in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Nahed emigrated from Egypt to America at a young age, and has an ecumenical church background and multicultural perspective that informs her worldview. She enjoys sharing contemplative readings of sacred scripture and meditative prayer processes one-on-one or within group settings. Nahed is a former home school mother and enjoys reading, writing, painting, and sharing tea-time with others.

Sandra Mitchell

Certified Integrative Life Coach and Writer

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Sandra Mitchell

Certified Integrative Life Coach and Writer

 

With infinite loving kindness, attentive listening, forthright feedback, and an ever-expanding discernment of  life coaching principles, Sandra offers clients a safe space to explore and find freedom from the fear and frustration that stands between them and the life they most long for.

Sandra’s experience in coaching and mentoring includes: helping clients break through health and wellness issues; supporting those dealing with the heartbreak and confusion of supporting addicted loved ones; empowering those grappling with career or relationship transitions; and inspiring clients to rediscover themselves and create lasting change.

When immersed in the transformational concepts of life coaching, clients often experience a deepening of spirituality, healthier relationships,  clearer communication, greater connection, a release of expectations, stronger boundaries, and the ability to hear their voice first.

Trained and certified as an integrative coach professional specializing in Breakthrough Shadow Coaching™ by Ford Institute for Transformational Training, Sandra spent a full year in intense study, training, practice, and supervision. In addition, Sandra holds a degree from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has worked for more than 25 years as a writer, marketer, and mentor for wellness practitioners and organizations, healthcare systems, higher education, and nonprofit agencies.

Benjamin Mast, Ph.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Professor, and Author

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Benjamin Mast, Ph.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Professor, and Author

Dr. Benjamin Mast is a licensed clinical psychologist, board certified geropsychologist, and Associate Professor and Vice Chair in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at the University of Louisville. He serves as an elder at Sojourn Community Church, and he is the author of Second Forgetting: Remembering the Power of the Gospel in Alzheimer’s Disease (Zondervan).

Rev. Elizabeth DeRuff

President at Honoré Farm and Mill

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Rev. Elizabeth DeRuff

President at Honoré Farm and Mill

Rev. DeRuff’s California ministry, Honoré Farm and Mill, is a national leader at the intersection of food and faith. Rev. DeRuff developed the concept of congregationally-supported agriculture for heirloom grains to be used in communion bread. Her work helps the church understand our connections to both the farm and the altar table: through the enduring practice of holy communion.

Carmelita Switzer, OP

Associate Coordinator, Center for Spirituality, Dominican Center

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Carmelita Switzer, OP

Associate Coordinator, Center for Spirituality, Dominican Center

Carmelita Switzer, OP, serves as a staff facilitator and presenter for Dominican Center at Marywood. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Religious Studies from Aquinas College and a Master of Arts Degree in Biblical Studies from Providence College. She completed Pastoral Studies with an emphasis in Formation Studies at Aquinas Institute on the campus of St. Louis University. Her ministries include teaching, pastoral ministry in a parish setting, and pastoral administration in a parish that had no priest. She has also spent time in ministry on behalf of the Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters as director of formation and as co-director of Pastoral Life for the Marywood Campus. Coming from a rural farm community background she loves Michigan’s many lakes and natural beauty and God’s creatures large and small. Study of spirituality and living an integrated contemplative and active lifestyle have been long-time interests and priorities.

Kathy Julien, RYT 200

Certified Yoga Teacher

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Kathy Julien, RYT 200

Certified Yoga Teacher

Kathy Julien believes yoga is a healing and transformative practice. While Kathy embarked on a 200-hour yoga teacher training program in 2013, it was with the intention to deepen her personal practice. But during her training program, she began to notice she couldn’t help herself from sharing what she’s learned with anyone who expressed the slightest interest. Kathy’s desire as a yoga teacher is to help students cultivate the beautiful gifts they have to offer, one breath at a time. Kathy brings to her students a mindful practice that encourages mind, body and spirit connection.

Susan Duesbery

Intuitive Counselor, Energy Therapist, Yoga Educator

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Susan Duesbery

Intuitive Counselor, Energy Therapist, Yoga Educator

Susan is passionately committed to continually living a life of authenticity and to loving herself and others fiercely, knowing that her heart’s wisdom will never lead her astray. She feels deep gratitude for many things: vibrant relationships, yoga, meditation, nature, travel, a good book, and abundant laughter.

Susan’s heartfelt intention is to help her clients remember their wholeness. She specializes in assisting individuals to understand their core stories and to see how these stories can negatively impact their health, their relationships, their happiness, and their ability to fulfill their life’s purpose. She offers concrete ways to help people let go of thoughts and perceptions that prevent them from living a life filled with love, peace and joy.

Although Susan has been an energy intuitive since childhood, in 2004 she pursued formal training with Master Intuitive, Kathy Reider of Intuitive Services Inc. and with Reiki Master, Jan Atwood, LLC. After working for several years with Kathy and with Jan, she earned her Reiki Master certification and honed her innate intuitive energy reading abilities. She has been an Intuitive Counselor and  Energy Therapist in private practice ever since.

Susan holds a graduate certificate in Holistic Health from Western Michigan University and has taught WMU’s graduate course on managing stress. She is a certified Integrative Life Coach with The Ford Institute specializing in Jungian shadow work, a 500 hr. yoga teacher with 8 years of teaching experience, a Reiki Master, a certified Labyrinth facilitator with Veriditas, and a Holistic Stress Management Facilitator with The Paramount Wellness Institute.

In addition to working privately with clients as an Intuitive Counselor and as an Energy Therapist at The Eagle Park Wellness Collective in Grand Rapids, MI, Susan hosts retreats and presents transformative workshops as well as offers private yoga therapy, breath work intensives, meditation sessions, and weekly public yoga classes.

Leara Glinzak, MSAT

Art Therapist

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Leara Glinzak, MSAT

Art Therapist

Leara Glinzak earned her Master of Science in Art Therapy with a Concentration in Counseling from Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, WI. She is an Art Therapy Dementia Specialist working with grief, memory loss and end of life care where she is grounded within a person centered approach. Leara has previous experience working with families, adolescents and children with Epilepsy, rehabilitation, mental health, domestic violence, terminal illness and cognitive and physical disabilities. Leara is a member of the Michigan Art Therapy Association and the American Art Therapy Association. She has presented at several conferences which include the American Art Therapy Association, Mount Mary Symposium, Leading Age and Pathway to Caregiving Conference. Her research titled, “Effects of Art Therapy on Distress Levels of Adults with Cancer: A Proxy Pretest Study” is published in the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association. Leara looks forward to constantly growing within her Art Therapy practice personally and professionally to guide others towards a self-transformation.

Amy W.M. Kam, CZT

Certified Zentangle Teacher

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Amy W.M. Kam, CZT

Certified Zentangle Teacher

After discovering the Zentangle® Method on her own, Amy W.M. Kam felt called to share this relaxing and transformative drawing practice with many others. She pursued certification by Zentangle founders Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts. As an avid “Tangler,” runner, gardener, and breast cancer survivor, Amy seeks to share the life lessons embedded within the patterns her students learn through simple step-by-step instructions and the outcome of beautiful pieces of art.

Amy derives her greatest joy as an instructor when a student uncovers a new appreciation of their own uniqueness and embraces the diverse beauty of different patterns they see around the table.

Amy serves on the Big Brother Big Sister Advisory Council at D.A. Blodgett-St. Johns, is a founding member and treasurer of Sole Sisters, and serves the Sunday Assembly at Dominican Center at Marywood Chapel in multiple ministry capacities.

Zahabia Ahmed-Usmani

Muslim Board Chair of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance

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Zahabia Ahmed-Usmani

Muslim Board Chair of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance

Ann Walters, OP

Enneagram Instructor

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Ann Walters, OP

Enneagram Instructor

Ann Walters, OP, earned her master’s degree in Christian spirituality from Creighton University. Sr. Ann is active in leading adult faith formation classes, workshops, and seminars; preaching at and directing retreats; and providing spiritual direction. Her past work includes serving as co-director of Collaborative Dominican Novitiate of the United States Dominican Women’s Congregations; director of formation for Grand Rapids Dominicans; and elementary and high school education administration. She has also been active in inner-city ministries in Detroit; Chicago; rural northern Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; and Gusau, Nigeria, West Africa.

Diane Zerfas, OP

Coordinator, Center for Spirituality, Dominican Center

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Diane Zerfas, OP

Coordinator, Center for Spirituality, Dominican Center

Diane Zerfas, OP, is the current coordinator for the Spirituality Center for Dominican Center at Marywood, and is deeply involved in the center’s Spiritual Formation programs through the planning and teaching of Foundations in Spirituality, Spiritual Companioning, and Spiritual Direction Practicum. She holds bachelor’s degrees in math, chemistry, theology, and education from Aquinas College; master’s degrees in Arts in Religious Studies and in Pastoral Studies; a Specialized Certificate in Parish Life and Administration; and a Certificate in Spiritual Direction. Sr. Diane has ministered in many ways, including teaching high school as well as serving as formation director for Grand Rapids Dominicans, initiation and evangelization director at St. Mary Magdalen in Kentwood, Diocesan director of RCIA for the Diocese of Grand Rapids, co-director of Pastoral Life at Marywood, and leadership team member for the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids.

Nancy Brousseau, OP, DMin

Spiritual and Retreat Director, Dominican Center

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Nancy Brousseau, OP, DMin

Spiritual and Retreat Director, Dominican Center

Nancy Brousseau, OP, has been a spiritual and retreat director for more than 30 years. She facilitates an interfaith committee, and her work with group spiritual direction with the people of the Heartside Neighborhood in Grand Rapids is published in Group Spiritual Direction: The Lived Experience. She offers ecumenical retreats, spiritual direction, workshops, and programs in prayer, spirituality, and spiritual formation for churches in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Sr. Nancy has certificates in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and Spiritual Direction, and is a certified grief-recovery specialist. She was director of Dominican Center at Marywood for five years and director of Spirituality Programs for six years. Sr. Nancy has a Master of Arts in Religious Education, a Master of Divinity, and a Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Direction. She taught middle school students for 17 years and served five years in school administration.

Mario Pavoni, OP

Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher

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Mario Pavoni, OP

Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher

Mario Pavoni, OP, is a member of the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids, in Michigan. She has educated individuals in the Feldenkrais Method ® as a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher since 1994. The Feldenkrais Method is a form of gentle and slowed movement with directed attention to improving movement and balance and enhancing human functioning. All Feldenkrais practitioners must complete 800 hours of training over a 3-4 year period. The Feldenkrais Method incorporates both group classes and private lessons. Group classes are taught at Dominican Center Marywood and private lessons can be scheduled by calling 616.458.8799.