Bruce Friedrich, Executive Director of The Good Food Institute in Washington, D.C., has held leadership roles for the past two decades at top non-profit organizations working to improve farm animal welfare and promote compassionate eating. Bruce taught for two years in inner city Baltimore, where he was “teacher of the year” for his school and served in the intentional community at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington, D.C., for six years, where he was in charge of throwing children into the air and catching them, in addition to his other duties. Bruce has committed his career and life to environmental justice, the protection of animals, and being in solidarity with the poor.
Fr. Santarelli received his formation at Episcopal San Agustin College and was ordained a San Isidro, Argentina Diocesan priest in 1982. He served as a parish priest in Santa Rita parish in Boulogne, Argentina, Santa Teresita Parish in Virreyes, Argentina, and was named Pastor of the Purisima Concepcion Parish where he spent 8 years in charge of a national missionary group.
In February 1995, he was sent to Cuba where he opened a mission in the Diocese of San Isidro, where he stayed until 2005. During this time he earned a degree in Missionology from the Universidad Urbaniana in Rome. Upon his return, he was commissioned to work in the National office of the Pontifical Mission Societies. It was here that he initiated the Belen community and developed the Promoters of Peace in International Relations Project.
Fr. Don Goergen, OP is a Dominican friar, Catholic priest, preacher, teacher, and writer with a special interest in the evolution of consciousness. He is currently located in St. Louis, Missouri, give lectures, retreats, and workshops in many places including the Philippines, India, Kenya, Nigeria, and throughout the United States and Canada. Having taught Catholic systematic theology and spirituality for many years, and having been provincial for the Central Province of Dominican friars based in Chicago, Fr. Don also founded a Dominican Ashram in 1999 where he lived for a period of nine years. Influenced by the thought of Teilhard de Chardin and Sri Aurobindo as well as by Thomas Aquinas and Meister Eckhart along with many others, Fr. Don’s interests include dialogue among varied wisdom traditions and the contemplative life.
Sister Toni Harris, OP, has been a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa for more than 45 years. She is currently serving as Prioress of the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation. From 2007 until 2013, Sister Toni was based in Rome, Italy, and worked as the International Promoter for Justice and Peace for Dominican Sisters International. She visited Dominican Sisters ministering in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and North America – a total of 48 countries in all. Sister Toni previously served as prioress (2000-2006) of the Sinsinawa Dominican congregation, as well as general council member (1986-1994). She also worked with the Native American community both on a reservation in Wisconsin, and in an urban setting in Chicago, Illinois, for a total of 16 years. She taught in both secondary and elementary schools. Sister Toni is a former art teacher and enjoys watercolor but, for more than fifteen years has focused on the “writing” (painting) of religious icons. When not at the motherhouse in Sinsinawa, she lives in community in Madison, Wisconsin, with three other Dominican Sisters, two of whom are from Vietnam.
Linda Thiel, OP, is a Dominican Sister of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She holds a Ph.D in Nursing from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and is a professor at the University of Detroit Mercy, McAuley School of Nursing on the Grand Rapids campus. She has provided direct patient care in various hospital and public health settings, and served in nursing leadership roles. Throughout her career, she has personally integrated spirituality into her nursing ministry and presented on spirituality in nursing and spiritual assessment. Currently, her research interests are directed toward the spiritual journey and intercessory prayer.
Jeanette Banashak has been teaching and leading international trips since 1998. Professionally, her interdisciplinary focus includes Education, Spiritual Formation, Creativity, and Spanish. She holds two doctorates in education and a certificate in Spiritual Direction and the Enneagram. Most recently, she completed her dissertation on the interrelationship between creativity and contemplative prayer/meditation. She is passionate about creating experiences where people interact in new cultural environments. She is a Creativity Coach and former Professor of Creativity. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys playing board games and telling stories.
Lance Kraal has directed New City Urban Farm for the last four seasons. The farm is a program of the faith-based community development organization New City Neighbors. The goal of the program is to employ and train youth while also working towards greater food security for the Creston neighborhood of Grand Rapids. Previously Lance helped start a home renovation social enterprise for adults with barriers to employment with JustWork in Vancouver, Canada. He holds a M.Div. from Regent College.
Zach began visiting the Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple in 2015 with inquiries about meditation and mindfulness. Since then he has become an active member of the Sangha and is currently undertaking trainings to formally take the Buddhist Precepts. Zach believes Buddhism is helping him awaken more to compassion and wisdom, and allowing these practices to drive his actions.
Zach has had a passion for helping people since an early age and has always sought out opportunities to do so. He currently works at St. Mary’s Hospital as a Psychiatric Technician and is hoping to go back to school to study nursing and make his passion a career. Zach has a BA in Economics from Aquinas College. His experience at Aquinas included competing for the track and cross country teams as well as studying abroad in Jordan and Costa Rica. Zach enjoys cooking, walks, hiking, yoga, and travel among many other activities.”
Brandon is a senior studying nursing at Grand Valley State University. He also currently serves as the Vice President for Diversity Affairs with Grand Valley State University”s Student Senate. Through his work caring for patients in class and working alongside different students groups with Student Senate, he realized how utilizing faith, or even a lack of faith practices, was a common thread in social justice work.
He has attended the Interfaith Youth Core’s (IFYC) Interfaith Leadership Institute, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Annual Conference and the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. He’s also presented at the NASPA Annual Conference on his work at Grand Valley State University in regards to social justice and interfaith work.
Kascha is a senior at Aquinas College finishing a German, International Studies, and Community Leadership triple major. She is Vice Chair of Student Senate where she is the head of the Student Affairs Committee and works as the Service-Learning Assistant for Campus Ministry.
For the 2016-2017 academic year Kascha is a member of the Coach Program for the Interfaith Youth Core, Intern at Aquinas College, and Kaufman Interfaith Institute. She’s passionate about ethics and society, spiritual activism, and inter-generational dialog. In her spare time, she can be found in all the Grand Rapids coffee shops.
Sister Amata earned a Doctorate in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley where she won a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. She earned a Master’s in Economics at St. Louis University. She is currently an economics professor at and director of the school’s Myser Initiative on Catholic Identity St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. She also teaches economics in the Master’s of Social Justice Program at Marygrove College in Detroit. She is an internationally recognized authority on economic justice issues, socially responsible investing and Catholic Social Teaching. She has spent most of her adult life in ministries explaining how the disparate fields of economics and social justice are actually entwined.
Sister Ann Willits, a Dominican from Sinsinawa, is a preacher, poet, writer and lecturer. She has offered parish missions, retreats and conferences within the United States, South America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Europe. She was a high school English teacher and administrator, served for nine years on the General Council of her Congregation and was Director of PARABLE, a national conference for Dominican Life and Mission for twenty one years. She has recorded three retreats for NOW YOU KNOW MEDIA and is presently a full time itinerant preacher and lecturer. Sister Ann received her BA from Rosary College, her MA from St. Thomas University and did post graduate study at Marquette University.
Timothy Radcliffe, OP, entered the Dominican order in 1965, was ordained a priest in 1971, and taught scripture at the Dominican Centre in Oxford University. He was elected Provincial of England in 1988, then Master of the Dominican Order in 1992. Dr. Radcliffe gained an international reputation due to his analyses of contemporary society, Christian life, religious life, and the situation of the Catholic Church.
Fr. Radcliffe has also been active in the peace movement, ministry to persons with HIV and AIDS, and advocacy for human rights. He spends most of his year giving retreats, lectures, and conference keynote addresses in the UK and around the world. He is well known throughout the world for his approachable language, depth of thinking, and sense of humor. His writings and lectures stretch minds and warm hearts, as he offers guidance and encouragement along the journey of orienting one’s life toward God.
In 2003, Fr. Radcliffe was made an honorary Doctor of Divinity in the University of Oxford, the university’s highest honorary degree. He was the 2007 winner of the Michael Ramsey Prize for theological writing for his book What Is the Point of Being a Christian? (2005). He has written numerous books, including Sing a New Song: The Christian Vocation (1999), and Take the Plunge: Living Baptism and Confirmation (2012). (Biography take from center for the Study of Consecrated Life Symposium: February 2016)
Sheila Bartle is a lifelong educator and learner, especially in the area of authentic writing, whether it be memoir, poetry, essay, or any genre that allows people to express and extend themselves to others via the written word. Originally from St. Paul MN, she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. (1980) in English from Loyola University of Chicago and has been involved in English education ever since at high school, collegiate, and graduate levels. Recognizing that writing is not easy for all, Sheila has created GiveVoice©, an opportunity for her to coach others in expressing their true selves.
Jermale D. Eddie is a wonderful husband, great father, excellent friend and a brilliant entre-pray-neur who is driven by extracting the potential that exists within everyone who he has the pleasure of coming in contact with him. Jermale and his family (wife: Anissa, Sons: Malachi, Nehemiah and Josiah) reside in the wonderful city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. They are the proud owners of Malamiah Juice Bar, where he serves as the Chief Juice Innovator. He is also the Director of Reaching-In (Discipleship) at Madison Square Church: Ford Campus. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Studies from Grand Valley State University and a Master’s degree in Family Studies from Spring Arbor University.
Kirtimayi Mishra is the current Head of Office at Catholic Relief Services (CRS) India. As a long standing humanitarian, she has seen her community and country become transformed through the work of CRS.
While studying for her degree in India, the area Kirtimayi lived in was struck by a super-cyclone, a natural disaster that deeply affected the livelihood of the state. At this time, CRS was a main responder and Kirtimayi said that, “the work done by civil society organizations to reach out to the affected population was a great inspiration for me and I always wanted to serve vulnerable communities. CRS India was one of the biggest actors in responding to the needs of the affected communities providing lifesaving aid, food, water, clothes, shelter etc. and when I got the opportunity to work with CRS, I readily accepted it.”
Since joining CRS in 2002, Kirtimayi has held multiple roles with the agency. After working with the Nepal Earthquake response she assumed her current role as Head of Office. In this role she oversees programs that build community resilience, reducing the impact of floods on the livelihoods of vulnerable communities in the most disaster stricken and food insecure states of India.
When asked what she would like others to know about CRS, Kirtimayi said “[If you] give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; [if you] teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. While it is important to have humanitarian response in the aftermath of disaster, it is worth investing in community preparedness and building resilience so that communities are not dependent on external assistance or relief. This is what CRS is doing in India and countries around the world. CRS is most thankful for your help; we would be unable to carry out our lifesaving work without it.”
Barbara Reid, OP, is a Dominican Sister of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She holds a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and is vice president and academic dean and professor of New Testament Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Her most recent books are Abiding Word, Taking Up the Cross: New Testament Interpretations Through Latina and Feminist Eyes, and Parables for Preachers. She has led many Israel study programs and retreats. Currently she is writing Sophia’s Table: An Introduction to Feminist Interpretation of the Scriptures and is general editor for a new 60-volume feminist commentary on the Bible, Wisdom Commentary Series.
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 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.
Diane has served for many years as a health care chaplain for one of the largest Catholic Healthcare Systems in the United States. She is an experienced educator in the area of the spiritual and pastoral care for caregivers of people living with chronic or life threatening illnesses. She is known for her inspirational method of teaching through her experiences as a patient, chaplain, pastoral associate, caregiver, and griever.
Jordan Lemke is a student at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary finalizing an internship in the Master of Arts in Counseling program and will be graduating in the beginning of 2017. He has also submitted for a teaching certification from the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Institute, a leading Enneagram research institution, and will be co-teaching courses in the Enneagram at the Dominican Center at Marywood. His certification submission includes more than 250 hours of class education and experience, as well as multiple writings and previous teaching experience in the Enneagram. His background in counseling helps bring out the usefulness of the Enneagram in both a psychological and spiritual realm.
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.
After discovering the Zentangle® Method on her own, Amy felt called to share this relaxing and transformative drawing practice with many others and pursued certification by the founders of Zentangle, 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. She 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 in multiple ministry capacities (Dominican Center at Marywood Chapel).
Nathan Schneider is columnist and blogger for America magazine. He has written about religion, technology, and social justice for publications including Vice, The New Republic, Harper’s, The Nation, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Catholic Worker, and Commonweal. His two books, God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet and Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse, both appeared in 2013 through University of California Press. He holds an MA in religious studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was part of the Catholic Studies program, and a BA in the same subject from Brown University. He is currently a scholar in residence of media studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Follow his work on social media at @ntnsndr or at his website, nathanschneider.info. Listen to his On Being interview, “The Wisdom of Millennials,” online at www.onbeing.org.
Louise O’Farrell was diagnosed with stage 3c Ovarian Cancer in September, 2015. Her treatment consisted of a complete debulking surgery and 18 chemotherapy sessions, which she endured with the help of God, family, and friends. Since her diagnosis, Louise has been seeking a Catholic based cancer support group. As a result, she has devoted her survivorship to providing spiritual support for Catholics living with cancer.
Professor Dr. Anthony Gittins, CSSp., taught Theology and Anthropology at The Missionary Institute, London, UK, from 1980 to 1984, and at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago from 1984 until 2011, where he held the Bishop Ford Chair of Mission Theology between 1999 and 2008, and is now Emeritus Professor of Theology and Culture.
Born in Manchester (England), and ordained in 1967, after completing his theological studies he subsequently earned M.A.s (Summa cum Laude) in Theoretical Linguistics and in Social Anthropology, and later a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. After ministry in Africa, he pursued post-doctoral research at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, England
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, 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.
Jan Lundy has inspired tens of thousands of women around the nation to live calm, clear, and wise lives. With great sensitivity and a lifetime of experience, she provides the tools and knowledge needed to restore spiritual health. Jan has authored five personal and spiritual growth books, is a former world religions educator, and is a spiritual director and mentor with an interfaith focus in private practice. Additionally, Jan serves as an adjunct staff member at Dominican Center; mentors spiritual directors in training; leads contemplative programming for women; is a nationally recognized speaker and retreat leader; and a Dominican Associate.
Maria Beesing, OP, has many years of experience in adult formation. For 22 years, she traveled throughout the U.S., Pakistan, Guatemala, Italy, Canada, and Guam to lead seminars, workshops, and retreats. She is co-author of a book on the enneagram, and the first president of the International Enneagram Association. Before her travels, Sr. Maria served as a school teacher and principal. After leaving education, she pursued training as a spiritual director and went on to train and supervise spiritual directors. Sr. Maria is currently ministering as a spiritual director.
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.
Sister 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.