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).
Pat has taught and learned from students aged 8 and 78 (and beyond), at Siena Heights University, Aquinas Institute, the Angelicum and St. Mary Seminary in Cleveland. She has also served as Prioress of her Congregation and has given retreats across the US and around the world. Her recent writings include a chapter “Situating the Apostolic Visitation in Historical and Theological Context” to The Power of Sisterhood.
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 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-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 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.
Rosita Arvigo, DN, is a naprapathic physician, herbalist, international lecturer, author, and teacher of Maya medicine. She has lived in Belize for 30 years, where she studied with more than a dozen traditional healers, the most famous of whom was her mentor Don Elijio Panti, who passed away in 1996 at the age of 103. Dr. Arvigo is the director of The Arvigo Institute, Rainforest Remedies, The Traditional Healers Foundation, and founding member of the Belize Ethnobotany Project.
In 2003, Dr. Arvigo was honored with the Wings Trust Earth Award in recognition of her life-long efforts to preserve Maya medicine and the tropical rainforest environment.
Inspired by her life's work, Dr, Arvigo has written and co-authored six books on the subjects of Maya medicine and on herbal and spiritual healing. While still residing in Belize, she travels on a lecture circuit during the spring and fall of each year. When at home in San Ignacio Town, Belize, she does consultations at her clinic, teaches seminars on Maya medicine and spiritual healing.
Dr. Arvigo devotes the rest of her time to academic research into medicinal plants, traditional healing, and the Maya goddess of medicine, Ix Chel. Near and dear to her heart, are many humanitarian and community service projects, including: The Traditional Healers Foundation, Children's Bush Medicine Camp, and Terrra Nova Medicinal Plant Reserve.
Marcel “Fable” Price is a bi-racial North American writer, teaching artist, community advocate, spoken word poet, motivational speaker, and author of Adrift in a Sea of M&M's.
Fable is the first person under the age of 40 to have earned the title of poet laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan. As poet laureate, Fable has achieved measurable success in the first year of his three-year tenure.
Fable is recognized for his work in lifting up area youth and engaging them with poetry and creative writing. His work also includes raising awareness around mental health through the sharing of his own stories.
In his first six months as poet laureate, Fable worked with thousands of students through area schools and ArtPrize. He also spearheaded a number of fundraising events for the causes and organizations he champions. Among other goals, Fable envisions launching a youth center focused on poetry and writing.
As poet laureate, Fable is an ambassador of poetry in Grand Rapids and beyond. He hopes to connect the community to the city's vibrant poetry scene by lifting up area creatives and promoting poetry events happening regularly in the area.
In 2016, Fable won a Community Advocate Award from Grand Rapids Young Professionals and an Audio Poetry Contest Award from the Missouri Review. Additionally, Fable is a 40 Under 40 Honoree. He is an official partner of Mental Health America and is known across the nation for crowd-interactive features that leave those attending enlightened and empowered.
Rev. Madelyn Thompson is a lifelong resident of West Michigan. While growing up she enjoyed living near Lake Michigan, where she spent weekends playing at the beach and climbing the dunes near Spring Lake. She and her husband Kelly have raised four children, and now appreciate the privilege of raising two grandchildren, three dogs, and a cat, making for a full and busy household.
With infinite loving kindness, attentive listening, forthright feedback, and an ever-expanding discernment of life coaching principles, Sandra Mitchell 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.
Ilka Handshaw, author of Are We Awake, Yet?, a book on sustaining the planet, was born in Bulgaria. Her love of the environment began when she was a child, hiking mountains and playing on the sunny beaches of the beautiful Black Sea. While in high school, Ilka studied languages and went on to attend and graduate from Veliko Turnovo University with a degree in Russian Language and Literature.
Here in the States, Ilka works as a tutor and interpreter, and has immersed herself in learning about personal well-being and healing with the goal of helping others live happier, healthier lives. She's authors articles on health and healing for Michigan magazines and speaks on radio and TV to inspire others to better health.
Ilka combines her love of Mother Nature with her calling to to help others, believing as we heal ourselves, we heal the world.
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).
Born in Denver, Colorado, Barry Brown was inspired to capture the beauty of the world in photographs from a young age. The son of a modern architect and educated in electrical engineering during his tenure in the Army, Barry is blessed with both technical skills and an eye for aesthetics.
With a bachelor’s degree in business and a minor in visual arts from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Barry launched a full-time photography studio in 2001 and quickly became a leading photographer in Colorado Springs.
Since earning a master’s degree in healthcare management from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon in 2012, Barry has worked primarily the healthcare field and now consults in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Barry practices photography part time and is known for his intimate and emotional portraits. His knowledge of lighting, camera functions, and editing allow Barry to focus the viewer’s eye on the subject without distraction. Barry seeks to make photography accessible to all and enjoys sharing his knowledge and skills with others.
A Catholic priest, Father Dear has served as the director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the largest interfaith peace organization in the United States, and after September 11, 2001, as one of the Red Cross coordinators of chaplains at the Family Assistance Center, and counseled thousands of relatives and rescue workers.
Father Dear has worked in homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and community centers; traveled in war zones around the world, including Iraq, Palestine, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, India, and Colombia; lived in El Salvador, Guatemala and Northern Ireland; been arrested more than 75 times in acts of civil disobedience against war; and spent eight months in prison for a Plowshares disarmament action. In the 1990s, he arranged for Mother Teresa to speak to various governors to stop the death penalty. He has two Master’s Degrees in Theology from the Graduate Theological Union in California, and has taught theology at Fordham University.
Father John Dear has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Sun, America, Sojourners, Commonweal, National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and elsewhere. For many years, he wrote a weekly blog for the National Catholic Reporter, and is featured regularly on the national radio show “Democracy Now!” and the Huffington Post. He is the subject of the DVD documentary, “The Narrow Path” (with music by Joan Baez and Jackson Browne) and is profiled in John Dear On Peace, by Patti Normile (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2009).
His thirty books, including Living Peace, The Nonviolent Life, Lazarus Come Forth, The God of Peace, Jesus the Rebel, Disarming the Heart, Peace Behind Bars, The Questions of Jesus, You Will Be My Witnesses, Our God Is Nonviolent, The Sound of Listening, Seeds of Nonviolence, Walking the Way, Thomas Merton Peacemaker, Transfiguration, Mary of Nazareth, and his autobiography, A Persistent Peace, have been translated into ten languages. He has edited books about Daniel Berrigan, Mohandas Gandhi, Mairead Maguire, Henri Nouwen, Richard McSorley and Horace McKenna. John Dear is on the staff of Pace e Bene and www.campaignnonviolence.org. A former Jesuit, he was ordained in 1993 and is now a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Monterey, California.
Ambassador (ret.) Mary Ann Peters joined The Carter Center as its chief executive officer Sept. 2, 2014. As CEO, Ambassador Peters provides vision and leadership for The Carter Center and oversees all program implementation and operations.
Ambassador Peters was provost of the U.S. Naval War College from September 2008 to July 2014. Previously, she was dean of academics at the College of International and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Prior to becoming dean of the college, she served as associate director for international liaison at the Marshall Center.
Ambassador Peters spent more than 30 years as a career diplomat with the U.S. Department of State. From 2000 to 2003, she was U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, leading the mission's efforts in support of the war on terrorism and other key U.S. foreign policy goals. She received a Presidential Meritorious Service Award in 2003 for her work there. Prior to her posting in Dhaka, Ambassador Peters was the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, responsible for the management of the embassy and supervision of the six U.S. consulates general in Canada. From 1995 to 1997, Ambassador Peters served in the White House as director for European and Canadian affairs at the National Security Council. Among other portfolios in this position, Ambassador Peters worked on the diplomatic and security aspects of the search for peace in Northern Ireland.
Previously Ambassador Peters served as deputy assistant secretary of state with oversight responsibility for U.S. relations with 19 Western European countries and Canada, as deputy chief of mission in Sofia, Bulgaria, as economic counselor in Moscow during the Soviet era, and as the last U.S. consul in Mandalay, Burma. From 1988 to 1990, Ambassador Peters was the deputy director of the Office of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh Affairs in the State Department. She began her career as a vice-consul in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1975.
Ambassador Peters holds a Bachelor of Arts from Santa Clara University and a master's degree in International Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her formal education also included courses at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris.
Ambassador Peters is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Women in International Security.
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, 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.
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.
Dr. Christopher is the visionary for and architect of the WKKF-led Truth Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) effort for America. TRHT is an adaptation of the globally recognized Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) model. TRHT evolved from the decade-long WKKF America Healing, racial equity and racial healing initiative, designed and led by Dr. Christopher. Over the last ten years she was responsible for several other areas of foundation programming. These include food, health and well-being, leadership, public policy, community engagement, and place-based funding in New Orleans and New Mexico.
In August 2017, Dr. Christopher left her leadership position with WKKF to launch the Maryland-based Ntianu Center for Healing and Nature, and to devote more time to writing and speaking on issues of health, racial healing, and human capacity for caring. She is currently chair board of the Trust for America’s Health and a fellow of The National Academy of Public Administration.
From Ferguson to New York to Germany and South Africa, Lisa Sharon Harper leads trainings and helps mobilize clergy and community leaders around shared values for the common good. A prolific speaker, writer, and activist, Ms. Harper is the founder and president of FreedomRoad.us, a consulting group dedicated to shrinking the narrative gap in our nation by convening forums and experiences that bring common understanding, common commitment, and common action toward a just world.
Ms. Harper is the author of several books, including: Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican...or Democrat (The New Press, 2008), Left Right and Christ: Evangelical Faith in Politics (Elevate, 2011), Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith (Zondervan, 2014), and the critically acclaimed, The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong can be Made Right (Waterbrook, a division of Penguin Random House, 2016). The Very Good Gospel, recognized as the "2016 Book of the Year" by Englewood Review of Books, explores God’s intent for the wholeness of all relationships in light of today’s headlines.
A columnist at Sojourners Magazine and an Auburn Theological Seminary Senior Fellow, Ms. Harper has appeared on TVOne, FoxNews Online, NPR, and Al Jazeera America. Her writing has been featured in CNN Belief Blog, The National Civic Review, Sojourners’ God’s Politics blog, The Huffington Post, and Relevant Magazine. She has written extensively on shalom and governance, immigration reform, health care reform, poverty, racial and gender justice, climate change, and transformational civic engagement.
Having earned her Masters degree in Human Rights from Columbia University in New York City, Lisa Sharon Harper served as Sojourners Chief Church Engagement Officer. In this capacity, she fasted for 22 days as a core faster in 2013 with the immigration reform Fast for Families. She trained and catalyzed evangelicals in St. Louis and Baltimore to engage the 2014 push for justice in Ferguson and the 2015 healing process in Baltimore and trained faith leaders in South Africa to pull the levers of their new democracy toward a more just world.
In 2015 The Huffington Post recognized her as one of “50 Powerful Women Religious Leaders to Celebrate on International Women’s Day.” Most recently, Relevant Magazine recognized The Very Good Gospel as one of “Six Books that Will Change the Way You See the World” and Ms. Harper as one of “Seven Leaders to Follow in 2017.”
She is in the ordination process with the Evangelical Covenant Church.
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 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.
Susie Tierney is the Director of Organizing for JustFaith Ministries’ and the Executive Director of the Center for Social Ministry, an ecumenical organization in Des Moines, Iowa. She has coordinated efforts to promote and encourage participation in the JustFaith Ministries programs since 2003. Susie has facilitated numerous workshops, presentations and retreats.
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 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, 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, 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.