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Retreat Masters

Meet the Retreat Masters


Carol Ackels

Carol is the Director of the Ignatian Spirituality Institute. A spiritual director in the Ignatian tradition and Senior Ignatian Fellow of Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House, she helps others as director of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius in various formats, including weekend retreats, the Exercises in Everyday Life, and one-to-one directed retreats.  Carol teaches several of the ISI Ignatian Foundations courses on principles in Ignatian spirituality, and she regularly gives programs and days of reflection to parish and church groups. Her work also includes offering workshops to help others move into retreat ministry and spiritual companioning. Appointed by the Jesuit Provincial, she served six years on the province Commission on Ministry--the group that discerns long-range planning for apostolic work of the Jesuits and their colleagues. Carol worked with Anthony Borrow, S.J. in developing the Toward Greater Freedom retreat for parents at Jesuit College Prep of Dallas, and co-authored with Joe Tetlow, S.J. the twelve week Ignatian retreat, Finding Christ in the World. Carol holds a J.D. from SMU Dedman School of Law and is currently pursuing a Master of Art in Theology and Leadership at Gonzaga University. She and her husband reside in Dallas. They are the parents of five adult children and grandparents to two (so far!).

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Sr. Wendy Cotter, CSJ, PhD

Sr.  Wendy Cotter, CSJ, PhD   is a Sister of St. Joseph from London, Ontario, Canada and has been a full professor of  New Testament in the Theology Department of Loyola University, and is now Emerita since her retirement last summer.  After her undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, she was invited to serve on her Community’s Peruvian mission for two terms (four years). Upon her return, she began her graduate studies and received her PhD in New Testament from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, with a specialty in Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke), particularly the Gospel of Mark and pre-gospel material with a focus on miracle stories. Besides her articles and papers, she has published two books, The Miracles in  Greco Roman Antiquity (1999) , and The Christ of the Miracle Stories: Portrait Through Encounter (2010).  Throughout these years, Sister has been invited to offer Scripture workshops and parish missions as well as weekend and longer retreats.  She considers these the greatest source of joy and grace.

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Fr. Peter Etzel, SJ

Fr. Peter Etzel, SJ is the director of the Sioux Spiritual Center near Howes, South Dakota, and director of diaconate formation for the Diocese of Rapid City. Born in Milwaukee, Fr. Etzel entered the Jesuits in 1983 after seven years in the sports department of The Milwaukee Journal. During regency he taught high school in The Philippines. After ordination in 1994, Fr. Etzel has served in various pastoral ministries, including Vocations Director of the Wisconsin Jesuits and pastor of Gesu Parish in Milwaukee. He has given retreats on the Spiritual Exercises for more than 20 years.

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Family Sparough

No Biography Yet!

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Fr. Peter Fennessy, SJ

Fr. Peter Fennessy, SJ is a Jesuit priest born in Boston, and a member of the Detroit Province.  He completed most of his studies in the Boston area, but spent three years studying at Oxford University and three years teaching in Kingston, Jamaica.  Fr. Fennessy earned graduate degrees in the Classics, Philosophy and Theology from Boston College and Weston Jesuit School of Theology.  Ordained in 1970, he was active in the Campus Ministry Team at John Carroll University for 26 years, serving also as Team Director and Rector of the Jesuit Community.  Since studying Theology and Art and Buddhist Aesthetics during a 2000-2001 sabbatical at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, he has used the fine arts to illustrate his preached retreats. In coordination with the Detroit Institute of Art's recent exhibition, Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus, Fr. Fennessy offered illustrated retreats on the same theme.  After a sabbatical at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California, he joined the staff of Manresa Jesuit Retreat House in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where he gives both preached and individually directed retreats.  He appreciates the confluence of art and spirituality and utilizes art in his retreat presentations wherever possible.

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Sr. Linda Fischer

Sr. Linda Fischer is a member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ from Columbia, PA.  A teacher by profession, Sr. Linda left the classroom in 2005.  Since then she has been involved in full-time 12 Step retreat ministry. Sr. Linda has been a grateful recovering alcoholic for the past 26 years and says she loves facilitating recovery retreats because “she receives every bit as much as she gives.”  She calls her own journey in recovery one of the greatest blessings in her life.

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Rachel Fitzgibbon

Rachel Fitzgibbon currently serves as Marketing and Retreat Coordinator for Bellarmine. She is a graduate of Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa and has a BA in Theology and Public Relations with a minor in Catholic Studies. Rachel's past ministry experience includes coordinating and facilitating Kairos retreats, Antioch retreats, and leading small group Bible studies. In addition to her retreat ministry, Rachel also serves as a volunteer and Young Professionals Board Member for PHD Counseling Center in Inverness, IL.

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Fr. Robert Flack, SJ

Fr. Robert Flack was born in 1948 in Chicago.  He attended the seminary system in the Chicago Archdiocese and was ordained at Mundelein Seminary in 1974.  He served at several parishes of the Archdiocese before entering the Society of Jesus in 1983.  As a Jesuit, he has served as a pastor on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, taught sociology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, directed retreats at the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth in Wernersville, Pennsylvania, and earned a PhD from the University of Washington (Seattle).  He taught demography and urban studies for seven years in St. Louis University’s Department of Public Policy Studies.  Fr. Flack served on the staff of the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House, including several months as administrator.  He has also worked as an assistant in the Chicago-Detroit Province’s Office of Victim Advocacy.  He is currently the Director of Spiritual Life at St. Joseph College Seminary in Chicago.

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Fr. Jim Harbaugh, SJ

Fr. Jim Harbaugh is from St. Louis, Missouri; he has been a Jesuit for 53 years and a priest for 40 years. He has taught high school and college (English and, later, Addictions Counseling). For more than 25 years he has been giving retreats, mostly to 12 Step recovering groups. He has lived and worked in the Archdiocese of Seattle for 27 years. He has been on the parish staffs of St. Therese-Seattle, St. Leo-Tacoma, and St. Patrick-Tacoma. He is the author of books on 12 Step implications of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola and of the Sunday Lectionary readings. He lives in the Jesuit community at Bellarmine High School, Tacoma.

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Fr. Brad Held, SJ

Brad Held entered the Society of Jesus in 2006. He was born and raised just outside of Milwaukee, WI. He attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, which is where he discerned a call to priesthood and came to see the Jesuits as the path through which he was to answer that call. Since entering the Jesuits he has studied at Fordham University and Boston College as well as taught at Red Cloud High School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He will be ordained a priest in June 2017.

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Fr. Doug Leonhardt, SJ

A native of Milwaukee, Fr. Leonhardt entered the Society of Jesus in 1956 and was ordained a priest in 1969.  Since his ordination, he has served as the Principal and the President of Marquette University High School, as the Director of Novices and the Formation Director of the Wisconsin Province, and as the Pastor of Gesu Parish in Milwaukee.  For a period of time during his 2003 sabbatical, Fr. Leonhardt directed retreats in Kenya and Uganda.  He has extensive experience in directing the Spiritual Exercises and is presently working as Jesuit Superior for the St. Camillus assisted living community.

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Keith Maczkiewicz, SJ

Keith Maczkiewicz, SJ, a Long Island, New York native,  joined the New England province of Jesuits in the summer of 2008. Keith graduated from Fairfield University in Connecticut, and did two years of service with the Providence Alliance for Catholic Teachers (PACT), serving as a campus minister at a diocesan high school in Springfield, Massachusetts and living in community with other volunteer teachers.   After completing two years there and earning an M.Ed. from Providence College, Keith began working at The University of Scranton in Pennsylvania in the office of Campus Ministry doing primarily retreat and justice work while living in a freshmen residence hall. After taking vows in the Society in 2010, Keith completed his philosophy studies at Loyola University Chicago in 2013. From 2013-15, Keith worked in the chaplains’ office at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. In August 2015, he began his theology studies at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA.

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Fr. Mike Marco, SJ

Fr. Michael J. Marco, SJ was born in Omaha, NE, graduated from Creighton University in 1984, with a BA in Psychology, Boston College University with an MEd, Weston Jesuit School of Theology with an MDiv, and earned his teacher certification at Marquette University.    He joined the Society of Jesus in 1984.  He has been a theology instructor, retreat director, spiritual director, Director of Campus Ministry, and President of Walsh Jesuit High School and Georgetown Preparatory School.  Fr. Marco currently serves as President at Marquette University High School.

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Mrs. Mary McKeon

Mary McKeon is a member of Bellarmine's ministry staff, a spiritual director, and coordinator of women's ministry.  Mary is a graduate of Marquette University.  She taught school in Milwaukee's inner city before moving to Washington, DC to work for the United States Senate.  She and her late husband have a daughter, son-in-law and three grandsons who are the joy of her life.  Mary received her training as a spiritual/retreat director at the Jesuits' Manresa Retreat House in Bloomfield Hills, MI, where she served on the ministry team and became their first Director of Women's Ministry.  In 2014, Mary was the second person to be honored with Manresa's Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Fr. David Meconi, SJ

Fr. David Vincent Meconi, S.J., is an Associate Professor of Historical Theology as well as the Director of the new Catholic Studies Centre at Saint Louis University; he is also the editor of Homiletic and Pastoral Review. He holds the pontifical license in Early Church History from the University of Innsbruck in Austria, as well as a doctorate in Patristics from the University of Oxford. He has published numerous books and articles on the early Church, most recently is his 101 Surprising Facts About Church History (St. Benedict’s Press).  Fr. Meconi is a Fellow of the Augustinian Institute at Villanova University; he serves on the boards of the St. Benedict Forum at Hope College in Holland, MI, as well as on the ecclesiastical board of Boston College.

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Fr. Keith Muccino, SJ

Fr. Muccino currently works as a physician and medical educator at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago.  Fr. Muccino’s love for retreat work has been a lifelong passion.  While at Georgetown University from 1991-2004, he directed students, faculty, staff and alumni on a variety of Ignatian retreat experiences.  Since moving to Chicago in 2004 to take on his current position at Loyola University Medical Center, he has continued to direct retreats for parish and professional groups that are seeking to connect God to the busy pace and challenges that are a part of everyday contemporary life.

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Dr. Terry Nelson-Johnson

Dr. Nelson-Johnson is an inspirational, prolific, and energetic story-teller, writer, and presenter.  Often referred to as the “Robin Williams of Catholicism,” Terry challenges audiences to enter more deeply into the mystery, grace, and love of God.  He is the recipient of the 2014 Loyola University Chicago's Damen Award from the Institute of Pastoral Studies, resident theologian at Old St. Patrick’s Church, and leader of the "Beloved" Retreat.  Terry is the founder as well as a creative and animating partner of Soul Play, LLC. 

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Fr. Tom O'Neill, SJ

Fr. Tom O’Neill, SJ is an Associate Pastor at St. Ignatius Parish in Sacramento, CA. He entered the Society of Jesus in September of 1976 and was ordained in June of 1990. Fr. Tom taught for many years at Loyola High School in Los Angeles and after receiving an M.F.A. in painting from the Pratt Institute in New York, worked in the Fine Arts department at the University of San Francisco. Prior to moving to Sacramento, Fr. Tom served as the Superior of the Jesuit Community at St. Ignatius Prep in San Francisco. Beginning in 2006, Fr. Tom developed a deep love for the ministry of the Jesuits among the Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Reservation. He worked at Our Lady of the Sioux church in Oglala, South Dakota and served on the Board of Directors of Red Cloud Indian School – the Jesuit mission on the Reservation. He currently serves at The Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos, CA. In recent years, Fr. Tom has become involved in Recovery work, finding a deep freedom and grace in 12 Step work.

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Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ

In the year 2000, Father Mitchell Pacwa, SJ established Ignatius Productions, a Catholic media production apostolate, under the Society of Jesus, whose mission is to teach people the scriptures, educate Catholics about their Faith, and promote unity and understanding within the Mystical Body of Christ. Ff. Pacwa received his BA in Philosophy and Theology from the University of Detroit, summa cum laude. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1976 with the Society of Jesus and then continued his studies and then received his Master of Divinity and STB. from the Jesuit School of Theology of Loyola University, magna cum laude. At Vanderbilt University, he received his Master of Arts as well as his PhD in Old Testament.  Fr. Pacwa is fluent in twelve languages and has a unique understanding of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East. Father’s extensive travels to the Holy Land have inspired him to write the “Holy Land Prayer Book,” which has been published by his Jesuit apostolate, Ignatius Productions. Fr. Pacwa also has the privilege of being bi-ritual, which means he also celebrates the Maronite Mass of the Eastern Catholic Church. He is best known for his appearances on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), where he currently hosts two television programs – “Threshold of Hope” and “EWTN LIVE” and as the weekly host of EWTN Radio “OPEN LINE” program.

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Fr. David Shields, SJ

Fr. Shields entered the Society of Jesus in 1961.  After finishing his theological studies in Toronto, he was ordained a priest in 1973.  He served on the Pine Ridge Reservation among the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) from 1974 to 1989.  From 1990 to 1995, he was Assistant Director of the Family Life Office for the Diocese of Rapid City, SD.  In 1996, he began ministry among Milwaukee’s Latino population, where for the last nine years he has served as Executive Director of Casa Romero Renewal Center, an urban bilingual spirituality center.

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Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ

Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ is a member of Bellarmine’s resident staff. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama and a Masters of Divinity from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, IL.  He is the founder of Charis Ministries, the Jesuit retreat ministry for outreach to young adults in their twenties and thirties and has trained spiritual directors at Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Pastoral Studies.  A prolific writer and speaker, Fr. Michael has published books on prayer and the sacraments with Franciscan Media, Paulist Press, and Liturgical Training Publications.  His latest book, What’s Your Decision? is published by Loyola Press. 

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Team of Veterans

No Biography Yet!

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Fr. Tom Weston, SJ

Fr. Tom Weston, SJ, entered the California Province of the Jesuit Order in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1978.  Currently based in Oakland, CA, he has devoted most of his priestly life to counseling and retreat work with alcoholics and other addicts.  In addition to his Twelve Step work, he was part of a team that taught English to ministry students in Thailand and Vietnam each summer.  “Wherever he is, Fr. Weston sees the power of God working in people’s lives, but perhaps most acutely in his recovery work:  ‘People get well.  People come back to life.  Families come back together,” he says.  ‘It’s the Resurrection—and you see it all the time.’ ” (Tyson, Gail.  “Helping Others Find Sobriety.”  Mission 2008 Summer:  pg. 7.  Print.)

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