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Retreat Masters

Meet the Retreat Masters


Fr. Peter Bernardi, SJ

Peter Bernardi, the eldest of 8 children, graduated from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Xavier University (1972). After graduate philosophy studies and teaching (St. Ursula Academy) in Cincinnati, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1976. Ordained a priest in 1987, he completed doctoral studies in theology at The Catholic University of America. He has taught theology at Loyola University of New Orleans (1996-2010) and at Loyola University of Chicago (2009-2020). Currently he serves as “theologian in residence” at the Lumen Christi Institute [] and as a sacramental minister at Calvert House in Hyde Park, Chicago.

Upcoming Retreats

Dr. Amy Cattapan

Amy J. Cattapan, DM, Ed.D., is an award-winning author, speaker, and teacher. Her book Sweet Jesus, Is It June Yet: 10 Ways the Gospels Can Help You Combat Teacher Burnout and Rediscover Your Passion for Teaching releases August 1, 2021, from Ave Maria Press. Her YA novel Angelhood and her middle grade book Seven Riddles to Nowhere have won multiple awards. She's also been published in children’s magazines and three Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She is a regular contributor to the Homeschooling Saints Podcast as well as the host of Cath-Lit Live! Follow her at

Upcoming Retreats

Dr. Avis Clendenen

Avis Clendenen is professor emerita of religious studies from Saint Xavier University in Chicago. Among other publications, she is the coauthor with Troy Martin of Forgiveness: Finding Freedom through Reconciliation and author of Experiencing Hildegard: Jungian Perspectives. Currently, she offers retreats and days of reflection that integrate insights from depth psychology with spiritual life and growth.

Upcoming Retreats

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-time 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.

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Bob Dufford, SJ

Fr. Bob Dufford, SJ is a Jesuit priest and well-known composer of liturgical music. He has taught in high school and college, and given hundreds of workshops in liturgy and music. For nearly 20 years, he has offered retreats and spiritual direction at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and, since 2010, at Creighton University Retreat Center in Griswold, Iowa.

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Patrick Fairbanks, SJ

Fr. Fairbanks hails from the Cincinnati area and taught English and religion for many years in the US and overseas. Inspired by the life of Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier, he was led to enter the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus in 1989. Fr. Fairbanks studied philosophy, classical languages, and theology at Loyola Chicago and Weston Jesuit School of Theology. Ordained a Jesuit priest in 2000, Fr. Fairbanks served at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago and then visited Bolivia and Peru as part of his Spanish language training and tertianship experience. In 2006 he was missioned as the Director of Vocations for the Chicago Jesuits and as Rector of the Jesuit Community at St. Ignatius College Prep. Fr. Fairbanks has served as spiritual director for Jesuits, candidates, students, and adults for twelve years. Having pronounced his final vows in 2009, Fr. Fairbanks was assigned as pastor at St. Xavier Church in Cincinnati. He now serves as superior of the Jesuit community in Chicago and Chaplain at St. Ignatius. Among other hobbies, he enjoys traveling, photography, astronomy, the Beatles, camping, country and classical music.

Upcoming Retreats

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 29 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.

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Dan Hartnett, SJ

Fr. Dan worked in Latin America (Peru) for over 20 years. He then returned to Chicago to assist with Jesuits in formation at Loyola University. After working at Loyola for ten years, he was asked to be pastor at Most Blessed Trinity Parish in Waukegan and, then subsequently, pastor of Robert Bellarmine Parish at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Once completed those assignments, Dan returned to Chicago where he serves as spiritual director, instructor and associate pastor at St. Ignatius Parish in Rogers Park.

Este día estará guiado por P. Daniel Hartnett, S.J. - un jesuita quien trabaja en la Universidad de Loyola de Chicago y también en diversas parroquias de nuestra arquidiócesis. ¡Vengan a compartir este día con nosotros!

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Brad Held, SJ

Brad Held entered the Society of Jesus in 2006 and ordained to the priesthood in June 2017. 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. He has taught at Red Cloud High School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Marquette University High School in Milwaukee. Since June 2019, he has served as Pastor of Holy Rosary Mission, which encompasses the nine Catholic Churches on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Upcoming Retreats

Nancy and Tom Hulsebosch

No Biography Yet!

Upcoming Retreats

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.

Upcoming Retreats

Maureen Martin

Maureen M. Martin, MDiv, LCPC, is a counselor and spiritual director. Previously, she worked as a hospice chaplain, pediatrician, and pediatric nurse. After many life transitions, Maureen has woven together her losses and shares her insights of hope, even in crisis, through writing, public speaking and spiritual direction. She lives in Evanston, Illinois.

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Richard McGurn, SJ

Fr. Richard McGurn, SJ, M.A. Psych., M.Div, was ordained in 1975.  He directed the internship for spiritual directors at the Jesuit retreat house in Cincinnati.  He has served the major superior of the Chicago Jesuits as his executive assistant and as director of formation for young Jesuits preparing for ordination and ministry.  Just prior to coming to Bellarmine, he was superior of the Jesuit community at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL.

Upcoming Retreats

    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, granddaughter, 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.

    Upcoming Retreats

    Fr. David Meconi, SJ

    Fr. David Vincent Meconi, SJ 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.

    Upcoming Retreats

    Fr. Tim Meier, SJ

    Fr. Tim Meier, SJ was a Chaplain in the California National Guard (2006-2018) who deployed overseas four times. Fr. Meier holds a BA in Music and Biology from Kalamazoo College, an MA in Philosophy from Loyola University Chicago, an MS in Biology from Georgetown University, an MDiv and a ThM from Weston Jesuit School of Theology, as well as a PhD in Molecular Neurobiology from Stanford University where he served as the Undergraduate Research Coordinator and Director of the Honors Program in Biology. He has been clean and sober since September 1979.

    Upcoming Retreats

    Fr. Keith Muccino, SJ

    Dr. Muccino served as Associate Provost for Educational Resources at Loyola University Chicago’s Health Sciences Campus until May of 2019. In July 2019 he begins his new dual assignment as consultant to the Office of Medical Education at UMASS Medical School, and assistant to the Office of Health Professions Advising at The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

    In addition to his administrative and educational responsibilities, Fr. Muccino has spent the past twenty five years pursuing his passion for giving preached weekend retreats, individually directed retreats, parish retreats, and days of recollection centered on adult faith-formation.

    Upcoming Retreats

    Elizabeth Neubauer

    With more than 30 years of daily spiritual practice, Elizabeth understands the gifts of a contemplative journey. She has given presentations on personal growth and the desire for a deeper understanding of God to a wide range of groups. Elizabeth has served as retreat leader and provided spiritual direction at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh. In addition, she has lead groups at First Fruits – Women Growing in Faith on topics including prayer and meditation and the spirituality of the 12 Steps. Her goal as a retreat leader is to provide food for thought that encourages individuals to go deeper into self-knowledge and to explore their experience of a Higher Power, God or Deep Self however they define this journey for themselves. 

    Elizabeth has degrees in Art and Business and is a graduate of the Spiritual Guidance Training Program at the Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin. She believes spiritual direction provides a dedicated time and place to explore the movement of Spirit in an environment of openness and respect. Her practice is inclusive of all faith traditions as well as individuals who do not ascribe to any organized religion.

    Past careers have included Development Director, Photographer, Employee Assistance Program Coordinator and Funeral Director. She is a member of Spiritual Directors International.

    Upcoming Retreats

    Fr. Roc O'Connor, SJ

    Since 2018, and with his provincial’s direction, Roc O’Connor, SJ has been composing and writing nearly full-time. In June of 2020 OCP published his collection of eight new songs, All Shall Be Well: The Hand of God. During the lockdown from COVID he submitted a three year writing project on liturgical spirituality for publication. It twins with his article to be published in Worship magazine, July 2021. Both deal with the question, How can divided, divisive Catholics profess belief in the Body of Christ yet take it apart all week long? 

    Upcoming Retreats

    Fr. Bernie Owens, SJ

    Fr. Bernie Owens is a member of the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).  He recently returned from Nairobi, Kenya in East Africa where for five years he guided many people making retreats according to the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola and taught part-time in the Jesuit seminary in Nairobi.  

    Most recently he has written and had published a paperback entitled More Than You Could Ever Imagine: On Our Becoming Divine.  It tells the story of our Passover into God, how God transforms us into another Christ, freed from our self-centeredness to relate selflessly and with God’s love to others, to the world, to God, and to our own self.  It gives the broad outlines or sketch of the journey that Christians and in general all peoples make home to God, as well as what are some of the amazing chapters in our life story as we realize our ultimate destiny in Christ.  Fr. Bernie is soon to finish a second book, Realizing Our Deepest Desires: Experiencing God As Never Before.  It tells of how God evokes, stage by stage, the deepest and most pure desires of our soul, the best parts of ourself, so that we can become the best of friends with Him and a Beloved Disciple of Jesus.

    In August of 2019 Fr. Bernie began a new ministry at St. John’s Jesuit High School and Academy in Toledo.  It is a school for 725 boys, ages 12-18.  He has been asked to create various programs for the parents of the students and for the members of St. John’s Board of Trustees and their spouses.  Lastly, he is helping out with weekend masses at St Martin de Porres, the African-American inner city parish of Toledo.

    Upcoming Retreats

    Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ

    Father Pacwa received his B.A. 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, as a Master of Divinity and S.T.B. 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 Ph.D. in Old Testament. He is best known for his appearances on EWTN for over the last thirty years. Fr. Pacwa is a best-selling Catholic author and has written numerous books on a variety of topics about the Scripture and our Catholic Faith to continue to teach us and generations to come. To leave a Legacy means to: bequest, give an inheritance or endowment. That is the singular driving motivation for Father Pacwa‘s fervent desire to reach out and speak to groups of young Catholic adults. Father Pacwa’s vision is to create a “Legacy of Faith” for the next generation of Catholics who strive to grow and mature in their faith and become the future leaders of our Church. Father Pacwa ardently believes that personally reaching out to young adults in an intimate setting where he can connect and answer questions is the most effective way to reach across generational gaps. He reminds us all that through our Baptism we are called to be sharers of the Church’s mission which is to continue the works of Jesus Christ and to make His name known and loved. For more information visit:

    Upcoming Retreats

    Carol Pankros

    I welcome you into this journey where God’s loving presence is leading us in conversation and prayer. several years ago, I met with a Spiritual Director from Holy Family and it changed my life. I was so grateful to have had the experience of discovering how God was an intimate part of my daily life. He is here for us even when we don’t see or hear Him. I am grateful to walk with others as we experience God’s love and care.

    This life journey is what brought me into Spiritual Direction: the desire to listen and encourage others as they walk in their journey with God. I call our sessions “holding space” with someone centered and grounded in God’s love. I offer our time together to be a confidential listening resource for whatever feelings you may be experiencing. My Spiritual Direction training has been with Bellarmine Jesuit House in Barrington, IL in their three year program with ongoing resources. My practice is centered in Ignatian tradition. Over the years, I’ve been involved with several church ministries, of which the richest of my experiences were those that involved forming relationships centered in faith. I am a member of Holy Family Parish, married to my husband, Paul. We have two daughters, two son in laws, and 6 grandchildren. I am retired from my career which provided me so much enjoyment on both a professional and personal level.

    Upcoming Retreats

      Michael Pederson, SJ

      Michael Pederson, SJ is currently studying social philosophy and environmental science & sustainability at Loyola University Chicago.  He is a former landscape laborer, high-school biology and psychology teacher, soccer coach, and 5th grade teacher.

      Upcoming Retreats

      Joshua Peters, SJ

      Joshua Peters, SJ is the Director of Mission and Identity at Christ the King Jesuit College Prep on Chicago's West Side. He serves on the leadership team for the Jesuit Antiracism Sodality (JARS) of the Midwest Jesuit Province.

      Upcoming Retreats

      Fr. Jeff Putthoff, SJ

      Fr. Jeff Putthoff, SJ is a Jesuit priest.  He is deeply interested in creating communities of healing, empowering young people, brain health, and finding God in all things.  He has worked as a high school teacher, associate pastor, executive director and high school president, using his unique experience in organizational dynamics, leadership, brain health and Ignatian spirituality, applying it to youth education and organizational life. He is a retreat leader and a director of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola deeply desiring to help others connect to God.   He is a gifted national speaker on trauma-informed care, organizational dynamics, youth formation, Ignatian spirituality and leadership.

      Upcoming Retreats

      Barbara Ritson

      Barbara Ritson completed a 3-year Internship in Ignatian Spiritual Direction at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House.  She is a retired Religious bookshop Manager at the (Benedictine) Buckfast Abbey Bookshop in Devon, England. Barbara is presently in the 4-year Scripture Program at Loyola’s Institute of Pastoral Studies and is an active member of St Patrick’s Parish in St Charles where she is an Extraordinary Minister. She has many years’ participation in Bible study, contemplative prayer groups and Ignatian guided retreats.

      Upcoming Retreats

        Fr. Nestor Sanchez

        Fr. Nestor Sanchez trained for the priesthood in the religious community of Missionaries Serves of the Word.  He was ordained in 2019 in the Diocese of Joliet.

        Upcoming Retreats

        Holly Schapker

        In 2007, artist Holly Schapker made a pilgrimage to Spain and Rome to learn about St. Ignatius of Loyola. Through the 19th Annotation retreat, Holly integrated the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius into her daily life. These experiences changed her life and her art in a profound way. In keeping with St. Ignatius' devotion to Our Blessed Mother, Holly created a painting exhibition based on Mary for the Marian Library at the University of Dayton. She has traveled the nation presenting her evangelical paintings and continues to give lectures on the creative process and Ignatian Spirituality. Her works have been published and displayed worldwide. Even Pope Francis attained a portrait of the pope's mother that Holly painted which was presented to him in Vatican City. Holly resides and paints in Cincinnati, Ohio.

        Upcoming Retreats

        Fr. Timothy Seigel

        Father Tim Siegel is the parochial vicar for Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Cary Illinois. He was ordained in May of 1991 and has spent all of his years in ministry with the Diocese of Rockford. Father Seigel received his Masters of Divinity degree from Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales corners Wisconsin, a Masters of Theological Studies from St. Meinrad School of theology in 1987, and and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in sociology from Loras College in 1983. He has been in recovery since 1984.

        Upcoming Retreats

        Fr. David Shields, SJ

        Fr. David Shields, SJ is a Jesuit priest of the USA Midwest Province who has been involved in retreat ministry for over 40 years in many formats. In addition to this ministry, Fr. Shields has spent some 20 years with the Oglala Sioux on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and, more recently, nearly 22 years in Hispanic ministry in Milwaukee, WI. Currently he is the Director of Spiritual Programs at Casa Romero Renewal Center in Milwaukee. Casa Romero is an urban bilingual spirituality center offering bilingual retreats and formation to 1st and 2nd generation Latinx in southeast Wisconsin.

        Upcoming Retreats

          Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ

          Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ is a retreat director and spiritual director at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington.  He holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama and a Doctor of Ministry from St Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, IL. He is the founder of Charis, a national Jesuit retreat ministry for young adults in their 20s and 30s, and has trained spiritual directors at Loyola University-Chicago.  

          A prolific writer and speaker, Fr. Michael has published books, CDs, and DVDs on prayer, discernment, and the sacraments with Franciscan Media, Paulist Press, Liturgical Training Publications, Loyola Press, and Heart to Heart. He is seen regularly on Shalom World Catholic Television and is heard regularly on Sacred Heart radio in Cincinnati and WSFI Catholic Radio in greater Chicagoland. 

          His latest co-authored book is What’s Your Decision?  An Ignatian Approach to Decision Making and is published by Loyola Press.  

          Fr. Michael’s weekly video homilies can be seen online at www.HtoH.US.

          Upcoming Retreats

          Fr. Jayme Stayer, SJ

          Jayme Stayer holds degrees in music, literature, and theology. Currently Associate Professor of English at Loyola University Chicago, he has written numerous articles and books on modernist literature. He is also the president of the International T. S. Eliot Society and an award-winning editor of Eliot's Complete Prose, Volume 5.

          Upcoming Retreats

          Fr. Jim Strzok, SJ

          Fr. Jim Strzok, SJ is a new member of the team at Bellarmine. Born in northern Wisconsin, he attended Campion Jesuit HS, where he received his vocation to be a Jesuit. Trained as a scientist and educationalist, he holds a BS in chemistry and physics, an MS in earth sciences, and an MA in ascetical theology. Following teaching science for several years, he made his tertianship in India and returned to serve Native American Sioux of South Dakota for 18 years. In 1986 he was assigned to assist building the new Jesuit Province in East Africa. There, he gave and trained Africans to give Ignatian retreats and offer spiritual direction. Because the Jesuit province was growing exponentially, he also became a builder, using his environmental and practical background to build schools, Jesuit residences, and buildings that are environmentally sustainable. He just returned from 33 years serving in Africa last year.  

          Upcoming Retreats

          Eric Styles

          Eric Styles is the lay rector of Carroll Hall, an undergraduate residential community at the University of Notre Dame.  He published in America, Church Life Journal, Liturgy Training Publications, and U.S. Catholic.  Eric is a collaborator with Afro House, a Baltimore based music driven performance art ensemble and a former Jesuit scholastic trained in Ignatian spiritual direction.

          Upcoming Retreats

          Bellarmine Jesuit Ministry Team and Additional Spiritual Directors

          The ministry team leads the spiritual direction of retreats and programs at Bellarmine.  You can find out more about the Individually Directed Retreat spiritual directors here.

          Upcoming Retreats

          Team of Veterans

          The Veterans Ministry Team are dedicated to helping veterans from all ages in their path to spiritual healing.

          Upcoming Retreats

          Matthew Zurcher, SJ

          Matthew Zurcher, SJ is studying social philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.  He is a former halfway-house supervisor, high-school English teacher, choral conductor, and prison chaplain.

          Upcoming Retreats

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