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Retreat Masters

Meet the Retreat Masters

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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.

Upcoming Retreats
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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 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
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Rachel Forton

Rachel Forton currently serves as Communications Coordinator for Bellarmine. She is a graduate of Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa and holds a BA in Public Relations and Theology with a concentration in Catholic Studies. Rachel's ministry experience includes coordinating and facilitating Kairos high school retreats, Antioch college retreats, and leading small group Bible studies. She is currently an intern in Bellarmine's Spiritual Direction Training Program. Rachel lives in Palatine, Illinois with her husband and young daughter.

Upcoming Retreats
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Nathaniel Gee

Originally from the Chicago area, Nathaniel converted to Catholicism while at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa on track and football scholarships. He spent a year with the Dominican Order discerning religious life, taught for 3 years at Columbus Catholic High in Waterloo, Iowa, completed a Masters in Theology and served in Campus Ministry and Student Life at Loras College. He now teaches theology and coaches football at Wahlert Catholic High in Dubuque, Iowa. With many insights into life and faith, Nathaniel is a spiritual director who speaks at many events and retreats.

Upcoming Retreats
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Fr. James Gschwend, SJ, PhD

Fr. James Gschwend, SJ, PhD is a member of Bellarmine’s resident staff. His background includes administrative positions in Jesuit high schools, working at Community Mental Health in San Francisco, and serving as Director of Spirituality in the sabbatical program at the School of Applied Theology in Oakland and Berkeley. In Berkeley he also served as Assistant Rector for the Jesuit School of Theology. Following a fellowship year on the clinical staff at the Southdown Institute in Canada, Fr. Gschwend served the Chicago Jesuit Provincial as assistant for personnel, assisting men with healthcare needs and transitions in ministry.

Upcoming Retreats
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Fr. Dan Hartnett, SJ

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
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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
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Molly Henry

Molly Henry leads individuals and teams to learn, love, and live their strengths.  Molly uses her talents (in the CliftonStrengths themes of Learner, Input, Achiever, Connectedness, Activator) to design and facilitate engaging, transformative learning experiences. She has guided hundreds of individuals to discover their God-given talents, build them into strengths, and intentionally use these strengths to fully become the person God created them to be. Molly holds an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Sociology from DePaul University. She is a Gallup-certified Strengths coach and Principal at Molly Henry Strengths Coaching and Consulting.

Upcoming Retreats
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Fr. Al Johnson

Fr. Al Johnson is a native Chicagoan (South Side) and an Episcopal Priest.  Locally he most recently served as Rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Barrington.  Now he serves in the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania on a part-time basis.  Al also serves as the volunteer chaplain for Barrington Countryside Fire District as well as participates regularly in the AA community in Barrington and in Erie, PA.  Fr. Al is also married to Vickie and together they have three children, two alive, Hannah and Zachary, and one that died in 1989, Nicholas.  They have been residents of the Barrington Community since 1990.

Upcoming Retreats
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Bobby Karle, SJ

Bobby Karle is a Jesuit from the Midwest Province and co-founder of Ignatian Yoga. He began practicing yoga in 2009, between serving as a Jesuit Volunteer in Belize and entering the Jesuit order in 2010. During Jesuit formation, he has completed a 500-hour yoga teacher training, a Masters degree in Philosophy from Fordham University, and is currently partinging in the Masters of Divinity program at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA in preparation for priestly ordination. Bobby’s spiritual practice and teaching is deeply informed by both the East and West and uses the body and breath to realize Christ’s presence.

Upcoming Retreats
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Fr. Jim Kubicki, SJ

Fr. Jim Kubicki was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1971 and was ordained in 1983. From 1984-88 he served as the Vocation Director and from 1995-99 as the Director of Formation for the Jesuits of the upper Midwest. From 1989-95 he worked at the Sioux Spiritual Center, a retreat house for Native Americans in western South Dakota. During that time he was also the Assistant Director of the Diocese of Rapid City’s deacon and lay ministry formation program. He has given retreats around the country since 1986 and was on the staff of Demontreville, the Jesuit retreat house in Lake Elmo, MN from 2000-03. In 2003 he became the national director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer), a position he held for fourteen years. In 2017 he moved to the Rosebud Reservation in western South Dakota where he currently serves as the director of St. Francis Mission which was founded in 1886. Fr. Kubicki appears regularly on Catholic radio shows around the country. His book “A Heart on Fire: Rediscovering Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” was selected by the Catholic Book Publishers Association as among the three best spirituality books in 2012. His latest book is “A Year of Daily Offerings.”

Upcoming Retreats
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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.

Upcoming Retreats
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Fr. Matthew Linn, SJ

Fr. Matthew Linn, SJ (as a team with Dennis and Sheila Linn) has focused on integrating physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. He has advanced graduate degrees in sociology, anthropology, spirituality, and theology. Since 1970 he has taught courses and given retreats on healing in every state and in more than 60 countries. Ordained in l973, he currently lives in a Jesuit community in Minneapolis where he trains spiritual directors at Sacred Ground and serves on the editorial board of Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction. Fr. Linn, Dennis, and Sheila have written 22 books translated in more than 20 languages, (all in Spanish) and with more than a million copies in English.

Upcoming Retreats
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Fr. Paul Macke, SJ

Fr. Macke is the Jesuit Mission Coordinator at the Jesuit Spiritual Center in Milford, Ohio and Jesuit Liaison for Ignatius House in downtown Cincinnati (a young adult intentional community). The previous six years he was Executive Director of the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat in Barrington, IL.

Previously, Fr. Macke had served as the Secretary for Pastoral Ministries and Jesuit Life for the Jesuit Conference of the United States in Washington, DC for six years. Prior to joining the Conference, Macke worked in Alaska for 17 years, devoting eight years to the Holy Spirit Center in Anchorage, Alaska, where he served as its executive director for six years.

Father Macke entered the Society of Jesus in 1963, earning a BA in classics and a Masters of Divinity, both from Loyola University of Chicago. After his ordination in 1973, Macke went on to receive a MA in counseling psychology from Loyola, and a D. Min. in pastoral psychotherapy from the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.

As the Secretary for Pastoral Ministries and Jesuit Life, Father Macke worked to promote the ministries involved with the over 100 Jesuit parishes and missions in the USA, plus 28 Jesuit retreat and spirituality centers throughout the United States, Christian Life Communities, and the Apostleship of Prayer. Likewise, he was involved with all areas concerning Jesuit community life, such as training for new Jesuit Superiors and the Health Care Coordinators for the Jesuit Provinces in the United States. He helped develop the Educational Component for Ethics in Ministry—a series of four video cases concerning boundaries with adults in ministry and the use and abuse of the Internet. This program is now being used for religious men in the USA and in other countries as well as a number of Catholic Dioceses in the USA. Fr. Macke has served in Jesuit formation as the vocation director for the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus from 1989 until 1993.

Upcoming Retreats
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Fr. Keith Maczkiewicz, SJ

Rev. Keith Maczkiewicz, S.J. a native of Long Island, New York, joined the Northeast Province Jesuits in the summer of 2008. A graduate of Fairfield University and Providence College, after entering the Society of Jesus Keith did his philosophy studies at Loyola University Chicago and his theology studies at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA. His ministry has been mainly in campus ministry at the college and high school level, in retreat work, and in faith formation, where he served as the DRE at a diverse parish in Oakland, CA. Keith was ordained a priest in June 2018 and serves as Assistant Chaplain at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.

Upcoming Retreats
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Erin Maiorca

No Biography Yet!

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Fr. Tim Manatt, SJ

Fr. Tim Manatt, S.J. is pastor of two mainly Spanish-speaking parishes on the Near South Side of Milwaukee— Our Lady of Guadalupe and St Patrick’s. Ordained in 2007, Fr. Manatt’s previous assignments were as a parish priest on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, and then as president of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis. Fr. Manatt has deep roots in Iowa and has always felt most at home in the Midwest, though he himself grew up in Los Angeles. He is an avid sports fan who enjoys a weekly tennis game with fellow Jesuits at Marquette University, and often spends his free day (Thursday) either at the movies, reading short stories, trying out some new barbecue restaurant, or riding his bike.

Upcoming Retreats
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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, 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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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: http://kingsservants.org/legacy-of-faithinitiative.

Upcoming Retreats
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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
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Fr. Michael Rossmann, SJ

Fr. Michael Rossmann, SJ is a vocation promoter for the Jesuits. He works with young adults in discernment across the Midwest. Fr. Rossmann joined the Jesuits in 2007, just after graduating from the University of Notre Dame. He taught in Tanzania for two years and has graduate degrees from Loyola University Chicago and Boston College. He has been active in the use of new media, starting the "One-Minute Homily" and previously serving as the editor-in-chief of The Jesuit Post.

Upcoming Retreats
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Fr. Ed Schmidt, SJ

Fr. Schmidt earned a Master of Science in Linguistics from Georgetown University, and served on faculty at Loyola, teaching various languages.  In the mid-seventies through early eighties, he served in Campus Ministry at Loyola University and as Pastor of Bellarmine Chapel. 

He has been the Associate Editor/Manager of “Company” magazine since September 1982.

Fr. Schmidt was ordained in Chicago in 1993, received his Master of Divinity from Loyola, and has been Province consultor since 1996.

Upcoming Retreats
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Dr. Michael Schuck

Michael is a Professor of Christian Ethics in the Theology Department at Loyola University Chicago. He is also the Co-Director of the International Jesuit Ecology Project which has produced Healing Earth, a free online textbook in environmental science, ethics, spirituality and action. In addition to environmental ethics, Michael teaches and does research in the areas of Roman Catholic social thought, theological and philosophical ethics, and religious ethics and social theory.

Upcoming Retreats
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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
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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
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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

Team of Veterans

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

Upcoming Retreats
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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.)

Upcoming Retreats
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Dr. C. Vanessa White

Dr. C. Vanessa White is Assistant Professor of Spirituality and Ministry, Director of the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies, and the Master of Arts in Specialized Ministries as well as the Director of the Certificate in Pastoral Studies and the Certificate in Black Theology and Ministry at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She is a member of the summer faculty of Xavier University of Louisiana’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies in New Orleans where she teaches in both the Master’s degree and Continuing Education and Enrichment Program. 

She has a Bachelor of Science degree with a focus in Child Development and Family Service (Northern Illinois University, 1978), Master in Theological Studies with a concentration in Mission and Cross-Cultural Studies (Catholic Theological Union, 1991) and a Doctor of Ministry with a concentration in Spirituality (Catholic Theological Union, 2005).

Dr. White is co-editor of the book (with Dr. Cecilia Moore and Fr. Paul Marshall, SM), Songs of the Heart and Meditations of the Soul – A book of prayers published by St. Anthony Messenger Press and contributing author for Amoris Laetitia: A New Momentum for Moral and Pastoral Formation (Paulist Press, 2018) and Liturgy and Justice: To Worship God in Spirit and Truth (Liturgical Press, 2002) She has published articles and essays in New Theology Review, U.S. Catholic, AMERICA, and CNN.org and is also a regular contributor to Give Us This Day – daily prayer journal published by Liturgical Press as well as inaugural contributor to the web-based Catholic Women Preach series.

Former Convener of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium, an interdisciplinary theological association of Black Catholic theologians and scholars and a member of the Board of Directors of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, Dr. White works with Bishop Joseph N. Perry (postulator for the cause) promoting the cause of Fr. Augustus. She serves as an advisor/consultant for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service. She also serves as one of the advisors for Fetzer Institute’s ‘Study on American Spirituality’ that will be published in 2020.   

She has received numerous awards and honors including – F. Sadlier Dinger Award from the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership, the Juan Diego Award for Service to Lay Ministry in the Church from the National Association of Lay Ministry, the Augustus Tolton Award from the Archdiocese of Chicago and Doctorate of Humane Letters from Franciscan University in Loretto Pennsylvania.

A Secular Franciscan, Dr. White is an experienced workshop presenter, retreat facilitator, spiritual director and educator who lectures nationally on Christian spirituality, discernment, health, women’s spirituality, diversity/intercultural dialogue, leadership development, spiritual and ministry formation, spiritual practices, lay ministry and adult faith formation.

Upcoming Retreats

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