Meet the Spiritual Directors

Deep Listening and Personal Support

A spiritual director is one who is present to the individual through deep listening and personal support. This creates a safe environment where we can openly and prayerfully explore where God’s spirit is leading. The Franciscan Renewal Center’s Spiritual Directors — lay and ordained — are trained men and women who have years of experience in this ministry.

To get started with any of the spiritual directors, or to have any questions answered contact the Spiritual Direction Ministry at spiritualdirection(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)thecasa.org.

Audrey Bennett, BA, MPS

Certification through Arizona Institute of Spiritual Direction. Focus on Ignatian Spirituality, Inner Healing and Lay Ministry Discernment.

Ruth M. Baker, MA

Spiritual Direction Certification: Mercy Center, Burlingame, CA. Emphasis on prayer, transitions, discernment, Ignation Spirituality, 12-Step Spirituality, grief and loss, sexual abuse.

Mary Bencomo, MA

Focus on inner growth. Experienced in contemplative prayer, mystical spirituality, Enneagram work and elder spirituality. AEISD Accreditation.

Laurie Devine, MA

Graduate of Kino Institute Art of
Spiritual Direction Program. Masters in Theology. Board-Certified Chaplain (hospital, hospice). Author of five published novels in New York and London. Focus on Spirituality & creativity, new beginnings, grief, healing, caregiving and illness.

Fr. Bill Faiella, CSC, Psy.D

Advanced degrees in education, theology and pastoral counseling. Focus on inner healing and general spirituality.

Milly Johnson, MA

Spiritual Direction formation through The London Centre for Spirituality. Focus on John of the Cross, Ignatian spirituality, mystical spirituality, prayer, life transitions and discernment.

Joe Kelly

Ignatian trained spiritual director specializing in individual and group work, men’s work, 12 step, contemplative prayer, executive and veterans issues.

Sandy Kenger

Focus on developing a felt sense of God’s intimate presence and involvement in one’s life, especially through challenges and difficulties. Spiritual Direction formation through Kino Institute.

Pat Mullen, MA

Spiritual Director certification: Mercy Center, Birlingame, CA, 1996. Focus on discernment, contemplative prayer, life transitions, presence, and gratitude.

Mauro Pando, MC

Co-Presenter of the Grief & Loss Retreat. Focus on grief and loss, discernment and general spirituality.

Rene Perreault

Secular Franciscan. Spiritual Direction formation through Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. Focus on general, interfaith and group spiritual direction.

Denis J. Sheehan, MBA, CSD

Spiritual direction formation: CFDM
Specialties: 12-step, veterans support, contemplation and second half of life spirituality.

Sharon Taszarek, BS

Formation through AEISD. Emphasis on Franciscan Spirituality, 12-Steps, Women’s Spirituality, contemplative prayer and discernment.

Cheryl Thomsen, MA

Master degree in Catholic Theology and Sociology. Focus on grief, forgiveness, 12 steps, East-West spirituality and contemplative prayer.

Ria Tokkie

Spiritual Direction formation through Christian Formation and Direction Ministries. Focus on inner healing, contemplative life and bereavement support.

Elizabeth Ursic, M Div

Graduate of Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Conn. Focus on women in mid-life, young adults, artists and abuse survivors.

Virginia Vollmer

Spiritual Director certification through Arizona Ecumenical Institute for Spiritual Direction. Focus on general and interfaith spiritual direction.

Linda Williams, PhD

Spiritual Direction formation: CFDM. PhD focus on ethics and social justice. Specialties: life transitions, second half of life spirituality, contemplative living, and presence.

Carole Whittaker, PhD

Spiritual Direction formation through Hesychia School and AEISD. Experience with Franciscan Spirituality, contemplative living and Enneagram work toward inner growth.

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