Special Topics in Spiritual Direction
Integrating Psychology and Spirituality
3:15 – 5 p.m.
Overall Learning Objectives:
To give interns additional focus on common issues which arise in spiritual
To provide additional resources on special topics in spiritual direction.
To give new spiritual directories opportunities to observe and experience a
variety of experienced spiritual directors.
Sept. 27 – Spirituality and Addictions – Presenter - Joan Ebbitt, LMSW, DCSW
Joan is the Employee Assistance Counselor (EAP) for Employees of
Adrian Dominican Sisters. She is also the Behavioral Health Consultant: Guest
House for Women Religious. (Lake Orion, MI) For twenty-five years Joan has
provided and/or facilitated consultations, retreats and workshops for individuals,
professional groups, Clergy and Religious, clinicians, and educators. She also
facilitates teambuilding, conflict resolution, strategic planning meetings, and
organizational development. She develops curricula and program materials and
provides national staff training.
Oct. 11 – The Enneagram: a Tool for Spiritual Growth - From Compulsion to
Contemplation - Presenters/Facilitators: Rev. Anita Smith Buckwalter
And Jenni Swink
Participants will describe the vice and virtue of their ennea-type; discover
cues that signal their compulsive response; and practice meditation to move
through the vice to the virtue. Note: This is NOT a beginning level workshop.
Participants need to know their enneatype and subtype. If you need assistance to
prepare for this session, Contact Anita Smith Buckwalter at 517-394-7693 or
firstname.lastname@example.org before Oct. 6.
Anita Smith Buckwalter is a spiritual director and has been in pastoral
ministry in the Lansing area for thirty years. She is a 2002 graduate of this
internship. Anita is on the staff of the Dominican Center for Religious
Development and is one of the directors and supervisors of the internship at St.
Jenni Swink is a chemical engineer by training and currently works in the
teaching ministry of Trinity Church in East Lansing. Jenni is an intern in spiritual
direction at St. Francis. Anita and Jenni attended an Enneagram workshop with
Helen Palmer this year.
Oct. 25 – Spiritual Direction with Survivors of Abuse - Presenter: Merry Stanford
This session will consider the variety of types of childhood abuse: physical,
emotional, ritual, and sexual and how they affect one’s life and adult spirituality
identifying some of the common issues and themes. There will be discussion as
to how spiritual direction can work in partnership with therapy toward healing.
Merry will share stories of abuse and how spiritual direction has been an asset in
Merry Stanford, L. M.S.W. is a member of the Religious Society of Friends.
She currently serves as Clerk (Chair) of the Ministry and Nurture Committee of
Lake Erie Yearly Meeting, a regional gathering of Friends. She travels in the
ministry among Friends through the Friends General Conference Traveling
Ministries Program, conducting retreats for local Friends' gatherings and leading
couple enrichment retreats with her husband, Peter Wood. Merry has a private
practice that includes spiritual direction, psychotherapy, shamanic practice, and
other healing work. She works as a psychotherapist for St. Vincent Catholic
Charities in Lansing. She is a 2002 graduate of this internship. Her primary
experience as a clinician and spiritual director is in working with children and
adult women who are survivors of neglect, abuse and domestic violence, and is a
Nov. 8 - Guilt, Shame and Forgiveness – Presenter: Rosemarie Kieffer, OP
Rosemarie is an Adrian Dominican Sister and has been the Director of the
Dominican Center for Religious Development since September 1, 2002. For 17
years prior to accepting the position of Director, Sister Rosemarie was the
Pastoral Administrator of a Detroit Parish that did not have a priest/pastor. She
has also ministered as a teacher, Director of Religious Education (DRE), and as
Director of Formation for the Adrian Dominican Sisters. Sister Rosemarie has
been involved in Spiritual Direction for over 15 years.
Each of us has experienced a time in our life when we have been deeply
hurt or wronged by another. Also, if we have hurt another we often carry the
burden of shame and guilt. Why is it so hard to forgive another or to forgive
ourselves? The lack of forgiveness can often be an obstacle to a deeper
relationship with God. In this session we explore these concepts about
forgiveness. The participants are asked to bring an example of forgiveness in
their own life or in the life of another.
Nov. 29 – “Priceless” Reflections: What triggers my issues as a spiritual director?
Presenter – Marcy Keefe-Slager
A seven step process for dealing with counter-transference based on the
work of Dr. Daniel C. Price, Ph.D.
Marcy is a spiritual director in Jackson, MI, a retired hospital chaplain, and
commissioned Ecclesial Lay Minister in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lansing.
She did her training in spiritual direction at Shalem Institute for Spiritual
Formation in Bethesda. MD. She thrives in ecumenical ministries, women’s
discussion groups and preaching.
Dec. 13 - Awareness of Loss and Grief in our Lives
Presenter -Rev. Anita Smith Buckwalter
In this workshop, participants will consider the variety of types of loss in
our lives; increase awareness of how loss and grief affect one’s spiritual journey
and identify some of the common issues and themes. We will discuss how
spiritual direction can help people heal from grief and loss. Participants will have
an opportunity consider their own experiences of grief and loss.
Anita was primary caregiver for her spouse and colleague in ministry who
lived with A.L.S. for nine years. Together they dealt with his progressive loss of
ability to move, eat, breath and speak and the myriad changes those losses
brought to their professional, domestic, and intimate partnership.
Jan 10 - Spiritual Direction with the Disinherited - Presenter -Rev. LaVerne Gill
Rev. LaVerne Gill is pastor and teacher of the historic Webster United
Church of Christ in Dexter, MI. She holds a Masters of Divinity and a Masters in
Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary and is the author of Daughters of
Dignity: African Women in the Bible and the Virtues of Woman, African American
Women in Congress: Forming and Transforming History, and My Mother Prayed
for Me: Faith Journaling for African American Women. She is a 2004 graduate of
Jan 24 – Spiritual Direction and Social Justice, Presenter - Dorothy Ritter, RN
This session will explore the ministry of social justice from a spiritual direction
perspective. Participants will listen to a personal faith sharing of the experiences,
struggles, and discernment of a peace and justice activist. Through small group
conversation we will engage in self-discovery regarding issues of comfort zones,
marginalization and reconciliation.
Dorothy enjoys homemaking with her husband and grandchildren and delights
in the God of surprises. She works as a registered nurse in an inner city health
clinic serving the poor and uninsured of Detroit. She describes herself as a life
long student of the human experiment and a contemplative peace pilgrim. She is
an associate of a Detroit Catholic Worker Community, served as a Michigan
Peace Team delegate to Israel/Palestine and is a recent graduate from the
Dominican Center for Spiritual Direction.
Feb 7 - Creation as Communion: Guiding the Artistic Experience of God -
Presenter - Rev. Sharon Mick McAuley
Participants in this seminar will :
(1) Be invited to do a creative arts activity prayerfully and to pay attention to
awareness of God during the experience.
(2 Be introduced to and learn from examples of actual use of creative arts in
spiritual direction sessions.
(3) Form a foundational understanding of the arts as non-verbal, two-way
communication and communion with God.
(4) Consider practical ways to incorporate the arts into spiritual direction
sessions, including: approach, possible artistic areas to explore, supplies,
setting, format, follow up and support for the directee's ongoing creative spiritual
(5) Gain appreciation for how creative arts experiences will enhance the spiritual
director's own life contributing to self-care and heart-soul-mind-body wellness.
Sharon is a watercolor and mixed media artist who leads covenant groups
using The Artist's Way process by Julia Cameron. Sharon has had a love for
music since she was a toddler, and enjoys songwriting, most recently composing
melodies for Celtic prayers by J. Philip Newell. She has served in camps,
churches, schools, prisons and a hospice over the years, and currently focuses
on sponsoring spiritual formation experiences for individuals and groups at The
Peoples Church, St. Francis Retreat Center and in her own home. Sharon
facilitates two grief support groups at Ele's Place. Art, prayer and nature are
woven into all her ministries.
Feb 21 – Basic Mental Health Assessment for Spiritual Directors: Anxiety,
Depression and Suicide – Presenter - Teresa Disch, OP
Teresa is an Adrian Dominican Sister who has ministered as a spiritual
director and a retreat director for 25 years. Teresa is on the staff of the Dominican
Center for Religious Development and is one of the directors and supervisors of
the internship at St. Francis.
The focus of this presentation will be on the role of the spiritual
director/pastoral minister in relating with persons affected by the psychological
issues of depression, anxiety and suicide.
Mar. 6 – Group Spiritual Direction - Sue Eichhorn, OP
Suzanne is a Grand Rapids Dominican Sister who has been involved in
spiritual ministries for 27 years. Sue created the internship in spiritual direction at
St. Francis with support from her friends at the Dominican Center for Religious
Development. She leads retreat and does spiritual director at St. Francis Retreat
Center in DeWitt, MI.
Apr. 3 - Spiritual Direction with Survivors of Domestic Abuse –
Presenter - Diane Kilmer
As both a survivor of domestic abuse and a seasoned spiritual director,
Diane offers: (1) an inside view of “victim” thinking. (2) an account of how her
own spiritual director companioned her along the road to survival, and (3)
practical handouts/recommendations based upon current literature, best
practices and personal experience.
Diane G. H. Kilmer has been practicing spiritual direction for 12 years, and
received her training from the Dominican Center for Spiritual Formation
at St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt. She also does freelance writing and
editing for businesses and religious publications. As an active member of church
community life, Diane has served in the areas of drama, music, adult education
and spiritual formation, prayer, and retreat ministries.
Apr. 10 – Legal and Ethical Issues in Spiritual Direction
Presenter - Carol Johannes, OP.
Carol is an Adrian Dominican Sister who has ministered for 30 years as a
spiritual director, supervisor, and faculty for internships in spiritual direction at the
Dominican Center for Religious Development and St. Francis Retreat Center.
She is involved in adult faith formation in parishes and has given retreats,
workshops and lectures throughout the United States and in the Dominican
Republic, the Philippines and Peru.
Apr. 17 – Sexuality and Spirituality – Presenter – Rev .Anita Smith Buckwalter
Participants in this session will explore how sexuality affects one’s spiritual
journey and identify some of the common issues and themes; learn how spiritual
direction can help people understand the gifts as well as the challenges of human
sexuality; and give an opportunity to consider how their own sexual experiences
have affected their spirituality.
Anita and her husband, Richard were married for 32 years and served as
co-pastors of the Lansing Church of the Brethren for twenty-one years until his
untimely death from ALS. In addition to job-sharing they shared the parenting of
two sons. During their ministry they led sexuality retreats for youth and adults and
marriage enrichment and communication retreats for couples.