For Audrey, spirituality is part of what it means to be human and fully alive. She is curious about how spirituality is impacted by culture and family, personality and generational differences, and life transitions. For many years, she has designed and led programs that deal with the role of faith in everyday life situations, Christian spiritual practices and scripture. Audrey's educational background includes a B.A. from Colorado State University in Technical Journalism, a MPH from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in Community Health Education, and a M.A. in Pastoral Ministry from St. John's School of Theology, Collegeville, Minnesota. She joined the staff of the Franciscan Spirituality Center in 2012 and became the FSC's director in 2013.
Associate Director/Spiritual Director
Steve first became involved at the FSC when he joined a spiritual direction group that was offered to Lutheran clergy. He has since been a grateful participant in many of the Center's offerings, including the Spiritual Director Preparation Program. Prior to joining the staff of the FSC, Steve was a stay-at-home parent, helping his young daughter overcome challenges related to autism. Steve facilitates several spiritual direction groups and also is available to meet with individuals. He is amazed to discover all of the ways that God is speaking in his life, and grateful to walk with others as they make similar discoveries. Steve has an undergraduate degree from North Dakota State University and graduate degrees from Washington State University and Luther Seminary. He previously has served as pastor to Lutheran (ELCA) congregations in Minnesota, Texas and Wisconsin. His wife, Jeannette, is a physician at Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare in La Crosse.
Laurie joined the staff at the Franciscan Spirituality Center in January 2014 as the office manager. Originally from Bangor, Wisconsin, she grew up in a large family, the youngest of 12 children. Laurie graduated from Western Technical College with an administrative assistant degree in 1985. She has lived in La Crosse since 1992, raising her two children, Zach and Anna. Previously, Laurie worked for the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration as the executive secretary for their leadership team. She enjoys volunteering at St. Clare's Health Mission in her free time. Laurie has a wide network of friends and family that keeps her busy and active. She enjoys league volleyball during the winter months and golf during the summer.
Rose Elsbernd, FSPA
Sister Rose continues to be privileged to journey with others in their search for meaning and purpose as a director in spiritual direction and in personal directed retreats. Through the FSC's Spiritual Direction Preparation Program, she also mentors others to be redemptive listeners. She joined the staff in 2014 with the experience of serving as a director of two different retreat centers for a total of 18 years. As a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, she ministered on the leadership team and in the incorporation of new members. She has a master's degree in religious education and one in counseling. Her hobbies include baking and sewing, as well as spending time outdoors.
Barb is co-director of the Spiritual Direction Preparation Program, offers workshops on Compassionate Communication and Interfaith Peace, and facilitates marriage and friendship retreats. She is a wife and mother of four sons and is an active community volunteer. She has been a member of the Place of Grace Catholic Worker House core community for 15 years and serves on several boards that help support the underserved and home-bound in the La Crosse area. Barb joined the staff of the FSC in 2007 and is a registered dietitian with a master's degree in servant leadership. She has a passion for listening, but in the midst of all that listening she loves the outdoors, exercising, cooking, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Spirituality and creative practices have always gone together in Deb's life. She has joint Bachelor of Art degrees in theology and the humanities, as well as a master's degree in theology. In various parishes, she has been involved in education with all ages, music ministry, hospitality, homebound visitation and retreat ministry. Deb is a graduate of the FSC's Spiritual Direction Preparation Program and came to love the FSC and Franciscan spirituality during the three years she was in the program. In her role at the FSC, she creates programs and retreats that encourage and support others on their journeys toward greater spiritual depth and wholeness. Personal hobbies include photography, weaving, knitting, reading, writing and baking bread. She also loves to walk in the beauty of creation. Deb and her husband, Glenn, have five adult children and six grandkids.
Program and Retreat Coordinator
Melinda comes to us from English Lutheran Church (ELCA) in La Crosse, where she began her call as associate pastor in 2005. She received her Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago that same year. Prior to attending seminary, Melinda served as a Family Life minister in Salem, Oregon. She has worked with churches in Central and South America, and earned her B.A. in Spanish and Theology from Valparaiso University in Indiana. Melinda has been in spiritual direction at the FSC since arriving to La Crosse in 2005 and looks forward to deepening established friendships and building new ones in her new role here. Melinda is married to Dr. Greg Pupillo and has two cool stepsons. Hobbies include hiking, kayaking, skiing and walking their dog, Luli.
Director of Development
Kristy joined the staff part time in May 2016 because “it just feels like home.” She is a graduate of the FSC's Spiritual Direction Preparation Program, an associate presenter and chairwoman of the FSC Development Committee. As director of development, her job duties include cultivating donors, helping with fundraising, and developing relationships with existing and potential supporters of the FSC. In addition to her role at the Center, Kristy own and operates Confluence Consulting. Kristy lives in Holmen with her husband, Patrick; daughter, Julia; and their pet therapy dog, Walter. She enjoys reading, gardening, canning, bicycling and being among trees.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Stacey joined the staff at the Franciscan Spirituality Center in August 2014 after a long career in journalism at the La Crosse Tribune. Primarily a copy editor, she also wrote a local business column and reported on faith issues for some time, which introduced her to the FSC and its wonderful programming. Stacey coordinates the FSC's print and electronic promotional materials, social media presence, advertising initiatives and media relations, and very much enjoys introducing others to all the FSC has to offer. Stacey lives just outside of La Crosse with her husband, John, three children and an assortment of pets. She is a very active volunteer in her parish, St. Elias Orthodox Christian Church, and personal interests include art, music, iconography, books, kayaking and organic food.
Zoua joined the staff at the Franciscan Spirituality Center in 2012 to work full time as the receptionist for the front desk and to support the staff with a variety of administrative duties. Prior to her work at the FSC, Zoua worked for the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration for six years. In 2010, she completed her studies at Western Technical College with an Associate in Applied Science degree in the Administrative Professional program. In her free time, she enjoys crafting, cooking and baking, shopping, watching movies and helping her family sell produce at the local farmers market. Zoua appreciates working alongside the staff at the FSC and loves greeting the people who walk through the doors each day.
Receptionist and Hospitality
Elizabeth Kapanke started her administrative duties with the FSC in August 2012 but had been part of the housekeeping staff of the St. Rose Complex since February 2012. She was drawn to the FSC for its peaceful and friendly environment. Born and raised in California, Elizabeth moved to La Crosse after meeting and marrying her husband, Andrew. She was a stay-at-home mom for 20 years, raising their two sons and two daughters, and has been an active volunteer at their church and school. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys spending time outdoors, boating, camping, gardening, photo scrapbooking, sewing and crocheting. She looks forward to contributing to the FSC's positive and welcoming mission.
Aaron came to know the Franciscan Spirituality Center when he joined the Depression Anonymous group in spring 2016. He includes DA as an important part of his strong and healthy recovery program from depression and other mental illnesses. Spirituality is also a huge part of his day and contributes to his happy and balanced life. Aaron started volunteering at the FSC in winter 2016 to give back to the Center because it had become like another home to him. In June, he was hired for a staff hospitality position and looks forward to being able to make a bigger impact at the FSC by offering great hospitality in its many forms. Before working at the Franciscan Spirituality Center, Aaron worked as a receptionist at Mayo Clinic Health System - Franciscan Healthcare. He has a background in customer service, patient services, hospitality, food service and nonprofit work. He has a little college experience in art, sociology, and psychology, and he has a future goal to continue college. Aaron is a La Crosse native and enjoys reading, music, Netflix, being artistic, dressing up with bow ties, running and other forms of exercise, and camping in his teardrop camper that he helped create.