Meet the team
Jean has been a part of the FSC team since 2017. Her first role was as the program and retreat coordinator. She earned her Master of Divinity from Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and her Bachelor of Arts in social work from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She has extensive training in crisis response, community-based organizing and effective communication, as well as significant fundraising and grant-writing experience. Jean serves on the boards of YWCA and Scouts BSA and is also on the Advisory Committee for Great Rivers 2-1-1. She lives in Onalaska with her husband, Matt; their children, Logan and Lydia; and two Labrador retrievers, Gander and Scout.
Associate Director/Spiritual Director
Steve first became involved at the FSC in 2009 when he joined a spiritual direction group that was offered to Lutheran clergy. He has since trained as a spiritual director, joined the staff, become associate director and has led the Spiritual Direction Preparation Program for the past five cohorts. He offers programs on the Enneagram and the work of Brené Brown, and serves as host of the FSC podcast. He is a member of the Viterbo University Board of Advisors and the Board of Directors for Bethany St. Joseph Corporation. He has graduate degrees from Washington State University and Luther Seminary. He is blessed by the love of his wife, Jeannette, and his daughter, Sophia. He is also quite fond of his pug, Rey.
Laurie joined the staff at the Franciscan Spirituality Center in January 2014 as the office manager. Previously, she worked for the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration as the executive secretary for their leadership team. 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. In her free time, she loves volunteering, art and enjoying live, local music.
Cathie Boerboom, RGS
Cathie Boerboom, a Good Shepherd Sister, completed our SDPP program a few years ago and in July 2022 joined the Franciscan Spirituality Center staff. She grew up on a farm in Southwest Minnesota and thoroughly enjoys her large extended family. She entered the convent after a year of college, later receiving a BA in sociology at St. Catherine’s in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a master’s degree in applied behavioral science from the LIOS institute in Spokane, Washington. She is a trained grief recovery specialist. She has ministered in Minnesota, Washington, Hawaii, Colorado, France and Oregon. Her ministries have included working with troubled youth both in Good Shepherd homes and in jail, families in shelters, women trapped in prostitution, in jail, abused and/or without a home. She walked the streets of Portland assisting women and men, listening to their stories, offering resources and thoroughly enjoying the diversity, beauty and generosity of these amazing people. Her experience on the streets led to her spearhead the creation of a community and intervention center for women and children (Rose Haven). After offering spiritual direction, retreats and classes in her parish and parish school, she returned to the Midwest to help care for her mother and to be part of FSC's ministries. Among other things, Cathie enjoys weaving, playing card games, making greeting cards, walking, gardening, dreamwork, laughing and sharing life stories. She is grateful to God, her Good Shepherd sisters and her family for all these gifts in her life while she looks forward to the future.
Sarah Hennessey, FSPA
Sister Sarah officially joined the staff of the Franciscan Spirituality Center in August 2019, but her involvement with the FSC goes back several years. Sarah trained to be a spiritual director through the FSC’s Spiritual Direction Preparation Program and served on the FSC’s board of directors from 2016-2019. As a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration since 2002, Sarah enjoys community life in La Crosse and sharing the Franciscan charism widely. Her experiences include teaching at a Quaker junior high, being a pastoral associate in a parish and serving as the perpetual adoration coordinator at St. Rose Convent. As a spiritual director, she companions people to find the holy in the ordinary. Her programs at the FSC often focus on Franciscan themes, spirituality, meditation and dealing with stress. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies and a Master of Arts degree in theology from St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She enjoys singing, long walks in the wilderness and making some of the best popcorn around!
Karna joined the staff of the Franciscan Spirituality Center in December 2021. For 22 years, she served as a parish pastor in beautiful Mississippi bluff country – walking with people through joy and struggle, listening for God together and discovering grace and hope, again and again. Karna studied education and sociology at Moorhead State University and earned her Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary. Her spiritual direction training is through the Christos Center for Spiritual Formation. She is a Mayo-certified wellness coach and a Daring Way™ facilitator. Karna is married to Stephen; they have two grown children and a new son-in-law. She and her husband love spending time with family and friends, reading books, biking on beautiful trails and chasing after their dog, Scout.
Hope Hembd, M.A.S.L.
Director of Community Engagement
Hope grew up in La Crosse and calls it an honor to work in her hometown, serving the community. She earned her Bachelors of Arts from Viterbo University and continues to grow her career in business development, communications and fundraising. She likes to say that she “has a crush on customer service,” and she believes in the power of hospitality. After years away from the area, she returned home in 2010 and continues on her journey working in business management and fundraising. To challenge herself and grow both professionally and personally, she earned her Master’s Degree in Servant Leadership in 2018. In her free time, Hope loves to entertain and cook for her friends and family, especially her nieces and nephew. She likes to read, golf and volunteer at organizations such as Aptiv and Place of Grace. Hope considers it a privilege to be a leader in her hometown and believes that everyone should continue to discover the joy of serving in one’s community. Hope is a member of Rotary Club of La Crosse and La Crosse Area Chamber. She serves on the boards of Aptiv Foundation and Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Program and Retreat Coordinator
Julie was born and raised in the La Crosse area and continues to call this beautiful area home. She attended Holmen High School and enlisted into the Army National Guard her junior year of high school, serving for six years. Julie graduated from Western Technical College and received degrees in marketing, retail management and fashion marketing. She then went on to earn her bachelor's degree in business with a focus on leadership from Capella University. More recently, Julie completed the Spiritual Direction Preparation Program at the Franciscan Spirituality Center, where she fell in love with being at the center and participating in programs. Julie has one son, Mason, who is pursuing a degree in accounting at UW-La Crosse and is in ROTC. Julie loves spending time with her family, friends and adorable dog, Buster. She also enjoys participating in activities with her North Presbyterian Church family, being outside, reading, shopping, traveling and exploring.
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, 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, and is the mother of three (now adult) children. She is a very active volunteer in her parish, St. Elias Orthodox Christian Church, where she serves as parish council president. She is also on the board for Karuna Inc. Personal interests include art, music, iconography, books, hiking, kayaking and organic food.
Kathy started her career at the Franciscan Spirituality Center on August 31, 2020, as the administrative assistant and receptionist. Her role supports the FSC’s mission by serving the clerical and receptionist needs of internal and external customers at the FSC and FSPA. She earned a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from UW-Stout and developed her customer service experience through food service management, human resources and quality service certification through the Disney Institute. Kathy believes that we can find peace when we treat each other with dignity, compassion and love. She finds solitude within the Catholic faith and enjoys creating a home with her husband, Tim, and their two rambunctious Labrador retrievers, Grace and Zella.
Guest Service Specialist
Natalie joined the FSC staff in August 2022 after working in the kitchen at Villa St. Joseph for a year and a half. In her role here, she assists at the FSC front desk, provides hospitality for retreats and programs, and helps with housekeeping and food service needs. She also is enrolled at Western Technical College and plans to go into a people-oriented field. She grew up in the Minnesota side of the area and lives with her two furry kids (cats), Alaska and Finn. Natalie looks forward to enhancing her spirituality through her workplace and meeting everyone she can on this path.