Our Staff

 

 

Jean Pagliaro

Jean Pagliaro
Director

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 lives in Onalaska with her husband, Matt; their children, Logan and Lydia; and two Labrador retrievers, Gander and Scout.  

 

Steve Spilde

Steve Spilde
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 Swan

Laurie Swan
Office Manager

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.

 

Sister Rose Elsbernd

Rose Elsbernd, FSPA
Spiritual Director

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. 

 

 

Sarah Hennessey, FSPA

Sarah Hennessey, FSPA
Spiritual Director

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 2016-19. She has been a frequent participant in many of our programs and looks forward to leading some of her own. Sarah moved to La Crosse in 2002 to become a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration after a long journey of discernment. She was raised as a Quaker in the South, and her diverse experiences before making her religious vows include teaching at a Navajo high school, translating Spanish at a free medical clinic, serving as a health educator in farm labor camps, tending a daylily farm and leading junior high inner-city immersion experiences. She previously served as the perpetual adoration coordinator at St. Rose Convent. As a spiritual director, she companions people to find the holy in the ordinary.  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 Marks

Karna Marks
Spiritual Director

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 a 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.

 

Julie Connelly

Julie Connelly
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.

 

Stacey Kalas

Stacey Kalas
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. Personal interests include art, music, iconography, books, hiking, kayaking and organic food.

 

 

Kathy Holman

Kathy Holman
Administrative Assistant/Receptionist

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.