Meet Our Spiritual Directors

The Franciscan Spirituality Center has trained spiritual directors on staff who are available to listen deeply, compassionately and without judgment as you share your sacred stories. Your spiritual director will be a patient, trusted guide as you explore your own spiritual path and discover your inner wisdom. Spiritual direction takes place in a welcoming, peaceful setting, and what you choose to share is held with reverence and confidentiality. 

Spiritual direction explores God’s presence in the ordinary activities of daily life. It is available to people of all faith backgrounds and those who identify as “nones”— spiritual but not religious. Meeting with a spiritual director does not obligate you to a certain number of sessions. Your needs and your schedule determine how often you meet. We invite you to contact one of our spiritual directors to learn more. Please click here for a video introduction.


Rose Elsbernd, FSPA

Sister Rose Elsbernd is a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration with a long history of spiritual direction, retreat ministry and faith formation. Having worked with people of various faith traditions, she identifies the common thread of “we are all seekers.” Through attentive listening and gentle questioning, she invites seekers to move through their life stories to discover their depth answers that give meaning and direction to their relationships with themselves, others and all of creation. As a spiritual director, Rose commits herself to prayer for those seeking direction and sustains herself in prayer, reflection and contemplation. “The journeying with another in direction or retreat is a privilege that I hold sacred,” she says.


Sarah Hennessey, FSPASarah Hennessey, FSPA

To be alive is to be on a spiritual quest. Sister Sarah Hennessey seeks to journey with people wherever they are on that quest and to find the holy in the ordinary. The Sacred is involved in every aspect of our life, and that is exactly what spiritual direction is about. Sarah lives out a theology of accompaniment, staying at the table with people whatever their journey may bring. In her own life, spiritual direction has helped open the way to staying grounded in the storms of life and finding light in the darkness. She especially values longer retreats and a life imbued with Franciscan values.


Karna MarksKarna Marks

More than 20 years ago, Karna was a Lutheran pastor, fresh out of seminary when she met Sister Monica – a spiritual director who listened in love, asked thoughtful questions and prayed with her. Together, they explored the joys, challenges, and sorrows life brings in conversation, silence and prayer. There was a sense of resiliency and hope that came to light in this sacred time together. Many years later, Karna felt a calling to walk with people in a similar way and received training as a spiritual director. She has found it an honor and joy to walk alongside people as they explore their own stories and questions. Karna has a background in both individual and group direction. She has led retreats for congregations, at the Franciscan Spirituality Center, at Holden Village [Chelan, Washington], and Koinonia [Highland Lake, New York]. She serves as a coach for Faith+Lead at Luther Seminary and is grateful for the lens of Family Systems Theory, wellness and resiliency training, and the work of Brené Brown.


Steve Spilde

Steve Spilde served as a pastor in the Lutheran Church (ELCA) and then spent several years caring for his special-needs daughter. He became a spiritual director because he enjoys helping people through life transitions, either individually or by working in groups. Steve has led programs on the subjects of self-acceptance, self-care, parenting, the Serenity Prayer, the Enneagram, grief and shame. He also has developed retreats around golf and the experience of walking and pilgrimage. Saints Francis and Clare have made a deep impression on him, especially during his pilgrimage to Assisi in 2015. One of his favorite Bible stories is the baptism of Jesus. “It is a model for us all,” he says. “We can do great things once we have heard this message clearly: ‘You are my beloved. With you, I am well pleased.’ ”