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.
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.
Because each life journey is sacred, Deb Hansen encourages and guides directees to look for the fingerprints of the Sacred in their everyday lives. When we recognize the sacredness of both the good and the not so good of our lives, we are free to grow into the joyous, authentic selves we are meant to be. We also come to know our own wisdom and truth, which can guide us in our life choices and in our connections with others, God and self. Deb delights in using artistic expression as a pathway to discovering our unique heart wisdom and truth, especially in directed retreat settings.
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.
As a spiritual companion, Barb Kruse believes that attention to our spiritual journey helps to move us closer to our authentic selves. In that space, we can find inner peace and greater self-compassion. When we are able to access those interior qualities, we are better prepared to be a compassionate, loving presence in our external life. These journeys can involve a re-imaging of who God is, or how God is present in the midst of suffering, loss and healing, or how the Spirit is present in everyday life. Barb has offered retreats and programs on compassionate communication, contemplative prayer and interfaith peace. Centering Prayer and the Examen are important prayer practices in her life.
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.’ ”