photo by Nick Wilkes Photography
“Listen and attend with the ear of your heart.”
– Saint Benedict of Nursia
We all need companions on the spiritual journey. A spiritual guide is someone who helps you attend to God’s presence in your life. You might come to spiritual guidance to reflect deeply on your experiences or to integrate spirituality into your daily life. Spiritual guidance is helpful at times of transition, loss or disillusionment.
Spiritual guides are trained and experienced in helping others with their spiritual lives. Distinct from counseling, the goal of spiritual guidance is not to solve life’s problems, but rather to increase awareness of how God is already active in your life. At Holy Wisdom we suggest a $50 donation for an hour session with a spiritual guide.
The particular shape, frequency and length of a spiritual guidance relationship is a personal choice. Before engaging a spiritual guide, consider these questions:
- Is it essential that your guide have a background in a particular faith tradition?
- Would you feel more comfortable talking with a woman or a man?
- How often do you wish to meet with your spiritual guide?
Meet our spiritual guides
All of our spiritual guides are trained and experienced in spiritual guidance.
Mary Alberts has welcomed seekers since completing the Spiritual Guidance Training Program at the Siena Center in 2006. Mary, who practiced for many years as a massage therapist, believes including body awareness in a soul work session can promote healing insight. This is especially true for those who have lost connection to or suffered via the body. Mary is adept at working with those in creative process. She is also fluent in the particular language and meanings of dreams. A longtime student of the Enneagram, Mary is a proponent of its spiritual uses. Wife, mother, and grandmother, she is also an oblate of Holy Wisdom Monastery. Mary spends January through early April at her home in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Jack Finney is a retired Lutheran (ELCA) pastor and an oblate at Holy Wisdom Monastery. He received his spiritual guidance certificate from the Shalem Institute over 15 years ago. He likes meeting with people who want to bridge organized religion and spirituality as well as with those who say they are spiritual but not religious. Jack likes being a prayer coach. He also has a passion to help people discern God’s will, to listen to their heart’s desires. Jack is available Monday-Friday in the mornings or afternoons.
Claudia Greco RN, MS, does not take a position of teaching or leading as a spiritual guide, but rather, as a companion on the path. Her focus is on spirituality, not necessarily religion. Claudia’s personal areas of study include a 2004 certificate from the two year “Spiritual Guidance Training Program” at the Siena Center (based in Eco-Feminism), a year-long study of the Rule of Benedict culminating in her profession as an oblate in association with Holy Wisdom Monastery, ongoing participation in spiritual guidance, 15 years of Buddhist study, and completion of a masters degree in counseling and guidance. Claudia is certified as a Level One Life Force Yoga practitioner and as a Level III Reiki practitioner. Specialty areas: contemplative retreats, meditation practices, breath work, and attending spiritually to traumatic experience.
Carole Kretschman worked in health care for 40 years and is a retired registered nurse. In addition to graduating from the Spiritual Guidance Training Program at the Siena Center in 2006, she is an oblate at Holy Wisdom Monastery and has completed a three-year program at the Christine Center in 2010 entitled Spiritual Deepening for Global Transformation. She has practiced centering prayer since 2004 and strives to live contemplatively while listening to the voice of the spirit in all things. Her spirituality is based on Benedictine values, centering prayer meditation and the 12 steps.
Carla Peterson received her spiritual direction training and certificate through the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in 2008. Participating in peer spiritual direction since 2002 has nurtured her love for deep listening to the Holy One, others and self. More formal peer supervision has helped form her practice of spiritual direction. She has been providing spiritual direction herself since 2006. Her great joy is to listen to people as they talk about and reflect on their spiritual life, while she and that person also listen for the “voice” of Spirit. Carla’s background includes being a psychotherapist for 22 years in a practice focused on healing from life traumas. She is also a certified practitioner of Healing Touch Spiritual Ministry. Carla has a heartfelt enthusiasm for helping people grow in God and transform their lives towards greater wholeness and joy. She a member of the Holy Wisdom Sunday Assembly and is an Oblate of Holy Wisdom Monastery.
This journey led me to pursue spiritual direction certification at the Franciscan Spirituality Center. I am particularly drawn to apophatic prayer models & the importance of music/art/nature to engage with God.
I like to introduce people to contemplative spirituality through a podcast I co-host, The Contemplative Life. I am available to meet 1-on-1 for spiritual guidance as well as facilitate group retreats.
Spiritual guidance provides companionship for
the spiritual journey
What to expect
In spiritual guidance sessions, it is essential to trust your instincts and to remain open. Your guide may introduce new methods of prayer or forms of expression, such as journaling or drawing. They will ask you to speak honestly and they will be responsive to your unique spiritual path.
Wherever you are in your spiritual journey, guidance can help you notice and respond to God’s presence, deepening your connection to the sacred.
Making an appointment
There is a suggested donation of $50 for a one hour spiritual guidance session.
During the pandemic there are several ways to meet with a spiritual guide. You can meet virtually via phone or video conference or in person at the monastery either indoors or outdoors as long as you remain 6 feet apart and wear masks.
Spiritual guides at Holy Wisdom Monastery are available by appointment made in advance. For more information contact Monica Jefcoat at email@example.com, 608-836-1631, x158.
Individuals on personal retreats may want to meet with a spiritual guide while at Holy Wisdom Monastery. This can be noted on the Availability Inquiry for guest rooms and hermitages.