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 fee 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

Mary 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.

Becky Baumbach

Becky is an interfaith, interspiritual guide who is certified through the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute and feels called to companion people on life’s often difficult journey.  She brings to the guidance relationship a Pure Presence model of listening with the whole self. Through her own spiritual formation, she has come to appreciate the Oneness of a God of Love and many spiritual paths into relationship with the Spirit. Her training in many faith traditions, her Christian roots, appreciation for many of the Buddhist teachings on joy and suffering, and her current involvement in a UCC faith community have given her a broad background to meet seekers wherever they are spiritually. It is from her sensitive heart and an open mind that she holds space for individuals who desire a companion on their life’s spiritual path. Becky has experience with divorce, infertility, LBGTQ+, retirement, grief, life transitions, religious trauma, aging issues. Because she believes that in each guidance session there are 3 hearts present – the seeker, her own, and the Spirit, she has named her practice, Third Heart Spiritual Guidance. Prior to her retirement, her fulltime career was in social work and community college administration.

Claudia Greco, MS, RN

Claudia obtained a certificate in Spiritual Guidance through the Spiritual Guidance Training Program at Siena Center based in Eco-Feminism in 2004. Other areas of study include: the Rule of St. Benedict culminating in her profession as an oblate in association with Holy Wisdom Monastery, 15 years of Buddhist study and completion of a master’s degree in counseling & guidance. She is certified as a Yoga Practitioner and a Reiki Master. Her approach to Spiritual Guidance is as a companion on the path: is interspiritual and integral; integrating mind, body, spirit in the move toward wholeness. Specialty areas include contemplative retreats, meditation practices, breathwork and attending spiritually to the complexities of addiction, the complexities of traumatic wounding and support for those incarcerated including  their re-entry following incarceration.

Carole Kretschman

Carole Kretschman is an oblate of Holy Wisdom Monastery and a member of Sunday Assembly. Having worked in health care for over 40 years, she graduated from the Spiritual Guidance Training Program at the Siena Center in Racine, Wi in 2006.  Her soul life is nurtured by centering prayer meditation, Benedictine values and sustainable compassion practices as taught by Lama John Makransky.  She strives to live contemplatively and searches for the sacred in all creation.

Carla Peterson

Carla 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.

Chris Roberts
Hi, I’m Chris Roberts. I began exploring contemplative spirituality during a challenging season facing infertility and the death of my father-in-law. Since then I have been on a slow journey discovering spirituality outside the walls of church (which is no small task for a pastor).

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.

Heather Schmidt

Heather’s philosophy of Spiritual Guidance rests in deep, slow, delightful, holy listening to the presence of Divine Love in our midst, in the moment, and in all things. Heather has been formed as a Spiritual Guide at the Shalem Institute of Spiritual Formation, as a Benedictine Oblate at the Holy Wisdom Monastery, and as a student of Wisdom at a series of Wisdom Schools through Contemplative Presence. She is an author, poet, and singer-songwriter and brings this artist’s heart into her guidance practice knowing that creative energy is a teacher and healer. As a lay leader in the Lutheran Church, she has been involved in prayer and meditation, pastoral care, retreat, care for creation, worship, and healing ministries. She is divorced and the mother of two young-adult children, lover of dogs and the natural world, particularly any lake she can manage to get herself immersed in. Most of her “professional” career has been in higher education and business. As an intuitive teacher and facilitator, Heather brings prayerfulness, presence, and a steady trust in the work of the Holy to all that she does.

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 fee of $50 for a one-hour spiritual guidance session.

Spiritual guides at Holy Wisdom Monastery are available by appointment made in advance. For more information contact Brooke Livingston at, 608-836-1631, x100.

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.