Meet the Retreat Leaders
Father Gregory Boyle is the founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, the largest gang-intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world.
Born and raised in Los Angeles and Jesuit priest, from 1986 to 1992 Fr. Boyle served as pastor of Dolores Mission Church in Boyle Heights. Dolores Mission was the poorest Catholic parish in Los Angeles that also had the highest concentration of gang activity in the city.
Fr. Boyle witnessed the devastating impact of gang violence on his community during the so-called “decade of death” that began in the late 1980s and peaked at 1,000 gang-related killings in 1992. In the face of law enforcement tactics and criminal justice policies of suppression and mass incarceration as the means to end gang violence, he and parish and community members adopted what was a radical approach at the time: treat gang members as human beings.
In 1988 they started what would eventually become Homeboy Industries, which employs and trains former gang members in a range of social enterprises, as well as provides critical services to thousands of individuals who walk through its doors every year seeking a better life.
Fr. Boyle is the author of the 2010 New York Times-bestseller Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. Followed by Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship (2017) and The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness (2021). Most recently, he authored Forgive Everyone Everything, an anthology of writings accompanied by Fabian Debora’s artwork.
He has received the California Peace Prize and been inducted into the California Hall of Fame. In 2014, President Obama named Fr. Boyle a Champion of Change. He received the University of Notre Dame’s 2017 Laetare Medal, the oldest honor given to American Catholics. Homeboy Industries was the recipient of the 2020 Hilton Humanitarian Prize validating 32 years of Fr. Greg Boyle’s vision and work by the organization for over three decades.
Fr. Mark Carr, SJ was raised in Wheaton, IL. He attended Marquette University before entering the Jesuits. Since ordination in 2005, he ministered mostly in Jesuit high schools: as teacher and director of campus ministry at Red Cloud High School in South Dakota; as an assistant principal at Marquette University High School in Wisconsin; and as the principal of Walsh Jesuit High School in Ohio. He also served in Jesuit governance with the former Wisconsin Province as the assistant provincial. Currently, he is the executive director of the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago, in Oshkosh, WI.
Rachel Forton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations and Religious Studies from Loras College (Dubuque, Iowa). She served as the Retreat and Communications Coordinator for Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House for six years and completed Ignatian Spiritual Direction Training there before stepping into the role of Women's Ministry Coordinator. She has a passion for helping others find God in all things through spiritual direction and retreat ministry, writing, and editing. Rachel serves on the "Prayer and Care" team of her MOPS Chapter (Mothers of Preschoolers) and finds it a great privilege to minister to women of all ages. Her most recent writings may be found at the Cora Evans website, promoting the cause for canonization of the mid-century mystic, wife, and mother (www.coraevans.com/blog/author
Amy Florian is a nationally recognized speaker, teacher, and retreat director who uses her personal experience, advanced education, and knowledge from over 30 years of parish liturgy and bereavement ministries for her engaging and dynamic presentations. Amy holds a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies and she is a Fellow in Thanatology (the highest level of certification in the field of death and grief studies). She taught in the graduate ministry department of Loyola University in Chicago for almost 10 years. She founded Corgenius (a company that teaches professionals how to serve people in times of transition and loss). The winner of multiple awards for her work, she published over 250 articles and four books, and has a passion for helping people heal, explore their faith, and live fully.
Jenéne Francis is an aspiring contemplative in action who enjoys adapting and offering the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius for days of reflection and retreats. She finds writing creative non-fiction and short fiction a fruitful spiritual practice. Jenéne recently retired from the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus after many years supporting Jesuits and lay colleagues who serve retreat houses, spirituality programs, parishes, and as hospital chaplains and other pastoral ministers. Having spent her first career at Procter & Gamble in Product Development and Manufacturing, followed by more than 20 years in Jesuit ministry, Jenéne gets great satisfaction offering her engineer’s head and poet’s heart for “the greater glory of God.”
Maureen Garvey holds an MA from the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University and a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from the Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin. She and her husband, Kevin, completed the Diaconate Training Program in 2004 at the University of St. Mary of the Lake. Maureen completed a 30-week at home retreat of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and volunteering twice a week as a member of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps. Maureen meets with people seeking spiritual direction in person at Holy Cross Church in Deerfield, IL and online.
A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Fr. Michael Graham, SJ holds degrees from Cornell College, the University of Michigan and the Weston School of Theology (now, the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry). He entered the Jesuits in 1978 and was ordained in 1988.
Fr. Graham was Xavier University's President from January 1, 2001 to June 30, 2021. Fr. Graham’s passion for the specifically Jesuit mission of Xavier animated his presidency in multiple ways. He collaborated with a variety of professionals in the area of Jesuit Mission and Identity to shape and support work to share Xavier’s Jesuit ethos and heart with faculty, staff and students in such a way that its approach to that work is generally regarded as best-in-class. He helped found a campus center for dialogue that became a crucial hub for inter-religious conversation in the Cincinnati region, and whose work engaged a wide variety of constituencies and topics in areas of justice, sustainability, immigration and more. He likewise championed diversity, inclusion and equity efforts on and off the campus and helped recruit transformative leadership to embed that work firmly within the fabric of the University.
In his retirement, Fr. Graham looks forward to expanded opportunities for pastoral ministry, especially through various retreats at the Midwest Jesuit Province network of retreat houses, and to assisting Jesuit university trustees and senior executives understand better the Jesuit mission and identity of their schools so as to lead them more effectively and in fidelity to their origins. And, of course, he’ll keep his eyes and ears open for whatever ideas for his future his Provincial Superior may suggest.
Molly Henry leads individuals and teams to learn, love, and live their strengths. Molly uses her talents (in the CliftonStrengths themes of Learner, Input, Achiever, Connectedness, Activator) to design and facilitate engaging, transformative learning experiences. She has guided hundreds of individuals to discover their God-given talents, build them into strengths, and intentionally use these strengths to fully become the person God created them to be. Molly holds an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Sociology from DePaul University. She is a Gallup-certified Strengths coach and Principal at Molly Henry Strengths Coaching and Consulting.
Fr. Al Johnson is a native Chicagoan (South Side) and an Episcopal Priest. Locally he most recently served as Rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Barrington. Now he serves in the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania on a part-time basis. Al also serves as the volunteer chaplain for Barrington Countryside Fire District as well as participates regularly in the AA community in Barrington and in Erie, PA. Fr. Al is also married to Vickie and together they have three children, two alive, Hannah and Zachary, and one that died in 1989, Nicholas. They have been residents of the Barrington Community since 1990.
Fr. Bobby Karle, SJ is a Jesuit from the Midwest Province and co-founder of Ignatian Yoga. He began practicing yoga in 2009, between serving as a Jesuit Volunteer in Belize and entering the Jesuit order in 2010. During Jesuit formation, he has completed a 500-hour yoga teacher training, a Masters degree in Philosophy from Fordham University, and a Masters of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA in preparation for priestly ordination. Bobby’s spiritual practice and teaching is deeply informed by both the East and West and uses the body and breath to realize Christ’s presence.
Paula Kowalkowski has worked as a music educator on the high school and college level for over 30 years. She currently is the Music Director at St. Thomas Becket Church in Mount Prospect. Ms. Kowalkowski has a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Spirituality and a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Loyola University Chicago/Institute of Pastoral Studies. Most recently, she received a Certificate in Spiritual Direction with an emphasis on Ignatian Spirituality from the Midwest Jesuit Province. She is humbled and honored to be a part of the Bellarmine team.
Fr. Jim Kubicki was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He entered the Jesuits in 1971, was ordained in 1983, and has served his community as vocation director and assistant to the provincial for formation and Native American ministry. From 1989 to 1995 he worked at the Sioux Spiritual Center, a retreat house for Native people and the center for the Rapid City Diocese’s Deacon and Lay Ministry Formation program. From 2000-03 he was the Assistant Director of Demontreville, a Jesuit retreat house in Minnesota. He also served as Director of St. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Reservation in western South Dakota from 2017-2022.
In 2003 he became the national director of the Apostleship of Prayer, the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, and traveled around the country giving talks, parish missions, and retreats. He is a regular contributor to the national Catholic media network, Relevant Radio, and appears regularly as well on Catholic radio stations in Nebraska, Oregon and Ohio. His book “A Heart on Fire: Rediscovering Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus” was published by Ave Maria Press in 2012 and was awarded third place in the category of “Best Prayer and Spirituality Book of the Year” by the Association of Catholic Book Publishers. His second book, “A Year of Daily Offerings,” was published in October, 2016.
Currently, Fr. Kubicki gives retreats around the country while serving as a spiritual director at the Milwaukee Archdiocesan Seminary.
Fr. Joe Laramie SJ is the national director of the Pope's Prayer Network [Apostleship of Prayer]-- a 175-year-old ministry uniting hearts to the Sacred Heart. He is also a National Eucharistic Preacher for the Eucharistic Revival. Fr. Laramie entered the Jesuits in 2000 was ordained in 2011. He taught at all-boys Jesuit high schools in Colorado and Kansas City and served as a college campus minister in St Louis.
Fr. Laramie served at Mayan villages in Belize. He has been featured on the Hallow app, EWTN, Busted Halo, and America magazine. He is the author of two books -Love Him Ever More: a 9-Day Personal Retreat with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, based on the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola [Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, 2022] and Abide in the Heart of Christ: a 10-Day Personal Retreat with St Ignatius Loyola, based on the Spiritual Exercises [Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, 2019].
Fr. Macke is the Jesuit Mission Coordinator at the Jesuit Spiritual Center in Milford, Ohio and Jesuit Liaison for Ignatius House in downtown Cincinnati (a young adult intentional community). The previous six years he was Executive Director of the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat in Barrington, IL.
Previously, Fr. Macke had served as the Secretary for Pastoral Ministries and Jesuit Life for the Jesuit Conference of the United States in Washington, DC for six years. Prior to joining the Conference, Macke worked in Alaska for 17 years, devoting eight years to the Holy Spirit Center in Anchorage, Alaska, where he served as its executive director for six years.
Father Macke entered the Society of Jesus in 1963, earning a BA in classics and a Masters of Divinity, both from Loyola University of Chicago. After his ordination in 1973, Macke went on to receive a MA in counseling psychology from Loyola, and a D. Min. in pastoral psychotherapy from the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.
As the Secretary for Pastoral Ministries and Jesuit Life, Father Macke worked to promote the ministries involved with the over 100 Jesuit parishes and missions in the USA, plus 28 Jesuit retreat and spirituality centers throughout the United States, Christian Life Communities, and the Apostleship of Prayer. Likewise, he was involved with all areas concerning Jesuit community life, such as training for new Jesuit Superiors and the Health Care Coordinators for the Jesuit Provinces in the United States. He helped develop the Educational Component for Ethics in Ministry—a series of four video cases concerning boundaries with adults in ministry and the use and abuse of the Internet. This program is now being used for religious men in the USA and in other countries as well as a number of Catholic Dioceses in the USA. Fr. Macke has served in Jesuit formation as the vocation director for the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus from 1989 until 1993.
Father Chris Manahan entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1993 at the age of 37 after a 15-year career as a newspaper reporter and editor in Minnesota and Iowa. After ordination in 2003 he served two years as a parish priest on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota; spent a year working with Jesuits in the Philippines and northeast India; served eight years on the staff of the Jesuit Novitiate where men discern whether to profess vows; and, for seven years was director of the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Father Manahan currently assists the provincial in caring for Jesuits in the Midwest Province awaiting final vows and for the province’s senior Jesuits who are 70 and older. He lives in the Taylor Street Jesuit Community in Chicago.
Fr. Tim Meier, SJ was a Chaplain in the California National Guard (2006-2018) who deployed overseas four times. Fr. Meier holds a BA in Music and Biology from Kalamazoo College, an MA in Philosophy from Loyola University Chicago, an MS in Biology from Georgetown University, an MDiv and a ThM from Weston Jesuit School of Theology, as well as a PhD in Molecular Neurobiology from Stanford University where he served as the Undergraduate Research Coordinator and Director of the Honors Program in Biology. He has been clean and sober since September 1979.
After years as a practicing physician, medical educator, and administrator, Fr. Muccino, now serves as Associate Director of Pre-Health Professions Advising at the College of the Holy Cross. He is also Assistant Professor of Medicine at UMASS Chan Medical School where he directs a course on Health Systems Science.
Throughout his Jesuit life he has also allotted time to pursue his passion for giving preached conference retreats, workshops, and days of recollection to all seeking to grow in their relationship with God.
Rev. Dr. Carol Ann Munro is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She has served as a parish pastor, hospital chaplain, development officer, retreat leader and spiritual director. Primary areas of focus for her ministry have been 12-step spirituality, adult faith formation and biblical literacy. She is currently a volunteer with the Ignatian Spirituality Project, which provides spiritual companioning for people recovering from homelessness and addiction, and she serves as a spiritual resource for the Peace and Justice Ministry of St. Gertrude Roman Catholic Church in Chicago.
With more than 35 years of daily spiritual practice, Elizabeth understands the gifts of a contemplative journey. A graduate of The Institute for Spiritual Guidance in Wisconsin Elizabeth serves as a retreat leader, spiritual director and supervisor.
As a spiritual companion, Elizabeth brings attentive listening, and open-mindedness to individuals who desire a dedicated time to explore their unique spiritual path. In a retreat setting, she provides questions and content that encourage individuals to go deeper into self-knowledge and explore their experience of the sacred in their lives. Elizabeth has degrees in Art and Business and has completed coursework in Mindfulness and Self-Compassion. Past careers have included Fundraising, Photography, Employee Assistance Programming and Funeral Service.
Since 2018, and with his provincial’s direction, Roc O’Connor, SJ has been composing and writing nearly full-time. In June of 2020 OCP published his collection of eight new songs, All Shall Be Well: The Hand of God. During the lockdown from COVID he submitted a three year writing project on liturgical spirituality for publication. It twins with his article to be published in Worship magazine, July 2021.
Fr. Tom O’Neill, SJ is an Associate Pastor at St. Ignatius Parish in Sacramento and Superior of the Sacramento Jesuit Community. He entered the Society of Jesus in September of 1976 and was ordained in June of 1990. Fr. Tom taught for many years at Loyola High School in Los Angeles and after receiving an M.F.A. in painting from the Pratt Institute in New York, worked in the Fine Arts department at the University of San Francisco. Prior to moving to Sacramento, Fr. Tom served as the Superior of the Jesuit Community at St. Ignatius Prep in San Francisco. Beginning in 2006, Fr. Tom developed a deep love for the ministry of the Jesuits among the Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Reservation. He worked at Our Lady of the Sioux church in Oglala, South Dakota and served on the Board of Directors of Red Cloud Indian School – the Jesuit mission on the Reservation. For the past nine years, Fr. Tom has become involved in Recovery work, finding a deep freedom and grace in 12 Step work. His Sobriety date is March 22, 2014. In the past two years, he has also started working the Steps in Al-anon as well.
Father Pacwa received his B.A. in Philosophy and Theology from the University of Detroit, summa cum laude. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1976 with the Society of Jesus, as a Master of Divinity and S.T.B. from the Jesuit School of Theology of Loyola University, magna cum laude. At Vanderbilt University, he received his Master of Arts as well as his Ph.D. in Old Testament. He is best known for his appearances on EWTN for over the last thirty years. Fr. Pacwa is a best-selling Catholic author and has written numerous books on a variety of topics about the Scripture and our Catholic Faith to continue to teach us and generations to come. To leave a Legacy means to: bequest, give an inheritance or endowment. That is the singular driving motivation for Father Pacwa‘s fervent desire to reach out and speak to groups of young Catholic adults. Father Pacwa’s vision is to create a “Legacy of Faith” for the next generation of Catholics who strive to grow and mature in their faith and become the future leaders of our Church. Father Pacwa ardently believes that personally reaching out to young adults in an intimate setting where he can connect and answer questions is the most effective way to reach across generational gaps. He reminds us all that through our Baptism we are called to be sharers of the Church’s mission which is to continue the works of Jesus Christ and to make His name known and loved. For more information visit: http://kingsservants.org/legacy-of-faithinitiative.
Fr. Jeff Putthoff, SJ is a Jesuit priest. He is deeply interested in creating communities of healing, empowering young people, brain health, and finding God in all things. He has worked as a high school teacher, associate pastor, executive director and high school president, and educational consultant using his unique experience in organizational dynamics, leadership, brain health, and Ignatian spirituality, applying it to youth education and organizational life. Father Jeff currently helps to raise scholarship funds for over 100 schools throughout the United States.
Fr. Jeff is a retreat leader and a director of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola deeply desiring to help others connect to God. He has directed over 75 directed retreats and 180 preached retreats nationally.
He is a gifted, national speaker on trauma-informed care, organizational dynamics, youth formation, Ignatian spirituality, and leadership.
Fr. Mark Scalese, SJ is currently the religious superior of young Jesuits in the First Studies Program at Loyola University Chicago. Prior to that, he spent 15 years at Fairfield University in Connecticut, where he was a tenured professor in the Film, Television and Media Arts program and the director of campus ministry. Born and raised in Scranton, PA, he taught elementary school art before entering the Society of Jesus in 1987. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1997.
Tom and Geralyn Sparough have been facilitating retreats for 30 years. They have co-written two books: The Secret Diary of Mother Mary and The Embodied Rosary. They both enjoy writing poetry and journaling as forms of prayer. Tom is a performance artist, spiritual director, and the originator of this retreat. He has a master's degree in psychology and a bachelor's degree in journalism. Geralyn is a fiber artist and curriculum curator for The Hive—a center for action, contemplation and art. She has a master's degree in counseling and a bachelor's degree in English. They live in Cincinnati, OH.
Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ is a retreat director and spiritual director at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington. He holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama and a Doctor of Ministry from St Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, IL. He is the founder of Charis, a national Jesuit retreat ministry for young adults in their 20s and 30s, and has trained spiritual directors at Loyola University-Chicago.
A prolific writer and speaker, Fr. Michael has published books, CDs, and DVDs on prayer, discernment, and the sacraments with Franciscan Media, Paulist Press, Liturgical Training Publications, Loyola Press, and Heart to Heart. He is seen regularly on Shalom World Catholic Television and is heard regularly on Sacred Heart radio in Cincinnati and WSFI Catholic Radio in greater Chicagoland.
His latest co-authored book is What’s Your Decision? An Ignatian Approach to Decision Making and is published by Loyola Press.
Fr. Michael’s weekly video homilies can be seen online at www.HtoH.US.
The ministry team and other trained Spiritual Directors lead the spiritual direction of retreats and programs at Bellarmine.
Fr. Tom Weston, SJ, entered the California Province of the Jesuit Order in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1978. Currently based in Oakland, CA, he has devoted most of his priestly life to counseling and retreat work with alcoholics and other addicts. In addition to his Twelve Step work, he was part of a team that taught English to ministry students in Thailand and Vietnam each summer. “Wherever he is, Fr. Weston sees the power of God working in people’s lives, but perhaps most acutely in his recovery work: ‘People get well. People come back to life. Families come back together,” he says. ‘It’s the Resurrection—and you see it all the time.’ ” (Tyson, Gail. “Helping Others Find Sobriety.” Mission 2008 Summer: pg. 7. Print.)