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Retreat Masters

Meet the Retreat Masters

Carol Ackels

Carol is the Director of the Ignatian Spirituality Institute. A spiritual director in the Ignatian tradition and Senior Ignatian Fellow of Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House, she serves as retreat director of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius in various formats. She offers weekend retreats, the Exercises in Everyday Life, and one-to-one directed retreats at Jesuit retreat houses across the United States.  Carol regularly gives programs and days of reflection to parish and Church groups. She helped launch and continues to give workshops to shape persons, Jesuits and lay, who are moving into retreat ministry and Ignatian spiritual companioning. Appointed by the Jesuit Provincial, she served six years on the province Commission on Ministry--the group that discerns long-range planning for apostolic work of the Jesuits and their colleagues. Carol worked with Anthony Borrow, SJ in developing the Toward Greater Freedom retreat for parents at Jesuit College Prep of Dallas, and co-authored with Joe Tetlow, SJ the twelve-week Ignatian retreat, Finding Christ in the World. Carol holds a JD from SMU Dedman School of Law and is currently pursuing a Master of Art in Theology and Leadership at Gonzaga University. She and her husband reside in Dallas and are the parents of five adult children.

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Peter Bernardi, SJ

Peter Bernardi, the eldest of 8 children, graduated from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Xavier University (1972). After graduate philosophy studies and teaching (St. Ursula Academy) in Cincinnati, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1976. Ordained a priest in 1987, he completed doctoral studies in theology at The Catholic University of America. He has taught theology at Loyola University of New Orleans (1996-2010) and at Loyola University of Chicago (2009-2020). Currently he serves as “theologian in residence” at the Lumen Christi Institute [] and as a sacramental minister at Calvert House in Hyde Park, Chicago.

Upcoming Retreats

Dr. Amy Cattapan

Amy J. Cattapan, DM, Ed.D., is an award-winning author, speaker, and teacher. Her book Sweet Jesus, Is It June Yet: 10 Ways the Gospels Can Help You Combat Teacher Burnout and Rediscover Your Passion for Teaching releases August 1, 2021, from Ave Maria Press. Her YA novel Angelhood and her middle grade book Seven Riddles to Nowhere have won multiple awards. She's also been published in children’s magazines and three Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She is a regular contributor to the Homeschooling Saints Podcast as well as the host of Cath-Lit Live! Follow her at

Upcoming Retreats

Sr. Wendy Cotter, CSJ, PhD

Sr.  Wendy Cotter, CSJ, PhD  is a Sister of St. Joseph from London, Ontario, Canada and has been a full-time professor of New Testament in the Theology Department of Loyola University, and is now Emerita since her retirement last summer. After her undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, she was invited to serve on her Community’s Peruvian mission for two terms (four years). Upon her return, she began her graduate studies and received her PhD in New Testament from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, with a specialty in Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke), particularly the Gospel of Mark and pre-gospel material with a focus on miracle stories. Besides her articles and papers, she has published two books, The Miracles in  Greco Roman Antiquity (1999), and The Christ of the Miracle Stories: Portrait Through Encounter (2010). Throughout these years, Sister has been invited to offer Scripture workshops and parish missions as well as weekend and longer retreats. She considers these the greatest source of joy and grace.

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Bob Dufford, SJ

Fr. Bob Dufford, SJ is a Jesuit priest and well-known composer of liturgical music. He has taught in high school and college, and given hundreds of workshops in liturgy and music. For nearly 20 years, he has offered retreats and spiritual direction at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and, since 2010, at Creighton University Retreat Center in Griswold, Iowa.

Upcoming Retreats

Sr. Linda Fischer

Sr. Linda Fischer is a member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ from Columbia, PA.  A teacher by profession, Sr. Linda left the classroom in 2005.  Since then she has been involved in full-time 12 Step retreat ministry. Sr. Linda has been a grateful recovering alcoholic for the past 29 years and says she loves facilitating recovery retreats because “she receives every bit as much as she gives.”  She calls her own journey in recovery one of the greatest blessings in her life.

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Dan Hartnett, SJ

Fr. Dan worked in Latin America (Peru) for over 20 years. He then returned to Chicago to assist with Jesuits in formation at Loyola University. After working at Loyola for ten years, he was asked to be pastor at Most Blessed Trinity Parish in Waukegan and, then subsequently, pastor of Robert Bellarmine Parish at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Once completed those assignments, Dan returned to Chicago where he serves as spiritual director, instructor and associate pastor at St. Ignatius Parish in Rogers Park.

Este día estará guiado por P. Daniel Hartnett, S.J. - un jesuita quien trabaja en la Universidad de Loyola de Chicago y también en diversas parroquias de nuestra arquidiócesis. ¡Vengan a compartir este día con nosotros!

Upcoming Retreats

Nancy and Tom Hulsebosch

No Biography Yet!

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Doug Leonhardt, SJ

A native of Milwaukee, Fr. Leonhardt entered the Society of Jesus in 1956 and was ordained a priest in 1969.  Since his ordination, he has served as the Principal and the President of Marquette University High School, as the Director of Novices and the Formation Director of the Wisconsin Province, and as the Pastor of Gesu Parish in Milwaukee.  For a period of time during his 2003 sabbatical, Fr. Leonhardt directed retreats in Kenya and Uganda.  He has extensive experience in directing the Spiritual Exercises and is presently working as Jesuit Superior for the St. Camillus assisted living community.

Upcoming Retreats

Erin Maiorca

Erin Maiorca has been the Executive Director at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House since 2019. She first attended a retreat at Bellarmine as a high school senior making a Kairos retreat. She fell in love with Jesus on that retreat. She went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois, and a Culinary Arts Degree from the Washburne Culinary and Hospitality Institute. She spent 20 years active in her parish and working in corporate America. She held positions in hospitality management, training, and communications nationally and globally for a fortune 500 company. She had a calling however, to serve the people of God in a different way. In 2012 she began a new chapter at Bellarmine serving as the Associate Director. A long-time student of the Ignatian traditions, she entered the Spiritual Direction internship program in 2016. Erin’s hobbies are cooking, reading, day-hiking, and kayaking. She and her husband Tom reside in Glenview, Il and have two adult sons.

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Christopher Manahan, SJ

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 the past seven years has been director of the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago located near Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Father Manahan was missioned last August to assist the provincial in caring for Jesuits in the Midwest Province who are awaiting final vows and for senior Jesuits who are 70 and older. He lives in the Taylor Street Jesuit Community in Chicago.

Upcoming Retreats

Maureen Martin

Maureen M. Martin, MDiv, LCPC, is a counselor and spiritual director. Previously, she worked as a hospice chaplain, pediatrician, and pediatric nurse. After many life transitions, Maureen has woven together her losses and shares her insights of hope, even in crisis, through writing, public speaking and spiritual direction. She lives in Evanston, Illinois.

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Tim Meier, SJ

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.

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Keith Muccino, SJ

Dr. Muccino served as Associate Provost for Educational Resources at Loyola University Chicago’s Health Sciences Campus until May of 2019. In July 2019 he begins his new dual assignment as consultant to the Office of Medical Education at UMASS Medical School, and assistant to the Office of Health Professions Advising at The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

In addition to his administrative and educational responsibilities, Fr. Muccino has spent the past twenty five years pursuing his passion for giving preached weekend retreats, individually directed retreats, parish retreats, and days of recollection centered on adult faith-formation.

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Roc O'Connor, SJ

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. 

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Bernie Owens, SJ

Fr. Bernie Owens is a member of the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).  He recently returned from Nairobi, Kenya in East Africa where for five years he guided many people making retreats according to the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola and taught part-time in the Jesuit seminary in Nairobi.  

Most recently he has written and had published a paperback entitled More Than You Could Ever Imagine: On Our Becoming Divine.  It tells the story of our Passover into God, how God transforms us into another Christ, freed from our self-centeredness to relate selflessly and with God’s love to others, to the world, to God, and to our own self.  It gives the broad outlines or sketch of the journey that Christians and in general all peoples make home to God, as well as what are some of the amazing chapters in our life story as we realize our ultimate destiny in Christ.  Fr. Bernie is soon to finish a second book, Realizing Our Deepest Desires: Experiencing God As Never Before.  It tells of how God evokes, stage by stage, the deepest and most pure desires of our soul, the best parts of ourself, so that we can become the best of friends with Him and a Beloved Disciple of Jesus.

In August of 2019 Fr. Bernie began a new ministry at St. John’s Jesuit High School and Academy in Toledo.  It is a school for 725 boys, ages 12-18.  He has been asked to create various programs for the parents of the students and for the members of St. John’s Board of Trustees and their spouses.  Lastly, he is helping out with weekend masses at St Martin de Porres, the African-American inner city parish of Toledo.

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ

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:

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Jeff Putthoff, SJ

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, using his unique experience in organizational dynamics, leadership, brain health and Ignatian spirituality, applying it to youth education and organizational life. He 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 is a gifted national speaker on trauma-informed care, organizational dynamics, youth formation, Ignatian spirituality and leadership.

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Nestor Sanchez

Fr. Nestor Sanchez trained for the priesthood in the religious community of Missionaries Serves of the Word.  He was ordained in 2019 in the Diocese of Joliet.

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ

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.

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Jayme Stayer, SJ

Jayme Stayer holds degrees in music, literature, and theology. Currently Associate Professor of English at Loyola University Chicago, he has written numerous articles and books on modernist literature. He is also the president of the International T. S. Eliot Society and an award-winning editor of Eliot's Complete Prose, Volume 5.

Upcoming Retreats

Fr. Jim Strzok, SJ

Fr. Jim Strzok, SJ is a new member of the team at Bellarmine. Born in northern Wisconsin, he attended Campion Jesuit HS, where he received his vocation to be a Jesuit. Trained as a scientist and educationalist, he holds a BS in chemistry and physics, an MS in earth sciences, and an MA in ascetical theology. Following teaching science for several years, he made his tertianship in India and returned to serve Native American Sioux of South Dakota for 18 years. In 1986 he was assigned to assist building the new Jesuit Province in East Africa. There, he gave and trained Africans to give Ignatian retreats and offer spiritual direction. Because the Jesuit province was growing exponentially, he also became a builder, using his environmental and practical background to build schools, Jesuit residences, and buildings that are environmentally sustainable. He just returned from 33 years serving in Africa last year.  

Upcoming Retreats

Bellarmine Jesuit Ministry Team and Additional Spiritual Directors

The ministry team leads the spiritual direction of retreats and programs at Bellarmine.  You can find out more about the Individually Directed Retreat spiritual directors here.

Upcoming Retreats

Team of Veterans

The Veterans Ministry Team are dedicated to helping veterans from all ages in their path to spiritual healing.

Upcoming Retreats

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