anthony-gittins

Our Presenters

Thomas P. Bonacci, CP is a Passionist priest, ordained in 1972. He has conducted hundreds of Scripture study programs throughout the United States for over 40 years.  He was campus minister at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC and Carlow University, in Pittsburgh, where he taught Sacred Scripture and established the Women’s Interfaith Center. He is the founder and director of the Interfaith Peace Project in Antioch, CA, which encourages interfaith peace and mutual respect through home-based programs. He also serves on the staff of the Christ the King Retreat Center in Citrus Grove, CA. He is much in demand as a speaker and retreat leader.

James Briggs is a former Executive Director of the School of Applied Theology (SAT). He has held administrative positions at Georgetown University and UC Berkeley as Director of their Career Centers and served twenty-two years at Santa Clara University as VP for Student Services and then Executive Assistant to the President. He has a background in career development, theology, and higher education. He has taught in the career counseling graduate program at John F. Kennedy University and currently teaches a course in Ministerial Discernment at SAT. He holds an MA in Theology from the University of Louvain, Belgium.

Anne and Terry Symens-Bucher are Franciscans and the founders of Canticle Farm Community in Oakland, California, where they are engaged in the practices they bring to this retreat, as well as exploring racial healing through addressing systemic racism and white privilege with the Work That Reconnects.

  • Anne Symens-Bucher was first introduced to the work of Joanna Macy in 1984, and has served as her executive assistant since 2006. She is deeply immersed in Macy’s work, and has been facilitating Work That Reconnects workshops for many years. In addition to Joanna Macy, Anne has learned directly from Dorothy Day, Richard Rohr, OFM, Marshall Rosenberg, and Bill Plotkin. Her teaching is woven from these mentors, from many years immersed in a nonviolent campaign to end nuclear weapons testing in the Nevada desert, and 25 years in the Franciscan Justice, Peace & Integrity Creation Office of the St. Barbara Province. The place of her deepest practice has been in her 30 year marriage and parenting of five children. She is deeply grateful for her Catholic Franciscan upbringing, which set her on the path of her soul work. Anne is a trained spiritual director and enjoys supporting people to embrace what is theirs to do.

  • Terry Symens-Bucher has been trained in Council practice through the Center for Council, in Nonviolent Communication with Marshall Rosenberg and BayNVC and has studied extensively with Joanna Macy and Bill Plotkin. He has a Master of Divinity Degree from the Franciscan School of Theology and a Juris Doctor from U.C. Hastings College of Law. Terry’s soul work combines years of experience as a trainer and facilitator with his own journey in vision quest, male rites of passage, and contemplative practice. Terry helped co-found NorCalMALES and serves in a leadership role with Illuman, organizations carrying on the work of Richard Rohr in men’s initiation and the male spiritual journey.

Kathy Coffey's spirituality has been shaped primarily by 44 years of parenting and 6 years of grandparenting (6 children under 6!) From this immersion in the grit and glory of family life, she has learned that everything is sacred. Her award-winning books include Hidden Women of the Gospels, God in the Moment: Making Every Day a Prayer, Mary (Orbis), and When the Saints Go Marching In (Liturgical Press). For more information see: kathyjcoffey.com. We'll explore a broader dimension of prayer through storytelling, reflection, scripture, laughter and photography.

Gerald Coleman, SS, Ph.D. is a member of the American Province, Society of St. Sulpice (Sulpicians). He completed his Ph.D. at the Institute of Christian Thought, University of St. Michael’s College, in Toronto, Canada. He holds additional degrees from the University of San Francisco and an STL from St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore. He has taught moral theology at St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park, where he also served as Academic Vice President and then President from 1988-2004. Since 2005, he has been an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University.  His publication, Catholic Priesthood: Formation and Human Development, was written primarily for bishops, seminarians, and priests on human formation and development. He serves as an advisor to the Sisters of Charity Health Care System.

Celeste Crine, OSF is a Sister of St. Francis of Philadelphia. She is currently the Associate Director and Coordinator of Spirituality at the School of Applied Theology. Previously she served as Director of Spirituality and Healing Arts for St. Joseph Family Center in Spokane, WA. She is a spiritual director, retreat director, accredited T’ai Chi Chih teacher, and Reiki Master. Celeste has ministered as an Associate Staff member at the Franciscan Spiritual Center in Aston, PA, and as Vicar for Religious in the diocese of Wilmington, DE. She has also served as a supervisor for spiritual directors in the Neumann College Pastoral Counseling Department in Philadelphia.

Eduardo C. Fernández, S.J., STD, STL Other than teaching classes in missiology and Latino theology and ministry at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University at Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union, Professor Fernández publishes, gives workshops and retreats, and assists at local parishes. He has also worked in university campus ministry. A native of El Paso, Texas, he earned a Masters in Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and a doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. His two latest books are Mexican American Catholics (Paulist Press, 2007), awarded a 2008 Catholic Press Association Book Award in the category of pastoral ministry, and Culture-Senstitive Ministry: Helpful Strategies for Pastoral Ministers (Paulist Press, 2010) with Kenneth McGuire, CSP and Anne Hansen.

Mary Ann Finch is the Executive Director of the Care Through Touch Institute (CTI) in a densely populated and impoverished neighborhood in San Francisco. She founded CTI in 1983. Originally called the Center for Growth in Wholeness, and located at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, she introduced theological students to an emerging field of study at the time: holistic spirituality, with emphasis on and appreciation of the body, with Christian spirituality and theology. In 1997, the Institute moved to San Francisco. It is now accredited as a school of massage and pastoral care, with a special emphasis on providing students with the skills, credentials, and desire to incorporate massage into pastoral care ministries, especially to the impoverished, elderly, ill, and dying.

Michael Fish, OSB Cam is a native of South Africa. At the age of twenty-three, he entered the Redemptorists, and spent many of his twenty-six years with them forming young South Africans aspiring to be Redemptorist priests. In 1997, responding to a persistent desire for a more contemplative way of life, Michael left the Redemptorists and South Africa and became a Camaldolese Benedictine at New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, California. Michael is now engaged in spiritual direction to guests and retreatants at the Hermitage as well as directing retreats.

Michael French, FSC, Ph.D. holds a doctorate in Cross-Cultural Ministry from Catholic Theological Union, Chicago. He also holds graduate degrees in Spanish from St. Mary’s University in Winona, MN, and Pastoral Studies from Loyola University in Chicago. During his thirty-eight years as a Brother of the Christian, he was “invited” to the Brothers’ Generalate in Rome, Italy, where he served as the Director of Formation for their world-wide Institute for a seven-year term, followed by nine years as the Director of the International Center for Lasallian Studies (C.I.L.). Presently, he is a Facilitator and Teacher at Midwest District De La Salle Christian Brothers. In addition to his formation responsibilities, Br. Michael does workshops, facilitations, liturgical training and retreats in England, Spain, as well as in several African, Asian, and Latin-American countries. 

Bede Healey, OSB Cam, Ph.D. is a Camaldolese monk of New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, currently residing at the order’s house in Berkeley, Incarnation Monastery. He has served in various capacities including Formation Director, Oblate Chaplain, Treasurer, Vice Prior and Council member. He provides spiritual direction and offers a limited retreat ministry. Bede is also a clinical psychologist. He trained and worked at the Menninger Clinic, where he was a staff psychologist, the Director of the Division of Religion and Psychiatry, and held the Ishak Ramsey professorship at the Karl Menninger School of Psychiatry and Mental Health Sciences. He has written and presented widely on psychological and spiritual issues, including fostering spiritual and psychological growth throughout the lifespan, treatment of religious professionals, working with religious issues in therapy, provided psychological assessments for religious and ministerial candidates, and consulted with religious communities and dioceses. He has a keen interest in the relationship between spirituality and psychology, as well as in exploring the contemplative dimension in everyday life.

Joann Heinritz, CSJ is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. She is Director of Spirituality and Mission for Carondelet High School in Concord, CA. She is also an instructor, spiritual director, and retreat director for the School of Applied Theology sabbatical program. Holding Masters degrees in spirituality and theology, Sr. Joann is also certified as a Massage Practitioner. Her retreats and workshops incorporate her passion for embodied spirituality and holistic well-being. She volunteers regularly as a massage therapist at A Friendly Place, a shelter for homeless women in Oakland.

Colette Lafia is a San Francisco-based writer, spiritual director, and workshop and retreat facilitator. Colette is the author of Seeking Surrender: How a Trappist Monk Taught me to Trust and Embrace Life (Ave Maria, April 2015), and Comfort & Joy: Simple Ways to Care for Ourselves and Others (Conari, 2008). book, She has a passion for helping people connect more deeply with the presence of the sacred in their daily lives and blogs about it at www.colettelafia.com.

Bernard LoCoco, FSC is the former president of the School of Applied Theology (1999-2009). He holds Master degrees in education from St. Mary’s University, counseling psychology from the University of Missouri, and pastoral studies from Loyola University-Chicago. He has been a teacher and principal at the high school level, the president of Christian Brothers College in Memphis, TN, provincial of the St. Louis District of the Christian Brothers, and from 1986-1989, the director of the Sangre de Cristo Sabbatical Program in New Mexico. Now semi-retired, he brings his broad experience as a presenter and spiritual director to SAT.

Joshua Moritz,Ph.D. is lecturer of philosophical theology and natural sciences at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of San Francisco, and Academic/Managing Editor of the journal Theology and Science. He is author of Science and Religion: Beyond Warfare and Toward Understanding (Anselm Academic, 2016), Research Perspectives on Science and Theology (Brill, 2017), and Human Uniqueness and the Image of God: Bridging Evolutionary Biology and Theological Anthropology through Biblical Election (Pandora Press, 2017).

Ivan Nicoletto, OSB Cam is a Benedictine Camaldolese monk from the Hermitage of Camaldoli, Italy.  He is an author and retreat director residing at Incarnation Monastery in Berkeley. His reflection weaves the interconnections of spirituality, contemporary culture, and the new story of the Universe. His book, Journey of Faith, Journey of the Universe. The Lectionary and the New Cosmology, was published By Liturgical Press in 2015.

Ron Olowin, Ph.D. is a professor of astrophysics at St. Mary’s College, Moraga, CA, where he was recently named Professor of the Year. He also directs Saint Mary’s Geissberger Observatory. He completed his astrophysics doctorate at the University of Oklahoma. Before teaching, he was a research astronomer at the Royal Observatory in South Africa and director of Oklahoma’s Kirkpatrick Planetarium. While his travels have taken him to high-powered telescopes in Chile and the Soviet Union, he’s well-schooled in the role that the stars have played in cultures as ancient and varied as Aristotle’s Athens and the Pueblo Indians’ Chaco Canyon. A regular presence in the Religious Studies Department at St. Mary’s, he has taught courses about the ongoing dialogue between science and religion and on the origins of the universe.

Nicole Pagano earned a master’s degree from the Graduate Theological Union, which focused entirely on Dante’s Divine Comedy. Her dedication to the poem lies in its potential to instill creativity and peacemaking in adult audiences. She has led conversations on The Comedy in workshops at the San Francisco County Jail, Incarnation Monastery, and the School for Applied Theology. Nicole has also enjoyed a career in communications supporting publicly-minded institutions. A native of the DC area, she is a valedictorian of Georgetown University and now lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband.

Arthur Poulin, OSB Cam is a Camaldolese monk, priest, and artist living at Incarnation Monastery, Berkeley, California. He holds a degree in fine arts from Loyola University.  His paintings have been extensively acquired by people living in his native California as well as throughout the U.S., and internationally. His paintings echo the Impressionists, yet he has developed his own original style. His landscape paintings reflect the stunning beauty, harmony, and unity of creation. His works continue to be widely published as cards, covers of books, magazines, journals, and CDs. He also gives retreats and presentations on the spirituality of creativity and the creative process.  The art critic Sister Wendy Beckett has written regarding Father Poulin’s work: “It is intense and strong, with a pure clear inner radiance that is a silent witness to your vocation.”

Carrie Rehak, Ph.D., realizes her artistic, intellectual, and spiritual aspirations through a variety of modes and media, including writing, painting, teaching, and ministry. With a B.F.A. in painting, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in theology, with an emphasis in the arts, from the Graduate Theological Union, in Berkeley, Carrie has held positions in Campus Ministry and as an instructor of religious studies and liberal arts courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She is currently the Executive Director at the School of Applied Theology, and loves her work. Foremost, Carrie is committed to formal and informal communities of makers, seekers, and learners as creative agents for transformation and liberation. In 2000, she founded Epiphania, a sacred arts studio and habitat for spiritual activism, contemplative creativity, and compassionate community.

David Richo, Ph.D., M.F.T. is a psychotherapist, teacher, workshop leader, and writer who works in Santa Barbara and San Francisco, CA. He combines Jungian, poetic, and mythic perspectives in his work, with the intention of integrating the psychological and the spiritual. His books and workshops include attention to Buddhist practices.

Clare Ronzani is affiliated with the Jesuit School of Theology (JST) and San Damiano Retreat Center. Her work includes teaching courses in spirituality, serving as the Tri-School Career Advisor at the GTU, and leading workshops and retreats. In addition to her teaching at JST, Clare’s work for many years included administration of the school’s international renewal program, the Institute for Spirituality and Worship. She has also served as the Director for Spiritual Formation at the Franciscan School of Theology. Additionally, she serves as Coordinator of the Spiritual Directors Team at San Damiano Retreat in Danville, CA. She has offered workshops and retreats in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Guatemala, and Nigeria. Nancy Schreck, OSF, Nancy Schreck, is a Franciscan Sister from Dubuque, IA currently serving as Program Director for Excel in Okolona, MS.  She has held positions of leadership in her religious congregation, in the Presidency of LCWR from 1994-97, and as the U.S. Delegate to the International Union of General Superiors from 2008-2011.

Karen Sjoholm, MA, REACE is an artist and arts educator who has served in Bay Area educational institutions for over twenty-five years and was Chair of the Arts & Consciousness program at John F. Kennedy University from 2009-2016. She is a Registered Expressive Arts Consultant Educator through the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and is a certified creativity coach through the Creativity Coaching Association (REACE). As an educator, she believes that creativity is an inclusive, embodied experience that connects all participants to the deepest meanings of life and invites us to be present to its ever changing movements. Her art work, which includes artists’ books, installation, ceramics and mixed media, is focused on issues of memory, spirituality, the environment and social issues. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.