Fr. Francis Benedict has been a monk of Valyermo since 1967. He
earned an MA in Philosophy from Loyola-Marymount University and an MS in
Theology from Mt Angel in Oregon. He was ordained a priest in 1976. He served
as the Abbey’s abbot for 16 years. His special areas of ministry include
spiritual direction, preaching retreats, and working with 12-step recovery
groups. In addition to many responsibilities at the Abbey, he now serves as the
Director of Oblates.
Fr. Joseph Brennan has been a monk of Valyermo since 1994 after
having served as a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for over 20
years. He is a spiritual director at the Cardinal Manning House of Prayer for
priests in Los Angeles as well as St. Andrew’s Prior.
Diane Bunker is a retired psychologist who worked with older people receiving care in Rehabilitation Medicine and Hospice. She obtained her M.Div. and Ph.D. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. She comes with a wealth of personal, professional, and pastoral experience.
Dr. Michael Carey is an oblate of Valyermo. He is an Associate Professor of Organizational Leadership at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. He has taught leadership studies at the graduate level for 30 years at Gonzaga and works to ensure that Gonzaga's graduate leadership programs follow in the tradition of Jesuit education that stretches back to St. Ignatius of Loyola. But his first love is St. Benedict and the community of St. Andrew's Abbey, which he has been connected to since 1971.
Fr. Stephen Coffey, a Massachusetts native, is a monk of the Camaldolese Congregation of the Order of St. Benedict and lives at the Monastery of the Risen Christ in San Luis Obispo, CA where he is director of oblates. He is a retreat director, spiritual director, and is involved in other formation ministries at the Hermitage in Big Sur and at San Lorenzo Seminary in Santa Ynez. He is a graduate of St. John's School of Theology in Collegeville, MN and hold degrees in Christian Spirituality from Creighton in Omaha and in Pastoral Leadership from Chaminade in Honolulu.
Dr. Laura Dunham, former academic, retired Presbyterian minister, and Catholic convert in 2012, is an oblate of St. Benedict's Monastery in MN. She holds a PhD, MDiv, and Certificate in Spiritual Formation. Teaching and writing about Christian spirituality, guiding the Ignatian Exercises, and leading retreats and group studies of the mystics are her current work. Laura is the author of Path of the Purified Heart: The Spiritual Journey as Transformation (Cascade Books, 2012) and Extraordinary Time: Spiritual Reflections from a Season with Cancer, Death, and Transition (Cascade Books, 2018). A resident of Riverside, CA, she invites inquiries about her work through her website, www.laura-dunham.com.
Fr. Luke Dysinger has been a monk of Valyermo since 1976. He is a
priest and a physician who writes and teaches in the fields of mystical
theology and biomedical ethics. He earned a Ph.D. at Oxford University and
currently teaches at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, CA as well as online
Cheryl Evanson is an oblate of Valyermo and former Administrator of
the Retreat Center at St. Andrews's. She earned an MA in Education from the University of Denver and was an
educator/curriculum specialist for over 30 years. She has facilitated
retreats and workshops on team-building, balancing work and prayer, women in
scripture and Edith Stein.
Sr. Gertrude Gillette made her Solemn Profession as a Benedictine at St. Scholastica Prioy, MA in 1984. She received her Ph.D in Patristics (1996), and her S.T.L. in Monastic Studies (2007), and taught at Ave Maria University, FL for 8 years (2003-2011). During this period, she founded (along with the late Sr. Theresa Scheuren, OSB) a new Benedictine community, which eventually moved to NC where it resides today as the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Peace in Rutherfordton, NC.
Deloris Haddow is an oblate of Valyermo. She is an artist and
educator who studied in Europe, Ukraine, and Iran. She is involved with the
California Plein Air Association and is a member of Faith and Forum, a
liturgical art organization. She is a spiritual director/facilitator for
adults, leading retreats and workshops on centering prayer.
Fr. Isaac Kalina has been a monk of Valyermo since 1984. Having
completed his theology degree in Rome at the Collegio Sant’Anselmo, he was
ordained a priest in 1989. He has served the Abbey as Prior, Sub-prior,
Kitchenmaster, Youth Director, Assistant Novicemaster, Vocation Director, and
Juniormaster. He is involved in retreats and workshops, bilingual ministry,
12-Step recovery, addiction counseling, spiritual direction, and grief
Mary Kauffman is an oblate of Valyermo. She has an MA in English and has taught ESL, various levels of English and writing, and literature courses at several colleges in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas. Now retired, she enjoys sharing her love of reading and writing through participation in different reading and literary groups, particularly those with an emphasis on discovering the transcendent and increasing our Christian awareness through exploration of the written word.
Reese Landi is an oblate of Valyermo and has worked in Orange County as an RN for 30 years in critical care and recovery. In addition to her BS in Nursing, she is a life-long artists who is certified through Brandman University to work with Art & Creativity for Healing, a non-profit group that uses art as therapy for Wounded Warriors, battered women, autistic children, pediatric cancer patients, and others.
Lisa Marion is an oblate of Valyermo and Spiritual Director in Orange County. An energetic leader, she has over 25 years of pastoral experience ministering to people of
all ages and stages of life. Leading numerous events both locally and nationally, she conveys her awareness of God and his love with a subtle yet honest sense of humor. For more information about Lisa and her ministry visit www.dailypax.com- subscribe to join her growing community of those seeking peace and spiritual growth.
Fr. Aelred Niespolo has been a monk of Valyermo since 2001 and was
ordained to the priesthood in 2005. Having competed the Master of Theology
program at Oxford University, he teaches at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo,
Carlos Obando nació en Costa Rica y vive en Los
Estados Unidos desde 1966. Está casado, tiene tres hijos y un nieto. En el año
2009 obtuvo una maestría de la Universidad de Loyola Marymount, Los Ángeles, en
Teología Pastoral. Es instructor en la Universidad de Loyola en el Centro de
Religión y Espiritualidad, el Instituto para el Ministerio Pastoral y también
para la Escuela de la Renovación Carismática en la Diócesis de Orange. Ha sido
Director Espiritual por más de 20 años. Trabaja con la comunidad hispana desde
1979 en los condados de Los Ángeles y Orange en la formación de líderes y dando
retiros a jóvenes y adultos.
Rev. Dr. Greg Peters, Obl.SB, is an Associate Professor of Medieval and Spiritual Theology at Biola University, La Mirada, CA. As an Anglican priest, he serves as Rector of the Anglican Church of the Epiphany, also in La Mirada. He is the author of Reforming the Monastery: Protestant Theologies of the Religious Life, The Story of Monasticism: Retrieving an Ancient Tradition for Contemporary Spirituality and forthcoming The Monkhood of All Believers: The Monastic Foundation of Christian Spirituality.
Maria Rohde is an oblate of Valyermo and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She earned a BA in Psychology at UCLA, and an MA in Community/Clinical Psychology at California State University, Northridge. She has been in private practice in the Antelope Valley for 25 years, and works primarily from a cognitive-behavioral perspective, specializing in treatment of anxiety disorders.
Michaela Russell is an oblate of Valyermo. She has a BA in International Studies/East Asia and a Graduate Certificate in Advanced International Affairs. Michaela spent many years in Asia and is fluent in Mandarin. She has co-facilitated retreats on the desert mothers, women in scripture, and Edith Stein.
Sr. Joan Marie Sasse is a Benedictine Sister who was a member of Holy Spirit Monastery in Grand Terrace for many years. When the Community left California in 2012, she joined St. Lucy's Benedictine Community in Glendora. Sr. Joan Marie has earned degrees in Education, Theology, and Neuro Linguistics Programming. She was a teacher and school administrator in various elementary schools for over twenty years and served as a Parish Administrator or Pastoral Associate for thirteen years. Sr. Joan Marie was a Retreat Director at Serra Retreat House in Malibu for five years where she published five Meditation CD's and two CD's for self-improvement. Sr. Joan Marie currently gives weekly Retreats at Grand Terrace, CA.
Dr. Audrey Spindler is an oblate of Valyermo and a presenter and
facilitator of Centering Prayer under Contemplative Outreach. Having earned her
Ph.D and RD, she is a former professor of Foods and Nutrition and Director of
the Didactic Program in Dietetics in the School of Exercise and Nutritional
Sciences at State University. She received over 10 teaching awards and
published more than 40 refereed papers.
Nikki Tucker is an oblate of Valyermo and a private Marriage and
Family Therapist. She earned a BA in Art History at UCLA with a focus on
Medieval Art and an MA at Fuller Seminary. She has lectured and given retreats
on art and spirituality and has facilitated several cinema workshops.
John West is an oblate of Valyermo and the founder of the Valyermo
Dancers. A gifted dancer, choreographer, liturgist, and writer, he has been conducting
dance workshops at St. Andrew’s Abbey for many years. He is also a lecturer and educator at the international and national collegiate and university levels. His professional associations include membership in the prestigious North American Academy of Liturgy.
Yvonne Comstock Wilber is an oblate of Valyermo and works as an academic librarian and adjunct instructor of Religion at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. She holds master's degrees in Library Science and Intellectual Leadership, and earned her Ph.D. in Humanities with a major in Philosophy. Yvonne's intellectual work lies in the intersections of humanity, technology, and ecology, which supports her "heart work" in helping people build bridges across all sorts of differences.