The Guild for Spiritual Guidance

April 2022 Newsletter

Decisive Graduate Guild Roundtable Discussion 
on the Organizational Call to Work with Dr. Fanny Brewster
Slated for Friday, April 29, 2022, 7–9 pm ET

by Cari Keith

Many of you are aware that following the September Graduate Circle retreat, Dr. Fanny Brewster asked if the Guild would like to move into the world as healing agents in circles of racial dialogue – listening and witnessing to stories of racial inequity. An initial suggestion for naming the story sharing circles was “Heart to Heart – Dialogues on Racial Equity. In addition to Guild board approval, many of you have expressed support and interest. Some of you have participated in conversations around the Guild’s call to partner with Dr. Fanny Brewster in offering ourselves as listening agents in the process of encouraging racial healing and equity through witnessing to another’s story.

There has also been expressed confusion and concern about member’s ability to listen to another without specific training in racism and a deeper understanding of our own white racial shadow. However, after five months of small and large group discussion, questions are arising about the energy and commitment levels for this call. What are the deeper fears that might be contributing to and/or creating hesitancy? Might it be the word dialogue itself?  Might witnessing to and/or holding another’s story be more in sync with our Guild training? The April 29 discussion is offered as an opportunity to clearly discern our call and next definitive steps – or not – toward engaging this work together. And it will be work! Are you in?  
Please join us and help the Guild to discern our call on this important invitation to commitment during the Graduate Guild Roundtable, Friday evening, April 29, 2020 at 7:00 pm.  
In this Graduate Guild roundtable discussion facilitated by Guild members for Guild graduates only, we are called to gather to consider more deeply our desire for moving ahead with the September proposal from Dr. Fanny Brewster and the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and to determine a direction for heart to heart dialogue on racial inequity.
This will be a decisive conversation on whether there is energy and commitment to move ahead.
In large and small group discussion we will discern the willingness to commit to the inner work required to bring about the kind of  transformational dialogue that this endeavor demands. We will discern the willing to being vulnerable and discomforted?  
At the end of our time together we will determine the energy level available for conversations of racial equity; for listening to the stories of racial inequity and injustice; for our readiness to commitment.  
We will come to a consensus as to how to proceed together as an organization and our response.  
Together we will explore….
What is the vision you might hold?
What is the internal discomfort?
What is holding you back?
How can we move forward?
Do you want to?
In both small and large group settings we will share with each other:
What is the vision you personally hold about engaging in racial dialogue?
What is your internal discomfort with this endeavor?
What holds you back from full engagement?
How might we move forward as individuals and organization?
Do you want to move ahead?
In preparation for reaching organizational consensus, please  explore the following questions:
1.  Is the Guild for Spiritual Guidance called to move into the world as leaders in the conversation on racial dialogue and equity?
2.  Are the members of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance prepared and ready to engage such a commitment?  
3.  What holds the organization back from full engagement?  
4.  What are the concerns regarding white shadow and stepping out to listen to another’s story? 
5.  Can we commit to the vulnerability and discomfort that will naturally arise from this endeavor?
6.  At we willing to commit to the inner work and kind of transformational dialogue this endeavor will demand?
The Zoom link for the Graduate Guild Round Table on April 29 at 7:00 pm Eastern Time is:
Meeting ID: 856 6786 8650
Passcode: 351366
      Guild Offers New Spiritual Guidance Supervision Program with Depth Psychology Orientation

The Guild for Spiritual Guidance is offering a new one-year program called Spiritual Guidance Supervision with a Depth Psychology Orientation. The program will commence in November 2022, and the invitation to this program will be limited to Guild graduates in the initial year.

The supervision program invites those who are called to begin a private practice of one-to-one interfaith spiritual guidance or who are already engaged in practicing interfaith spiritual guidance to refine their skills as a spiritual guide. The curriculum utilizes a depth psychology focus as well as individual and peer supervision for aiding the practitioner to gain deeper perspective and awareness of self, and self in relationship to the guide.

The program is designed for those who are looking for support in their spiritual guidance practice; who are looking to grow in understanding of themselves and the ways in which they are present with their guidees; who are looking to deepen their skill with guidees; and who are desiring to deepen their understanding of depth psychology and its impact on their practice.

painting by Becky Nielsen

For more information and to apply

Do You Know Candidates for the AP Program?
Encourage Them to Apply

APXXII is now forming, and there is still time to apply for the next cohort commencing in September 2022.
As Guild graduates, we understand the deep connections we make with one another during the Apprenticeship Program. For many of us, the Apprenticeship Program was a transformational journey.
Do you know someone who is longing for deeper spiritual connection? Please encourage that person to consider applying to APXXII. Just click on the button below to download the AP brochure.

painting by Becky Nielsen 
Downloadable AP Brochure

Aging as Spiritual Practice Workshop in June

June 23-26, at the Mountain Retreat Center, Highlands, North Carolina
Register by May 1 for Early Bird Discount
Join Guild members and others at the Mountain Retreat Center in Highlands, North Carolina, for a three-day, in-person workshop this June on Aging as a Spiritual Practice. Guild member Paulette Robinson will lead the workshop, which is co-sponsored by Wholeness of the Heart, Sage-ing International, and the Guild for Spiritual Guidance.
Aging is a time of harvesting and bringing the sacred into life. It is a time when the external forces of life make way for an internal focus on life’s purpose and mining life experiences for meaning. Life itself becomes a reflective space. When lived purposefully, aging becomes a spiritual practice. In this course, participants will explore tools for internal and external spiritual practice that can serve this internal movement. They will create meaning-making rituals, deepen meditative states, make intentional sacred spaces, and more.
Paulette Robinson is a certified Sage-ing Leader, graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and experienced retreat and workshop facilitator. For the past 20 yeara, Paulette has facilitated healing as a shamanic practitioner using multiple energy modalities and practices.  She has certifications in spiritual and elder coaching, family constellations and ancestral trauma,  alchemical alignment (somatic trauma release), past-life regressions, and mediumship.
Dates: June 23 (1 pm) to June 26 (1 pm) in person at The Mountain Retreat Center, Highlands, North Carolina
Program Cost: 
$500 early bird rate before May 1, 2022   
$555 regular rate after May 1, 2022
Registration closes on June 9, 2022
Room and Board Cost for lodging and all meals:
Double Room:  $315 (for all meals and lodging for four days and three nights)
Single Room:   $455  (for all meals and lodging for four days and three nights)

Iona College Student Creates Digital Guild Archive 

by Christina Carlson

On Thursday, February 17, Iona College hosted its Honors Thesis Day. Among the presenters was Kate Russo, a senior double majoring in English and Religious Studies. Along with her family and friends in the audience were members of the Guild’s board, attending her presentation via Zoom. Why? Because for her thesis work, Kate has created a digital archive of Guild documents, which she debuted for the first time as part of her presentation.  

I had Kate as a freshman in my honor’s medieval humanities course. Even then, she stood out to me as serious, dedicated and mature, so when I was thinking about having a student help me with the project of organizing Guild papers, she was the first person who came to my mind. I approached her on the first day of her sophomore year, and she agreed.  

Kate began her work by scanning the various documents given to me by Guild members as part of a larger history project. But she quickly found herself absorbed by her subject matter. With her background in religious studies, she was drawn into the Guild’s mission and unique approach to spirituality, while her English major self was fascinated by the range of documents she found and the personalities that emerged from their pages. It didn’t hurt that she had experience working in a library and an interest in archival studies. Ultimately, she decided that she wanted to turn the work she was doing into her senior thesis. 

Over the last two and a half years, Kate has painstakingly scanned every document we have been given, so that there is now a digital copy of everything, from meeting minutes to rituals to curriculum. She then took the initiative to organize them, and finally, created a catalogue to facilitate navigating the collection. The result is a fully digital Guild archive which we hope to make available on the website in the near future, making papers that once lived in boxes and filing cabinets available at the touch of a button.  

Although the formal, graded portion of her work is over (she earned an A, naturally!), Kate has no intention of stopping work with the Guild archive. We hope to be able to expand the collection, so if anyone has Guild papers sitting in a basement or garage, please reach out—we would love to include them. We also hope to return to the project of interviewing Guild members about their experiences. And finally, we will turn to the writing of a Guild history, a project that simply would not be possible without the work she has done to this point.  

Although I know Kate would be quick to mention all the things she has gained through her work, it cannot be underestimated what she has given us, through her hard work, patience, and organizational skill: a living record of Guild history in a format that can be accessed by us all.  

Photo: Christina Carlson, left, Iona College faculty member and Guild board member with her student, Kate Russo, right, who created the digital archive of Guild documents. 

Pilgrimage to Assisi and the Four Strands: 

A Place to Gather, A Place for Peace 

by Br. Mark D’Alessio and Paul Kimmerling

There is something elemental and compelling about communities of people who help one another to grow into all we were created to be. This is possible when each person in that community is as committed to the flourishing of the whole, and to the flourishing of other members, as they are to their own.

Francis and Clare of Assisi welcomed people into such a countercultural, self-giving community of love.  With Divine Mystery at the center, they attempted to solve the problems of their world by loving their neighbor in the mundane activities of daily life.  They envisioned a world in which neighbor, self, and the wider cosmic creation could recreate what they understood as a dream of “beloved community” — if I am truly your friend and you are mine — if you are truly my sister or brother and I am truly yours — then, we all flourish.  

Their hometown of Assisi, Italy, has since become a place to gather in community and a place to nourish peace. The Guild’s upcoming Pilgrimage to Assisi — “In the Footsteps of Francis and Clare” — promises to be an immersion experience in one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites as well as a unique opportunity to contemplate your own spiritual path in companionship with the spirituality of our two beloved saints. 

Each day on pilgrimage, you’ll be invited into a meditative conversation between one of the Guild’s four strands and the pilgrimage sites we’ll visit that day. You can select from two distinct pilgrimage experiences, or combine the two into one (with a discount)!

  • On Pilgrimage A — Week One: May 14-20, 2023 — you will visit well-known sites deeply connected to the rich Franciscan legacy in and around Assisi – most significantly, the Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Clare, the original Little Portion Friary, and the San Damiano convent, among other wonders (including the ancient Roman Temple of Minerva, now a Catholic church dedicated to Mary). 
  • On Pilgrimage B — Week Two: May 21-27 — you will venture out into Umbria and beyond, to visit, among other sacred sites, some lesser known, the town of Greccio, where Francis originated the living nativity; La Verna, where he received the stigmata; and, Gubbio, location of Francis’ legendary (and Jungian) encounter with the wolf. 
  • On Pilgrimage C — Both Weeks: May 14-27 (with a discount!) — you enjoy a full two-week immersion experience: during Week One, you visit sacred sites within and around the medieval walls of Assisi; and continue, in Week Two, with visits to cities with important Franciscan legacies in Umbria and beyond.

The Guild’s four strands — Evolutionary Cosmology, Depth Psychology, Mystic Spirituality, and Sacred Community — and how they intersect with the Franciscan Tradition will help light our way. Each strand will provide a meaningful lens as we follow in the footsteps of Francis & Clare within and around Assisi. 

  • Evolutionary Cosmology opens our understanding of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s integrative vision of science and theology, which is deepened by other voices, including Franciscan Ilia Delio. It is essential to a contemporary understanding of Francis’ great medieval poem, the “Canticle of the Creatures,” which expresses his kinship with all of creation. During Pilgrimage A, we visit San Damiano, Clare’s convent, where Francis composed parts of this visionary poem, and the Basilica of St. Francis, which houses the famed Giotto frescoes including that of Francis ‘preaching’ to a multitude of birds. Pilgrimage B takes us to Greccio, where Francis recreated the first nativity through his active and mystical imagination. In doing so, he spontaneously weaves the past and present into the same moment, interpenetrated by the Universal Christ mystery.
  • Depth Psychology was originated by Carl Jung, whose concepts of the collective and unconscious mind, archetypes, psyche and shadow, help us explore what lies beyond our egos and connect to a larger transpersonal story. Francis embodied this when he renounced his former life and inheritance at the Bishop’s Palace, and later, when he and Clare made their vow of poverty at St. Mary of the Angels. Both of these storied sites are on our itinerary for Pilgrimage A. This same strand is explored the following week during Pilgrimage B, when we travel to Gubbio, the location of Francis’ legendary encounter with the wolf. This tale helps us examine the role of the shadow — the fear it provokes and the growth we gain from its integration.
  • Mystic Spirituality explores the ancient mystic voices of the East and West and the work of current visionaries such as Mirabai Starr, Thomas Merton, and others. During Pilgrimage A, our visit to the icon crucifix of San Damiano (now in the Basilica of St. Clare) helps us reflect on St. Francis’ visionary experience while he prayed in front of that very same crucifix. And, as the San Damiano convent envelopes us, we can more fully appreciate St. Clare’s ecstatic experience of surrender to the Divine Mystery.  We visit La Verna during Pilgrimage B, the semi-wild, wind-swept location of the most deeply mysterious and significant of Francis’ mystical experiences. It is said that, here, when Francis was deep in prayer, he received the stigmata, the marks of the crucified Christ, on his body. These were said to emanate from a mystical vision of a seraph, the highest order of angels, which held an image of the crucified Christ amid its six wings.
  • Sacred Community acknowledges the interconnections, interdependence, and intentionality within community, fostering relationship and service to one another, society, our world community, and the earth. We take inspiration from Parker Palmer, Resmaa Menakem, Thomas Berry, among others, and from you! During each Pilgrimage, A and B, you’ll share a lived experience of sacred community through the growing connections with your fellow pilgrims as we consider the life events, spirituality, and writings of Francis and Clare. During Pilgrimage A, we deepen our sense of Franciscan communal life through our visits to Clare’s community at San Damiano and Francis’ at Little Portion, pondering how those relate to the historical, medieval Assisi of their day, and to the contemporary community of Assisi. Pilgrimage B takes us to Perugia, where Francis and Clare were both isolated from their communities of origin, Francis, because he was imprisoned there; and Clare, because her family, and other nobility, fled from Assisi during an uprising.

Why Assisi?

Assisi is layered with centuries of spiritual practice, ancient and medieval landmarks, and the experiences of millions of seekers. The city sits part-way up Mt. Subasio with a commanding view of the seeming endless valley below. Franciscans consider the city their birthplace and spiritual home. Thousands of friars and sisters have lived and prayed here since the time of Francis and Clare. And, Assisi has received countless millions of pilgrims since the late 1200’s. All these elements, both seen and unseen, foster the sense that Assisi is a “thin place” where the energies of the material/physical realities and non-material/invisible realities interweave.

In the tradition of the Guild’s four strands, you will be introduced to Assisi and the countryside of Umbria as an intimate one-of-a-kind experience that honors all faith traditions. You will be invited into the stories of Francis and Clare as a pathway for touching the human and divine in us all. 

Your facilitators and co-hosts will be the Rt. Rev. Br. Mark D’Alessio, Franciscan friar, graduate of APXVII, and past Guild board member (twice!), and Paul Kimmerling, spiritual director, contemplative photographer, and resident of Assisi. You can see more of their bios on the Pilgrimage website page.

REGISTER TODAY to nurture body, mind, and spirit by living into the wise ways of Francis and Clare and their connection to the Guild’s four strands. Single and double rooms are available. Space is limited, so reserve your spot now. Come join us next year on pilgrimage to call forth what is deepest within you. Assisi – a place to gather, a place for peace.

P.S. Many pilgrims enjoy an extended stay in Italy by bookending their Assisi experience with a visit to another Italian locale. The following three destinations are all less than three hours by train from Assisi. Wonderfully walkable Rome offers a vast array of museums, archeological treasures, and dining options. You can consider Ancona, on Italy’s Adriatic coast, the capital of the Marche region known for its beaches. And, of course, there’s neighboring Tuscany, including Florence, the birthplace of the Italian renaissance. Check out the Trenitalia (Italy’s national rail system) site for fares and schedules to these locations. If you’re eager for the warm waters of Sicily or Malta, consider your options from Umbria’s own airport: Br. Mark and Paul are glad to connect with you about your travel plans:

Top left: The Porziuncola, or Little Portion, where Francis and Clare made their vows of poverty.
Top right: Giotto's fresco of St. Francis preaching to the birds, as seen in in the Basilica of St Francis.
Bottom left: Taking part in sacred community as a fellowship of pilgrims.
Bottom right: Assisi and vicinity.
Learn More and Register

2022  Sacred Travel Pilgrimage 


The Iona pilgrimage scheduled for the summer of 2022 is so popular, it is now fully booked!

Join the Virtual Coffee Cafe Tuesdays at 10 am 

Guild graduates, if you love the idea of connecting with friends from your Apprenticeship Program and other Guild graduates, join the Coffee Café every Tuesday morning at 10 am. There are people who would love to see you and reconnect.

There is no cost to attend the Coffee Café.
Join us via Zoom

Silent Meditation Thursdays at 6:30 am

Every Thursday morning at 6:30, Guild members gather for time together in quiet. There is no program as such. Log on as close to 6:30 as you can, settle in, breathe, and sit together with our Guild family, holding the world, the Guild, our lives in holy space. The meeting closes around 7:00 with a reading. You are welcome any Thursday morning.

For more information and the zoom link please email Holly Moore at:

There is no cost for these meetings.

 Upcoming Programs at Wisdom House

Wisdom House is an interfaith retreat and conference center presenting programs in spirituality, wellness, the arts, and ecology, while offering hospitality to academic, civic, nonprofit, and business organizations. Wisdom House hosts in-person weekends for the Guild Apprenticeship Program and Graduate Guild Retreats.

Check out these upcoming programs at Wisdom House.
  • People of Light in Times of Darkness, April 30
  • Wild & Precious: Poetry of Mary Oliver with Guild member Br. Mark D'Alessio, May 7
  • Day of Mindfulness, May 7
  • World Labyrinth Day, May 7
  • Vision Walk: What is the Earth Community Asking of Us, May 13
  • My Letter to the World: Poetry of Emily Dickinson, May 14
  • Presence, Prayer, & Writing from the Heart, May 15
  • Day of Prayer with the Three Amigos, May 25
  • Retreat for Women, June 3
  • The Mystic Meets the Prophet, June 3
Wisdom House Program Information

Upcoming Courses at Deep Time Network 

The Deep Time Network is dedicated to orienting humankind to the great story of evolution as our primary context, and learning from it so we can make the best choices possible. 
  • Emergent Dialogue, June through August
Deep Time Network Course Information

Upcoming Event at Friends of Silence 

Nan Merrill, one of the founders of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, founded Friends of Silence in 1987 as an urban contemplative community welcoming individuals of all faiths and cultures.
We Return: Restorying the Heroine’s Journey at Rolling Ridge, June 3-5, 2022
We Return Info

Writers and Artists Wanted

Would you like to write a reflective piece for the newsletter? Would you like to share your poetry, artwork, or remembrances of what made the Guild such a special experience for you? Would you like to write a profile of a Guild member for the newsletter? If so, please contact Lou Anne Bulik. 
You’re receiving this because you’re a member of the Guild or a Guild member has recommended you because of shared interests. We hope you enjoy hearing from us, but if you would prefer not to receive this, then feel free to unsubscribe at any time.   Shalom. Salaam. Peace.
April 2022
Copyright 2021, Guild for Spiritual Guidance, All rights reserved.
Header Photo Credit, John Keith

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp