53 Mill Street, Westfield, MA 01085 • 413.562.3627

Spiritual Accompaniment

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Do you wish to deepen your spiritual journey? Would you like to integrate your spiritual insights into your life choices? Meeting regularly with a professionally trained Spiritual Director enables you to expand your spiritual life and journey with God. The simple sharing of your life experiences is a rich source of meaning and understanding of how God is ever-present and active in your daily life and how you may be called to greater fullness of life. Genesis has a staff of professionally trained Spiritual Directors with areas of experience and expertise including aging, creative expression and poetry, body image and food issues, Contemplative Practices, grief and loss, the mystics, Ignatian Spirituality, BioSpiritual Focusing, EcoSpirituality, and 12 Step Spirituality.

What is Spiritual Direction/Accompaniment?

Spiritual Direction/Accompaniment focuses on the Divine Presence in daily life and seeks to enable a person to respond to the movements of that Presence in ever deeper and broader ways by intentionally meeting with a spiritual director/a companion on a regular basis to share about what is happening in their relationship with self, God, others and creation.

The gifts for you could be:

  • Experiencing the unconditional love and mercy of God
  • Growing in personal identity by trusting the deep needs of your heart
  • Learning to grow in your spirituality
  • Becoming more aware of the Divine Presence in all of life experiences
  • Listening and watching, in a contemplative mode, for the movements of the Spirit and the counter movements of resistance in the deepening relationship
  • Deeper and more meaningful discernment in making choices
  • Healing wounds experienced in life’s journey

If you are interested in tending to your spirit in an on-going way and deepening your relationship with self, God, others and creation, this may be for you. A session is one hour every 4-6 weeks. Donations have averaged 45-65 dollars per session. Please do not let finances prevent you from this service.

To learn more about whether Spiritual Direction is right for you, email Donna or call 413-562-3627. 

If you're interested in Spiritual Direction/Accompaniment: Download our Spiritual Direction Questionnaire.

 

JoAnn Bourquard - Spiritual Director

JoAnn Bourquard - Spiritual Director Jo-Ann-Bourquard.jpg

 Why seek a spiritual director?

Do you long to deepen your spirituality but don't know how? Do you wish for the support and companionship for living in a complex world? Do you long for more than the sound bites and superficial conversations? Do you want someone to listen deeply? Do you want to live more fully? Are you at a crossroads in your life? Come as you are and discover the wisdom that is already within.

JoAnn is a trained, experienced spiritual director who has been journeying with people of all ages, faith traditions and life situations for many years. She has a Bachelor’s in Education from Westfield State University, a Master’s from Hartford Seminary, and Formation in Spiritual Direction and Supervision from the Spiritual Life Center in West Hartford, CT.  She has given retreats and workshops and assists in the supervision of those training to become spiritual directors. JoAnn's life has been transformed and enriched by walking with her own spiritual director.  She is deeply committed to spiritual growth as a way to change the world.

Jane Comerford, CSJ - Spiritual Director

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"Many years ago I read the book The Listener by Taylor Caldwell.  In this novel anguished souls are drawn to a sanctuary inscribed with the words, 'The Man Who Listens'. All those who come to unburden their cares in his presence find peace, joy, hope and happiness from the unknown one who sits and listens." 

Little did Sr. Jane know at the time that she would become an “official listener” by becoming a spiritual director. Spiritual directors accompany others on their life’s journey, supporting them as they seek a deeper relationship with the God of their understanding and with themselves. For Sr. Jane, the heart of being a spiritual director is being a listener to the one who comes to share their story. You sit together in the Divine Presence. By becoming aware of the movement of the Divine Presence in your life, you can experience peace, joy, hope and happiness. 

She is a seasoned spiritual director (35 years!) and has accompanied people from many faith traditions and those who have none. She has worked with 12 step people, mid-life people, LBGT people, people in transition due to retirement, aging, divorce, death of a loved one etc. Sr. Jane completed a Master’s degree in Christian Spirituality, a certificate program in expressive arts therapy and has specialized training in mid-life issues. According to Sr. Jane, the part of her ministry that has given her the most joy is in being a spiritual director and witnessing how God moves in mysterious ways in the lives of people.

Pat Fettinger - Spiritual Director

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Pat believes that spiritual accompaniment is about creating a welcoming space where people can listen with care to their own story and the wisdom deep within and grow in an awareness and the movement of God in their life. 

She has a Master’s degree in Spirituality from the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality a Master’s degree in Education.  She received training in hospice care from Cabrini Hospital in New York and provides pastoral care to elders in a nursing home.  She completed a two year internship program in Spiritual Direction from the Spiritual Life Center in West Hartford, CT.

Pat has experience working with people of many religious traditions and backgrounds and in different life transitions. She feels blessed to listen deeply and witness another’s story as they journey on their spiritual path.

Donna O'Connor - Spiritual Director

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Donna O’Connor completed the Spiritual Direction Internship Program in Bloomfield, CT in 2006.  She has focused her 1:1 work entirely at Genesis since that time. Having taught fitness/yoga classes for over thirty years now, Donna has a keen interest in helping people who struggle with weight, body image and disordered eating.  As a BioSpiritual Focusing Facilitator, she often introduces the tool of BioSpiritual Focusing in her sessions should a directee be interested in this process.  “Spiritual Direction is a sure way to access the power of the Great Unseen Wisdom, which resides deeply within each of us and awaits our desire to grow and journey forward into a more intimate relationship with God, our Source”.

Elizabeth Oleksak, SP - Spiritual Director

Elizabeth Oleksak, SP - Spiritual Director Oleksak.jpg

Sr. Elizabeth Oleksak, SP, foundress of Genesis, is an experienced retreat and spiritual director and BioSpiritual Focusing facilitator. Sr. Elizabeth has a background in pastoral counseling.  She studied Centering Prayer with the Trappist Monks in the 1970's. She is also an eco-spirituality resource person.

From its beginning the earth is a spiritual as well as a physical reality.
-Thomas Berry