The Franciscan Center Presenters
Sister Cathy Cahill, OSF, a Franciscan Sister of Allegany, has been leading retreats at the Franciscan Center since 1985, for persons in 12 Step programs. In addition to her retreat work at the center, Sister Cathy travels widely as guest presenter at retreat houses across the U.S. Her background in education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in education from St. Bonaventure University, and a master’s degree in education from Rhode Island College. She trained as a substance abuse counselor at Lutheran General Hospital in Chicago.
Daniel Francis is the Founder of DMF Coaching which contracts support to individuals for one-on-one life coaching and offers speaking opportunities to groups. A former Catholic priest, Mr. Francis has been a motivational speaker for the past 24 years, he has given presentations in over 250 cities in 12 countries and on 4 continents. He has served on the board of advisors for Real Estate Lives, on the advisory council for Keiser University’s Psychology Board as well as the board of directors for WMNF Radio. He and his wife live in Tampa and enjoy gardening, exercise and (in non-pandemic times) trying out new local establishments.
Maureen Connors, Ph.D., serves as a spiritual companion, retreat leader and meeting facilitator. She is facing the challenge of last third of life issues and trying to do it with grace, resilience and courage! She is recently widowed.
Reverend Bill Cooley, D.Min, MSW, an honorably retired Presbyterian pastor, is living into his last third of life. A spiritual companion in his retirement community in south St. Petersburg and in Tampa Bay, he also leads retreats on deepening spirituality for pastors and older adults.
Bettina Schuller is a native of Germany and has lived in the United States since 1989. She attended the University of Bremen/Germany and earned a master’s degree in education. Her teaching career evolved into becoming a teacher for centering prayer, a spiritual director and a retreat leader.
Bettina studied spirituality at both, the School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee and the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge. She loves leading contemplative retreats and quiet days and has done so in the US and Canada. Bringing deep quiet and peace to a noisy world and helping people to listen to God is the main focus of her work and brings her deep joy and peace.
Bettina is the author of the book, “This is Living! Practicing the Presence of God. A Prayer and Meditation Guide for Daily Life.”
Rebecca (Becca) Bass, M.A. Becca’s ministries include spiritual direction, retreats, bereavement support and chaplaincy. Her experience is rooted in both Catholic and Protestant traditions, providing a breadth of understanding. She holds a Masters degree in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University and a certificate in Spiritual Direction and Directed Retreats from the Wellstreams Ecumenical Training Program. Becca is now affiliated with the Audire Spiritual Direction Training program in Orlando and is a member of Spiritual Directors International and the Federation of Christian Ministries.
Rickey Cotton, Ed.D., is a spiritual director and presenter of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina and on faculty for the Living Flame program of Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. As a leader of workshops and retreats, he presents around the country on such topics as John of the Cross, The Desert Mothers and Fathers, Divine Therapy, and Meister Eckhart. Now Professor Emeritus, Rickey served for over 30 years at Southeastern University in central Florida as teacher, administrator and mentor.
Michelle Mehan, MAPT, ACC has been trained and certified as a Boundless Compassion facilitator. Michelle received her Master of Arts in Practical Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary. Michelle currently works as a Palliative Care Chaplain with BayCare Health Systems. Michelle believes compassion is necessary for life today. She tries to impart compassion to whomever she meets. Michelle is an Ordained Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Michelle has led retreats and spirituality groups for many years and finds it life giving. Michelle enjoys spending time with her family and dogs, and she loves to sew and enjoys the beach.
Miriam Zimms is a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) and Level I and Level II Intermodal Expressive Arts Practitioner for nine years. She has taught classes in person, online, community events, or corporate wellness events. These two meditative arts practices are a way for continued self-discovery and play using the visual arts, instrumental music and free writing. Her personal artwork has been featured in galleries across Florida and includes ink and mixed media using patterns for communicating the therapeutic effect art has had in her life. She advocates for the power of the healing arts as a part of an integrative wellness mind, body, and spirit practice.
Judy Kahler-Jalbert, MTh, COSB, is an accomplished retreat leader, a retired hospice chaplain, a certified spiritual director, and a certified facilitator for SoulCollage®.
Dr. Qinghong Wei is an interdisciplinary artist and educator. She studies and shares the Art of Flow – daily art practices for living in truth, beauty, and love. With a doctoral degree studying how arts impact people, Dr. Wei has studied and collaborated with many world-class artists and scientists, and hosted art programs in diverse communities and organizations throughout the U.S., from metropolitan areas such as Boston, Seattle and L.A. to rural communities of the Appalachia. From MIT faculty to migrant workers in Beijing, she has worked closely with thousands of participants of diverse background. Her Art of Flow course at USF Osher Lifelong Learning Instituted is among the most attended and highest rated classes. She is co-author of Open Circle: Story Arts and Reinvention of Community, the playwright and co-artistic director of Songs of Tang Hulu premiered in Beijing, China in 2016 and 2017. To learn more about Dr. Wei: https://www.starrydreamsart.com/
Farah Khorsandian-Sánchez is an Adjunct Professor in the College of Education at the University of South Florida (USF), Tampa, Florida. As a teacher-trainer, she works with undergraduate and graduate college students completing their final internship semester at the middle or high school levels, in the areas of Foreign Languages, Social Sciences and Language Arts Education. She is a longstanding global diversity consultant with extensive experience in cross-cultural training, diversity and inclusions issues, training for global understanding, interfaith education, teaching pedagogy, linguistics, foreign language acquisition and the teaching of English as a second and foreign language. She provides training in the areas of: Global Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) in the Workplace, Indian Cross-Cultural Understanding, Religious D&I in the Workplace, Generational Dynamics, Global Communication Styles. Read more about Farah
Sister Nancy Christopher, OSF is a Franciscan Sister of Allegany who has been involved in the Ministry of Education, Parish Ministry, Hospital Chaplaincy and presently the Ministry of Spiritual Direction. Sister Nancy has had advanced training in Bereavement Counseling, Clinical Pastoral Education and Spiritual Direction using the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.
Reverend Emmet Murphy, OFM was ordained to the priesthood in 1986. Fr. Emmet resides at St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., after having spent almost four years in a large, very active Franciscan parish in Raleigh, N.C. Fr. Emmet served as one of the North Carolina State prison chaplains, ministering to death row and general population inmates. Fr. Emmet’s current priestly ministry has been in the Ministry of the Word, that is, preaching parish missions and leading Twelve Step retreats. “With 45 years of sobriety and taking it one day at a time, AA saved my life and I am eternally grateful to the God of my understanding for this precious gift”.
Tim Flood is the only Enneagram teacher in Tampa Bay to be certified by Helen Palmer and David Daniels and has facilitated groups like this one continuously for over 15 years. Professionally, Tim uses Enneagram, MBTI and EQi in his facilitation and coaching work with inter-organizational teams focused on environmental restorations, which have received national awards for their high performance. Tim’s Enneagram groups and workshops have been offered at the Franciscan Center starting in 2005, but his love for the place started in the 1980’s when hosting the Dignity mass was a Center cornerstone.
Nancy Mercurio is an ordained interfaith minister, author, speaker, executive coach who has spent two decades teaching leaders and employees around the globe how to work together effectively to achieve common purpose and successful outcomes. She is also co-founder of Together In Peace Inc., a mission focused on educating the world on peace, tolerance and acceptance since 2013.
Bob Griffiths, retired in 2020 after serving 10 years as the Chaplain for the Pines of Sarasota, a non-denominational, 204-bed senior care facility. Prior to that, he was a chaplain with his local hospice organization. Bob is past Spiritual Life Coordinator at Saint Boniface Episcopal Church, Sarasota, organizing and leading retreats, adult education programs, and spiritual companioning. He also arranged for pastoral visits of monks from the Order of the Holy Cross, an Episcopal Benedictine religious order of which Bob is a vowed Associate.
Bob’s programs and retreats have been given at Holy Cross Monastery, the Franciscan Center (Tampa), and churches and organizations in eastern PA, western NJ and – since moving to Sarasota in 2003 – in southwest Florida. He is a member of the Abrahamic Reunion, where he participates on interfaith dialogue panels; the Authors Guild; the Episcopal Actors Guild of America; and is a past member of the National Speakers Association.
Sean Fitzsimmons involvement in music ministry in the Catholic Church predates the Second Vatican Council. Recently retired from over 50 years of different pastoral ministries; his main focus and concern has been the effect that church music has on the lives of people. Theological and liturgical studies of the church and several religious communities, working with children and the elderly; guiding music for Mass, funerals, weddings, retreats and other events have helped him to promote what is meaningful for people. He is well known for his usage of music to create experiences of spiritual connection to love, joy, eternity and humor.
Christina Bellamy M.A.: Christina has been a presenter with the Franciscan Center for over 30 years, offering multiple workshops there on “Spirituality & Nature”, “Addictions & Families”, and even “Resilience” with her sister last spring! Christina and Sister Cathy Cahill co-facilitated a series of workshops on “Spirituality & Recovery” in 2019. Christina has been an activist for social justice with many different organizations all her adult life. Currently, she is involved with Action Training for Social Change, the Clearwater Unitarian Racial Justice group, Alternatives to Violence Project Tampa Bay, and Living Mirror Playback Theater.
Uneeda Brewer: Uneeda has offered workshops on spirituality, self-care for social justice activists, inclusive leadership, personal growth, and diversity and inclusion for a number of organizations. Most recently Uneeda presented with the Marlene Myerson Jewish Community Center (NYC), and a two part series with Dr. Stephen Redmon, honoring the legacy of MLK: “Where do we go from here: Chaos or Community?”. A few years ago, Uneeda developed a program for New College of Florida faculty and staff on creating an “Inclusive Campus Climate”. Uneeda has been an activist for social and racial justice her whole life.