Spiritual Director Bios

Below you will find a directory of spiritual directors in mid-Michigan who are members of the Spiritual Directors Network.

April Allison

April AllisonApril Allison, MA, MPH, offers spiritual direction for individuals and groups through Heron Rising. Being contemplative by nature and justice seeking by conviction, her passion is to assist individuals and communities as they grow in right relationship within themselves, with one another, and with the world around them. She is a graduate of the Internship in Spiritual Direction at St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt, Michigan, and and is trained in mediation through the Dispute Resolution Center of Washtenaw County.

April serves as president of the Spiritual Direction Network of Mid-Michigan. For 12 years she was on the staff of The Leaven Center, a retreat and study center in Michigan that sought to nurture the relationship between spirituality and social justice. She is a Quaker (Religious Society of Friends), and has traveled in the ministry through the Friends General Conference, leads contemplative retreats through the School of the Spirit (SotS), and is a member of the SotS board. She can be reached at aprilallison (at) heronrising.com.

Erma Chastine

chastine-eSeeking to be your companion on your pilgrim journey called “life.”

  • M.A. in Social Work, B.S. in Counseling from Michigan State University
  • Worked professionally for thirty plus years
  • Received Certification for Spiritual Direction from the Dominican Center of Religious Studies at St Francis Retreat Center, Dewitt, Michigan
  • Single mother of three sons, eleven grandchildren, and five great grandchildren

My work has been involved with military families, developed international sister cities, worked with the homeless, hospice care, families affected by natural disasters, and developed programs for the marginalized. Currently a member of St. Gerard Catholic Parish of Lansing, Michigan, and involved in many parish activities.

After thirty years of working with people from all walks of life, spiritual direction became a natural progression for continuing to serve others. I can be reached at 517-327-6355 or erma455@gmail.com.

Helen Johnson

Helen JohnsonA life-time of serving others has offered Helen amazing opportunities of becoming more attuned to God’s presence in all aspects of life. Drawing on experiences of  service through churches, schools, organizations, and on church staff as a director of spiritual growth, Helen recognized a life-long practice of accompanying others on life’s spiritual journeys. She received her formal training as a spiritual director through the Internship for Spiritual Direction offered by the Dominican Center for Religious Development at St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt, Michigan.

Helen understands spiritual direction as a privileged relationship of accompanying another as she/he seeks deeper knowledge of self and of that mystery which is More, whom many call God. Through active listening, questions, and reflections about what the directee is encountering in daily living, this companionship enables the seeker/directee to explore her/his own experiences and their meanings. This exploration encourages growth into a deeper relationship with God and how to live out this relationship in the world. While not counseling nor therapy, spiritual direction is life-changing, promoting healthy connections with self, others and with the Holy One.

Combining her role as a spiritual director and her deep love of Nature with an understanding of the restorative powers of time spent in Nature, Helen is also Director of Pilgrim Pathways.

As a year-round spiritual day retreat center, available to individuals or small groups for half-days or a whole day of retreat, Pilgrim Pathways offers a place of quiet, of respite, and of renewal. Gentle pathways, woods, meadows, small labyrinth, comfortable gathering spaces and many places for solitude all offer space to step away from the busyness within daily living to promote good self-care and restoration. Located near Perry, Michigan, Pilgrim Pathways is easily accessible from the greater Lansing area.

For more information about spiritual direction or the retreat center, please contact Helen at pilgrimpathways@outlook.com or 517-290-5161.

Sharon Mick McAuley

Sharon Mick McAuleyMinister of Spiritual Formation and Art
As a spiritual director, Sharon is committed to honoring each person through attentive listening. She enjoys encouraging prayerful expression through the arts while supporting each person in deepening their relationship with God through:

  • meaningful spiritual practices.
  • involvement in a faith community.
  • maintaining a vital connection with the natural world

Ministry Training and Experience

Sharon earned a master’s degree in counseling, is ordained in the American Baptist denomination and completed the Advanced Program in Spiritual Direction at St. Francis Retreat Center. She served as a co-associate pastor for ten years, spiritual care coordinator with Genesys Hospice for three years, campus minister for American Baptists at Michigan State University for six years, and grief counselor at Ele’s Place for nine years. Five years ago, she established Riverain Song Studio, an art/spirit ministry of spiritual formation groups.

Involvement in The Arts

Sharon is an artist who enjoys watercolor, pencil and pen sketching and mixed media. Music has been an important part of her life since she was a child. Encouraging others to discover and exercise their own artistic gifts is given a high priority in Sharon’s ministries.

Home and Family

Cherishing her family roots in Benzie County, Michigan, Sharon considers the Lake Michigan shoreline her place of homecoming and sacred renewal. Her life has always revolved around being part of a family–biological family, spiritual family, earth family, universe family–relationships that are life-giving and life-sustaining. A sense of belonging under girds the deep peace solitude can bring. Time with others and time alone, kept in rhythm, nourish the whole person.

Sharon can be reached at smmcauley@yahoo.com; facebook.com/riverainsong; 517-881-4351.

Mary Mitchell

Mary MitchellAs a spiritual guide, Mary Mitchell values meeting seekers where they are spiritually and companioning them as they find God in their everyday lives by exploring:

  • the ways God might be speaking to them
  • spiritual practices that help with becoming more available to God
  • how to shape their lives with God as the Center.

Mary’s own personal enthusiasm for artistic expression, gardening, walks along Lake Michigan, and keeping meaningful sacred traditions within communities of faith have all contributed to her understanding of communion with God. She willingly walks with those who are experiencing life’s most important events and passages, encouraging and supporting those who are getting to know their true selves, loved by God.

A graduate of the Internship for Spiritual Direction offered by the Dominican Center for Religious Development at St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt, Michigan, Mary has experienced learning and mentoring as a way of life.

Mary can be reached at mjjm321@gmail.com.

Lori Tate

Lori TateHi my name is Lori Tate.

  • I am in love with my Father, His Son and Spirit.
  • I am a life-long learner.
  • I am continually awed by God and Her creation.
  • I love to play in the dirt! I am a mother, gardener, cook and wife.

I have provided over 1,200 hours of spiritual direction throughout the last ten years. I meet with individuals for spiritual direction in person, as well as remotely. I have office spaces in Marshall, Jackson First Presbyterian Church and my home. I host one-day retreats at my home which has a labyrinth, art studio and 7 miles of groomed hiking trails. I also provide Enneagram training, group direction and quarterly spiritual formation retreats called “Transformational Retreats.”

My training was completed through the Dominican Center of Marywood, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Sister Nancy Brousseau is the developer of the program (2009). Through a cooperative program with the Graduate Theological Foundation and the Dominican Center, I was able to earn my doctorate of ministry degree. (2010)

Over the last five years I have studied the Enneagram extensively. I am certified through Dr. Jerome Wagner in the Enneagram Spectrum of Personality Styles. Through Rev. Clare Loughrige I am certified to teach Motions of the Soul, which integrates the Enneagram with St. Ignatius’ discernment process. I have also studied with Enneagram gurus Dr. Beatrice Chestnut, Tom Condon, Russ Hudson and Mario Sikora.

I am a professional member of the IEA (International Enneagram Association) and am seeking my accredited level status.

Soul Dig logoI am a member of SDI – Spiritual Directors International, as well as the Jackson Area SpiritSpiritual Directors Association. For community, personal growth and accountability, I meet monthly with my personal spiritual director and a group of spiritual directors for peer supervision.

419.345.0592 | ltate0629@yahoo.com

http://souldig.org/wordpress/ | Skype: loritate.6

Denise Waytes

Denise Waytes“Growth in a relationship requires that I pay attention to the other person. It also requires that I pay attention to what happens inside me when I am in the presence of the other and that I share my reactions with him. What does contemplation of the Lord do to me? I am only free to respond or not respond to him when I am aware of the reactions I experience when I begin to pay attention to him. Noticing these reactions is fundamental to growth in the spiritual life, and helping a person notice and communicate them is one of the most fundamental tasks of spiritual direction.”

~The Practice of Spiritual Direction by William A. Barry and William J. Connolly~

Denise has been trained in the art of spiritual direction through the Dominican Center of Religious Studies. She has an MA in education from the University of Michigan and an MPS from Loyola University – New Orleans. She has served as the RCIA director, campus minister, and liturgist for St. John Student Center, East Lansing, which serves the student population at Michigan State University. She is currently pastoral associate in charge of worship and outreach at St. Thomas Aquinas/St. John Student Center. Denise feels privileged to walk with any and all who seek to understand their experiences with God.

Denise can be reached at waytesd1@comcast.net.

Paula Young

Paula YoungPaula Young has Advance Certification in Spiritual Direction from St. Francis Retreat Center in Dewitt, Michigan. She is currently working as the Social Ministry Coordinator at St. Casimir Catholic Church in Lansing.

Paula has a B.S. in Human Ecology Education, a M.S. in Families Studies, and additional course work in Religious Studies. She is the mother of three children, and is grandmother to three grandsons.

You may contact her at 517-281-6349 or PaulaJYoung@comcast.net.

Pat Zandstra

Pat ZandstraPat Zandstra grew up on a large fruit farm in Novi, Michigan. She served as an agricultural missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators in the eastern jungles of Ecuador after her graduation from Michigan State University in 1973. On returning to the United States, she began to work in campus ministry with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Michigan State University.

In 1974 Pat joined the faculty of the MSU Horticulture department to work with undergraduate students. After 25 years in that position she joined the staff of River Terrace Christian Reformed Church in East Lansing, where she was ordained as a ministry associate and served as the director of Spiritual Growth and Development for 10 years.

Pat earned her master’s degree in counseling at MSU in 1978 and her certification in spiritual direction through the Dominican Center of Religious Studies in DeWitt, Michigan, in 1997. In 2006 she took a position at Calvin Theological Seminary as their Formation for Ministry Specialist where she helped design a spiritual formation program for their M.Div. and M.A. She currently serves as a spiritual director to pastors, priests, professors, para-church staff members and she facilitates spiritual retreats.

Pat has been married for 38 years and has three children and three grandchildren. She loves to read and travel. She can be contacted at patzandstra@gmail.com.