A native of St. Paul, Barbara Leonard received a nursing degree from Gustavus Adolphus College before receiving her MS and PhD from the University of Minnesota in Public Health and Health Services Administration. A professor of nursing at the U of M until 2010, Barbara was also integral in founding the University’s Center for Spirituality and Healing. Married with two grown children, Barbara lives on a small farm in Marine on St. Croix, MN.
Since joining Loyola in 2006, Barbara has served as a spiritual and retreat director. Her work at Loyola allows her to draw on her considerable experience in health and healing with a decidedly spiritual orientation.
A spiritual director since the early 1990s, Barbara received a certificate in spiritual direction through the Wayzata Cenacle. Additionally, she completed the program in spiritual direction at the Center for Religious Development at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, MA. The Center for Religious Development was one of the first training centers for spiritual direction and was internationally regarded as an exemplary program.
Although superbly trained in Ignatian spirituality, Barbara is also Province Chaplain for the Society of St. Francis Third Order, an organization in the Worldwide Anglican Communion. A life-professed Franciscan since 1990, she seeks to live simply and with careful regard for creation. She is an active member of the Episcopal Church.
Barbara has supervised spiritual directors through the Sacred Ground Program and has taught courses in holistic spirituality in the Spiritual Direction Certificate Program at the University of St. Catherine. Barbara also has extensive experience with 12 step programs and is available for 5th step sessions.
Approach to Spiritual Direction
“I’ve been involved all my life with people, healing and well-being. My experience with myself and with others in spiritual direction is that it’s a continuing invitation to see our lives the way God sees them—gentle nudges to change our perspective on how we live, gradually allowing God to help us grow in faithful love and service. My approach is based in the spirituality of Ignatius Loyola, an approach to living and praying that helps us keep our eyes open, waiting and watching for God to surprise and enliven us. My grace is not just understanding this theoretically, but actually seeing how God is personally revealed in real lives.”