A native of Ohio and descendant of Italian immigrants, Susanna, as a young adult, was inspired and challenged by teachings of Vatican II to respond to the Gospel as a Catholic lay woman through a strong “call” to the nursing profession. She earned a BS in Nursing at University of Cincinnati and, 30 years later, a MS in Community Health at Mankato State. A Public Health Nurse for 4+ decades, she has served diverse groups of people in hospitals, clinics, schools, and the faith community in Ohio, Tanzania and Minnesota. Susanna’s approach to nursing is holistic care of the mind, body and spirit in all ages and stages of life. With years of listening to sacred life stories from others through her professional and volunteer encounters, she appreciates the healing presence of the Divine in them, and in herself.
Responding in 2013 to an emerging call to further explore her interest in spirituality and health, Susanna completed studies for the Spiritual Direction Certificate in December, 2016 at St. Catherine University where she is currently MA Theology Candidate, anticipating December, 2017 graduation.
Susanna has been married for 46 years to a Danish Lutheran Architect who also sees his life’s “call” to respond to the Gospel through his profession. The multifaceted threads of ecumenism and cross-cultural experiences are woven into their everyday lives. Together they have raised 3 accomplished children and enjoy grandparenting 5 granddaughters with a 6th on the way. Needlework, cooking, gardening, nature walking, music and art connect her to creativity and the earth.
Following their mother’s sudden death in 2002, until his sudden death in 2012, Susanna’s brother, living with Schizophrenia, joined the family. His presence in her life was both blessing and invitation to further respond to the needs of those living with homelessness, poverty, disability, mental illness and marginalization on an everyday basis. She volunteers with NAMI-MN, facilitating Family to Family classes. Currently she offers spiritual mentoring at Resource West through City House, and with groups of Lutheran Volunteer Corps employed in justice work.
To balance the care-giving in her life, Susanna leans heavily on faith and a wide variety of spiritual practices. Francis of Assisi, in “living life simply,” models when “enough is enough.” Ignatian spirituality grounds her in prayerful ways through which to daily connect with the “golden thread” of the Divine. For Susanna, the practice of Spiritual Direction has provided a safe, sacred space to explore issues of work and relationship, discover grace, understand God given gifts and discern ways in which to use them for self and others. It is a life path to deepening meaning, recovery, healing, growth, peace. Susanna recalls Parker Palmer’s words: “If you receive a gift, you keep it alive not by clinging to it but by passing it along.”
Susanna invites you to join her in 1:1 or group Spiritual Direction. Press “pause” in your life. Put the smart phone on “mute.” Then come, share your uniquely sacred stories. Ponder, open to, and value the mystery of your life. Discover your grace-filled “gifts.” Susanna will listen and respond.