Melissa received her Certificate in Spiritual Direction from the Franciscan Spirituality Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Before her formal training in redemptive listening, Melissa was formed by the sacred stories of her high school English students and spoken word poets. She comes to Loyola after working alongside the Visitation Sisters of Minneapolis — supporting vocation discernment and the universal call to “be who we are and be that well.” As a Companion to the Visitation Sisters, she is grounded in Salesian Spirituality and seeks to live the gospel story of Mary and Elizabeth — encountering Christ-bearers and prophetic people in the circumstances of daily life and especially formal listening settings.
Melissa’s journey as a Spiritual Director emerged from her practice of group spiritual direction utilizing Quaker listening practices with a 16th century protocol called “Sharing the Heart.” From her days as an educator and arts literacy coach, Melissa has focused on the practice of making spaces feel safe and free of judgment so that the sacred and divine inner wisdom, we all possess, may be heard. Her experience of group direction and constructing safe spaces is also informed by her own 12-step recovery journey.
She is passionate about issues that hinder our sense of wholeness and holiness before God. As a wife and mother in a mixed-race family, she brings an awareness of her identity as a white woman working in the former cloister cell of a black Catholic nun. The history of the Loyola Spirituality center as a former monastery for the Oblate Sisters of Providence serving the Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul, inspires a greater awareness of racial justice and reconciliation work Melissa feels called to address as a director. She’s hungry to make space for spiritual conversations that help us examine historic divisions and seek reconciliation by naming the hard spiritual truths of institutional and systemic racism.
“I draw continuously on the fruits of contemplative prayer practice and Ignatian Imagination exercises. In the midst of our bustle and fast-paced living, space for quiet encounter with God sheds light on our common path and infuses me with an overwhelming sense of hope for our world. I welcome the Spirit and grace in welcoming you.”