Presenters

Lorraine Ash works as a book editor and author coach, specializing in all forms of autobiographical writing. She has penned two memoirs, Life Touches Life: A Mother’s Story of Stillbirth and Healing and Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life. Most recently, she edited the award-winning Corona City: Voices from an Epicenter, an anthology of first-person writings that chronicles life in New Jersey and New York when they were the nation’s COVID-19 epicenter. Her shorter works, including essays, articles, and short stories, have appeared in various anthologies, literary journals, and newspapers, including USA Today. Lorraine studied at Fordham University and California State University, Long Beach.

Don Bisson, FMS, is a Marist Brother, known both nationally and internationally for his work as a retreat director and presenter in the area of spirituality and Jungian psychology. He has a Doctor of Ministry Degree from the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA.

Fernando Camacho, MD is an ordained lay Buddhist priest of the Dharma Teacher Order, a Western group of Vietnamese Zen lineage committed to developing ecumenical bridges and relationships across all religious traditions. Fernando is also a practicing medical oncologist in the Bronx and is the Director of the Community Oncology Program of the Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care.

Pat Connick, OP is a Dominican Sister of Peace, a theologian at heart and a scientist by degree. She is currently writing a practical guide for those who are seeking God by “reading” the Book of Creation. Called Trinity and Community: A Guide for Everyday Mysticism, it includes questions of pondering and various types of meditation to open oneself to the presence of our Trinitarian (communal) God.

Gaynell Cronin is a spiritual director, facilitator of group spiritual direction, and leader of contemplative prayer, retreats, and parish missions. Doorways to Holiness, with co-author Jack Rathschmidt, is her most recent book.

Maeve Eng-Wong, LCSW, RYT is an ordained lay Buddhist priest in the Dharma Teacher Order. Maeve is a psychotherapist in private practice in Garrison and Cold Spring, NY.

Francis Gargani, CSsR is a Redemptorist priest, and experienced spiritual director, retreat leader, and workshop leader. He has served in a variety of ministries in parishes, at college campuses, and retreat centers. Presently, Fr. Francis ministers in the area of peace and justice.

Christine Glover is a certified E-RYT 500 Level yoga teacher registered with the Yoga Alliance. She is a former professional modern dancer and circus performer. She has trained and studied various yoga traditions and has an extensive experience in physical exploration. She has taught public and private yoga classes in studios, corporate environments, workshops, and retreats since 1992.

Connie Koch, OP is a Dominican Sister of Hope.  She is a preacher/storyteller, spiritual director and has led retreats, parish missions, adult faith formation and youth groups. She is Promoter of Preaching for the Dominican Sisters of Hope and Chaplain for the Westchester County Department of Public Safety.

Maureen McMahon, RDC is a Sister of the Divine Compassion. Maureen’s background includes teaching, administration, and parish work. For over 40 years she has been an experienced spiritual director, retreat leader and presenter. Included in this ministry she has participated in training both religious and lay people to be spiritual directors. 

Fr. Peter Pearson has been painting icons for over fifty years. He is the author of three books about Icon Painting and holds a Doctor of Theology degree in this specific area. Peter has been teaching for thirty years and has painted icons for churches, monasteries, and private individuals around the world. His organized approach and extensive knowledge of this sacred art is the unique gift he brings to his teaching.

Jack Rathschmidt, OFM, Cap., holds a Master of Theology in Spirituality from the Weston College School of Theology and a PhD from Fordham University in Historical Theology. He is the Director of Post Novitiate Formation for the Capuchin Franciscan Friars of New York/ New England. Writer, teacher, and spiritual director, he is vitally interested in empowering lay people in the church.

Karen Rippstein began her career at New York Medical College before becoming a Certified Poetry Therapist, poet, and creative writing teacher.  She has taught writing, poetry, and visual journaling workshops at colleges, spirituality centers, libraries, senior centers, and inter-generational programs at area schools.  Karen’s work has been published in numerous anthologies and magazines.

Holly Rockwell is an Ignatian prayer guide, spiritual director and retreat leader at Estuary Soul Care. In 2014, she was certified as a Master Naturalist by Cornell University’s Conservation Education and Research Program. She has a deep and abiding love for nature and finds God in all of creation.

Judy Schiavo holds a Master of Arts Secondary Education/Spanish from Seton Hall University and a Master of Science in Spirituality/Spiritual Direction from Fordham University. After retiring from 43 years of teaching, Judy is now a full-time spiritual director and retreat director.

Amy Sucich, LCSW-R has a long history of deep listening as a trained social worker. She is currently a spiritual director and retreat facilitator and an active member of the Mariandale community. Amy and her husband Anthony served on the Mariandale Advisory Committee and have been awarded a Friends of Mariandale award.

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The Center at Mariandale | New York Retreat Center