Nanci Bachman is a Lay Associate of the Mid-Atlantic Sisters of Mercy. She is a certified Spiritual Director and commissioned Lay Ecclesial Minister of the Trenton Diocese. Currently, Nanci is the Pastoral Associate and Director of Adult Faith Formation at David the King, R.C. Church in Princeton Junction, NJ. She also works with Intergenerational Ministry, with a passion for maturing adults. Nanci is on staff at St. Joseph Retreat Center, Staten Island, NY. She brings a unique set of skills and a joy for the Lord to her presentations. Nanci holds a Masters in Theology degree, and prior to ministering full time for the Catholic Church, she spent over twenty years in the Pharmaceutical Industry, both domestically and internationally.
Joann Caramanico is a Licensed and Board-Certified Music Therapist, Retreat Leader and Certified Spiritual Director. To be given the privilege of accompanying others on their spiritual journey with and toward God is a gift and a great joy in my life. I have a particular interest in exploring the arts in spiritual life and arts in the service of healing. I have worked as a Creative Arts Therapist for close to thirty years and have been graced by this gift in my life working both in a full-time capacity and privately for home based services for the elderly, youth and hospice care. I enjoy an active membership in my parish and have served in a variety of capacities. Please feel free to contact me with inquiries into personal or group spiritual direction, retreat days, retreat weekends, days of prayer or music therapy/art’s based services.
Grace Conte is certified as a Spiritual Director and Supervisor of Spiritual Directors by the Diocese of Trenton. She holds a BS and MS in Education and was commissioned as a Lay Ecclesial Minister for Trenton Diocese. Grace conducts retreats through Georgian Court University at various parishes on wellness, spirituality and prayer and is certified in USCCB Training in multicultural competence for ministers. She is currently on staff at St. Joseph Retreat Center, Staten Island and presents at various retreat houses in New York and New Jersey. Grace is married and has two adult children.
Sister Gerrie Contento, MPF has been a member of the Congregation of Religious Teachers Filippini for over fifty years. She served in various positions in several states as teacher and principal. Sister has a BA in education from Seton Hall University in So. Orange, NJ, an MA in Sacred Scripture from St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. Sister Gerrie earned her certifications as a Spiritual Director, supervisor of Spiritual Directors, giving directed retreats and the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises from the Upper Room Spiritual Center in Neptune, NJ. Sister Gerrie has served as a Pastoral Minister, Director of Adult Faith Formation and DRE in several parishes and as a member of the Spiritual Formation Team for Trenton's Lay Ecclesial Ministers. Sister has offered presentations and directed retreats at the Upper Room Retreat Center and St. Joseph by the Sea Retreat House in Mantoloking, NJ. Sister is currently on the staff of St. Joseph Retreat Center, Staten Island, NY, and is also co-director of programming.
Anne Louise DePalo
Anne-Louise DePalo has been practicing divorce and family law on Staten Island for over 30 years. She is a certified mediator and her vocation is to bring peace, justice and wholeness to her clients. Anne-Louise is also a certified spiritual director and a freelance writer and artist.
Anne-Louise is married to Mark Matuza whose music and song writing career has moved in a deeper spiritual direction, inspiring him to evangelize through music. They are very active members of St. Ann's Parish on Staten Island and together they have a website called "Meditate and Contemplate on This".
Anne-Louise and Mark also facilitate an active Centering Prayer group twice a month at St. Joseph Retreat Center, Staten Island.
Sister Josita DiVita, FDC has been a member of the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Charity for over 60 years. She received her BS and MA from Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ, and was a teacher, principal and in community administration for many years. Sister then received her degree as an LPN, ministering to the retired and infirm sisters, and working part time in hospitals and nursing facilities. She was certified as a Spiritual Director at the Upper Room Spiritual Center in Neptune, NJ and is currently the Director of St. Joseph Retreat Center, Staten Island, NY. Sister is co-director of programming, assists with directed retreats and gives presentations as well as private spiritual direction.
Sister Barbara Ann Gondek, SSC is a member of the Society of the Sisters of the Church, a diocesan community of religious women. Sister holds degrees in Religious Studies, a Masters in Religious Education, a Masters in Social Work and a Doctorate in Ministry in Marriage and family counseling. Sister has been an elementary and high school teacher, Director of Religious Education, an interim director of a food pantry and a Pastoral Associate. Currently Sister ministers as a licensed clinical social worker providing counseling to couples and individuals in Marlton, NJ. Sister is also on staff and presents reflections on various spiritual topics at St. Joseph Retreat Center, Staten Island, NY. In her spare time, Sister enjoys reading, baking and crafting.
Marianela Iribarne, OPA is a lay Caldwell Dominican Associate, a wife, a mother of four and a grandmother. She presently works as a Chaplain/ Bereavement Coordinator at Amedisys Hospice Care in Hackensack, NJ. She is certified from the American Academy of Bereavement, and is a certified Grief Recovery Specialist. Marianela also worked for 15 years at Hackensack University Medical Center, ministering to the dying and supporting grieving families, setting up support groups and providing resources for them. She is also a certified spiritual director.
Pat Stephens taught in Catholic and Public Schools for over 25 years. She was also Director of Religious Education in three parishes in the Archdiocese of Newark. Pat was on staff at St. Joseph by the Sea Retreat House in Mantoloking, NJ for ten years, facilitating directed retreats and giving individual spiritual direction. Currently she is on staff at St. Joseph Retreat Center, Staten Island, does private spiritual direction and presents days of prayer at various parishes.
Fran Tassone received her training in spiritual direction from Fairfield University's four year program which included an annual, intensive one-week residency at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, North Carolina. She received a certificate in spiritual direction from Fairfield University in June of 2019 and is an active member of Spiritual Directors International. Fran has been in spiritual direction since 2013 and as an avid follower of lgnatian spirituality, she participates in a monthly lgnatian spirituality prayer group and continues her practice of lgnatian spirituality through the daily Examen prayer, on-line lgnatian retreats and readings and by increasing her library with all things lgnatian.
Sr. Anne Dolores Van Wagenen is a member of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist and an educational leader and teacher. She received her spiritual direction training from the Archdiocesan of New York Spirituality Center and the Upper Room Spirituality Center in Neptune, New Jersey. Sister Anne also studied at Providence College School of Theology. Her life is dedicated as a woman religious sister to following Jesus in the model of St. John the Baptist, wherein she seeks to love Jesus as the center of her life.
As a member of a religious community, her life is one of prayer and ministry. As a spiritual director, she sees her life as one who listens and is a spiritual companion, a soul friend to the directee. The real guide is the Holy Spirit and as a director, she also sees her role as one of listening and helping the person to see where God already is in their life.
A Spiritual Director seeks to answer the following questions:
- How is God working in your life?
- What in your life is an image of God?
- What is your favorite way to pray?
Are you interested in becoming a presenter at the St. Joseph Retreat Center? Please submit your resume and cover letter to our Spiritual Director, Sister Josita DiVita, FDC at [email protected].