Who We Are
Our Mission & Vision
Louisiana Spiritual Directors (LASD) is an association of trained spiritual directors formed to promote continuing education, fellowship and information for spiritual directors within Louisiana.
Mission & Purpose
The image of three chairs represents who is present during spiritual direction. In one chair the spiritual director prayerfully listens and asks questions to help the directee go deeper into his/her prayer experiences. The second chair is for the directee/seeker, who desires a deeper relationship with God. And the third chair is for God, the True Director.
Find a Director
“The spiritual director is concerned with the whole person, for the spiritual life is not just the life of the mind, or the life of the affections, or the ‘summit of the soul’—it is the life of the whole person.”
– Thomas Merton, Spiritual Direction and Meditation, p. 14
Welcome to the Louisiana Association of Spiritual Directors’ Webpage. Whether you are a spiritual director, a person seeking a spiritual director, someone wanting to know more about spiritual direction, or discerning to become a spiritual director, this website is for you!
I am honored to serve as president of LASD for 2023-2024. In the 10 years I have been associated with LASD, I have watched it grow in numbers and collective wisdom. Our organization strives to provide quality resources and support for spiritual directors and those seeking direction across the state. So browse our website and learn about our ministry, our directors, and spiritual direction in general.
May you be blessed with the grace to listen for and respond to God’s call to you as you travel life’s journey.
God’s peace to you,
The roots of our organization began as regions for Spiritual Directors International (SDl) which collaborated to sponsor an annual conference for spiritual directors in Louisiana. When SDI discontinued regional chapters, the Louisiana groups became incorporated as Louisiana Association of Spiritual Directors (LASD) and the Articles of Incorporation were drawn up in 2007. LASD was founded to promote the ministry of spiritual direction in our state and to be a resource to help directors grow spiritually and professionally in their ministry.
We have expanded to include educating people about spiritual direction and the benefits it can have in their lives. The information and “Find a Director” section on this website help those who are seeking spiritual direction to connect with a director in their area.
Our Membership includes: Active members who are trained spiritual directors and are currently engaged in the ministry of spiritual direction; Associate members who are either retired from the ministry, in a recognized spiritual directors’ training program, or are involved in professions related to pastoral care.
LASD fosters the ministry of spiritual direction by sending out informational e-newsletters to our members, and offering periodic Zoom gatherings for prayer, reflection, fellowship, and shared information. In addition, we also have an annual conference to continue our development as spiritual directors, by inviting speakers who are well-known and experienced directors. These conferences bring us together for support, help us further develop our own relationship with God in order to adequately serve others in our ministry.
Our board of directors is working to make this organization valuable and helpful to our members. We encourage you to contact us through this website for ideas, needs, and ways you can assist us in making this association even better.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Spiritual Director?
A spiritual director is a trained and experienced facilitator of the spiritual journey who is, foremost, grounded in prayer and growing in an intimate relationship with God. Called to the ministry, he or she serves as a vessel of God, the True Director, assisting the seeker to uncover the Divine in their everyday lives.
The director is not a therapist or a counselor, but is a spiritual companion. Through deep, contemplative listening, the spiritual director assists the directee in prayerfully discerning the movements of the Holy Spirit and in following the inspirations of grace.
According to Thomas Merton, “the spiritual director is concerned with the whole person, for the spiritual life is not just the life of the mind, or the life of the affections, or the ‘summit of the soul’—it is the life of the whole person.”
–Thomas Merton, Spiritual Direction and Meditation, p. 14
How does one know if they are ready to receive spiritual direction?
Basically, it is a calling. Inherent in this calling is a commitment to regular prayer. It requires a desire to grow and a willingness to intimately share the journey with another. A person ready for spiritual direction longs to develop his or her own relationship with God, and is also looking for assistance to go deeper as well as accountability in staying committed to the journey.
What is the difference between spiritual direction and counseling?
As a general rule, counseling and therapy focus on a person’s problem areas with the goal of a healthy resolution to those issues. Spiritual direction focuses on finding and responding to God present in the human life circumstances, whether glorious, joyful or sorrowful.
What are the benefits of Spiritual Direction?
- Deeper awareness of God’s presence, love and grace in all things and situations in one’s life.
- Deeper connection to one’s true self, others, and creation.
- Learning new spiritual disciplines—prayer, silence, meditation, etc.
- Discerning God’s will in one’s everyday decisions.
- Living more fully one’s purpose—to praise, reverence and serve God.
- Accountability to the daily rhythm of prayer and encouragement when self-discipline breaks down.
What typically happens in a direction session?
Normally, each session is about an hour. You will be asked to share your prayer experiences with your director; therefore, it is necessary for you to have a regular prayer time and to maintain a journal in order to have things to discuss. If you are discerning a major issue in your life, your time with your director is where this is processed after you have spent time in prayer. Your director will ask you questions in an effort to have you go a little deeper into your prayer experiences.
Although the title “spiritual direction” has sometimes been misused, the real task of spiritual direction is not to tell another person what to do or how to be spiritual. Your journey of faith is uniquely your own. It is the responsibility of the director to discern with you the movement of God’s Spirit in your life and to assist you in following that movement.
How often would I meet with my director?
That mostly depends on you, however once a month is a common arrangement and seems to work well. The frequency will be determined by your needs and the discernment of both the director and yourself.
Mutual respect and honesty are important, and confidentiality on the part of the director is a given. It is essential that both the director and directee feel free to communicate needs, frustrations, disappointments as well as the joys of the progress made. It is a good idea to evaluate every few months if expectations are being met and if not, what needs to be done about that. Thus, part of the commitment will be to respond to these insights and to know if and when to discontinue. But also, part of the commitment will be to persevere through discouragements in patience and faith. Mostly, spiritual direction involves trust: trust in God who has called you to partake in this ministry, and trust in the spiritual director as confidante and soul friend.
Is there a cost for Spiritual Direction?
As lay spiritual directors, we invest financially in our ministry in terms of ongoing training, professional dues, supervision, education and materials. Therefore, we accept donations towards our ministry ($40 is an average offering); however, inability to pay will not be a hindrance to receiving spiritual direction. All are welcome.
How do I find a spiritual director?
- This website has a list of directors who are members of LASD. Spiritual Directors International maintains a list of qualified spiritual directors. Contact them online.
- Sometimes a priest or minister can offer spiritual direction or at least assist with referrals. (Just because one is a “religious” does not infer that he or she would qualify as a good director, often lacking time for the ministry, training, or limited in the skill of deep listening.)
- Consider contacting retreat centers, monasteries, or communities of religious in your area.
- As in seeking other professional services, word of mouth is often the best method. Ask friends, fellow seekers, your pastor or fellow parishioners for suggestions about reputable spiritual directors.
Find a Director
While our directors are based in Louisiana, they can advise anyone in any location through the use of Zoom, FaceTime, or most online video communication options.
Some directors have submitted a photo and bio to help with your selection. You are not limited to just these directors. The form below has all available directors based on region.
Sr. Kathleen Stakelum, MSC
I’m Sr. Kathleen Stakelum MSC, a Catholic sister living in Lafayette, LA. I was trained at the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center in New Orleans and have been doing spiritual direction thirty years in addition to my ministry in church parishes, retreat ministry, Hospice and nursing home spiritual care. I see spiritual direction as listening to what God is doing in the directee’s life, helping them to notice God’s love for them and to respond to it. I’m open to acceptin new directees during the day on evenings and am available for virtual sessions as well. You can contact me at email@example.com
I am Betsy Richard, a single, Catholic lay person living in Lafayette, La. I was trained by the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center in New Orleans, LA and have been a spiritual director since 2019. I am a member of St Pius X Catholic Church, a business owner and board member of the LASD, Louisiana Association of Spiritual Directors. I see spiritual direction as a way to journey with others to a deeper relationship with God. I am directing anyone who wants to have a deeper connection with God in all aspects of their life. My schedule is flexible. Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if I can be of service to you.
I am Faye Coorpender, a spiritual director since 2016. I enjoy journeying with others through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and on-going spiritual direction. My personal experiences of on-going spiritual direction, retreat work, workshops, conferences, and relationships with other spiritual directors have been a blessing to me and have inspired in me a hope to assist others in their desire to know God’s great love for them. If you’re interested in learning more, I can be reached at email@example.com. I am available to meet digitally or in person in the Baton Rouge area.
Melinda is an Ignatian-trained Spiritual Director who is passionate about helping others deepen their relationship with God through individual direction, group faith sharing, and retreats. She meets directees in person in the Baton Rouge area, and also meets directees virtually by Zoom and Skype. She received her certification in Spiritual Direction from the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center in New Orleans in 2012. She also holds a Masters of Pastoral Studies degree from Loyola University. Melinda served as spiritual director and campus minister at Christ the King parish at LSU, and was on staff at the St. Joseph Spirituality Center. She also serves in the Women of the Well ministry and is currently on the board of the Louisiana Association of Spiritual Directors. She and her husband Darrel live in Baton Rouge and enjoy birdwatching and fishing.
I belong to St. Pius X Catholic Church in Lafayette, LA. I completed my internship in Spiritual Direction in September of 2020. I was trained at the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center in New Orleans. Spiritual Direction has been a part of my own faith life for about twenty-five years. Currently I serve on the board of the Louisiana Association of Spiritual Directors. I have a deep desire to accompany others in discovering where God is present in their lives. I see directees both during the day and evenings and I am open to directing Christians of any denomination.
I am married and a Catholic member of St. Anne Parish in Youngsville, LA, where I serve as a lector and Eucharistic minister. I received my training at St. Charles Retreat Center, finishing in 2007. I have offered direction to people grieving the loss of a loved one, as well as through the Spiritual Exercises. It is my greatest privilege to assist others enter into relationship with Jesus. I am on staff at the Jesuit Spirituality Center directing retreatants. I am available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 9:00AM-4:00PM
Wendy Enloe is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and a spiritual director at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in St. Amant, Louisiana. She meets with individuals and retreatants for spiritual direction at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and offers programs on Christian formation and spirituality. As an instructor for the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center Spiritual Direction Internship program in New Orleans and for the Diocese of Baton Rouge Ministry and Theology Certification program, Wendy shares her passion for spiritual direction, spirituality, and prayer with adults in their formation. Wendy holds a Master of Religious Education from Loyola’s Institute for Ministry in New Orleans, a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center in New Orleans, and a Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Creighton University.
I am a resident of Metairie, LA and I completed my training through the Archdiocese of New Orleans. I am open to persons just beginning their faith journey or those further along. I see spiritual direction as journeying with another, co-discerning the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and helping someone notice the presence of God in their prayer and life.
I received my training in Spiritual Direction through the Archdiocese of New Orleans Spirituality Center in 2009. I have been offering one-on-one spiritual direction since that time. I have years of ministerial experience including catechetical and retreat work. I am a wife, mother and grandmother, a retired nurse and childbirth educator. As a spiritual director, I have a special place in my heart for those desiring a mature spirituality and deepening relationship with God as they navigate the journey from “obeying the rules” to trusting the inner wisdom of their heart. I am open to companioning women or men. I am a Catholic but see folks of other religious traditions. I see directees Monday-Thursday, 8am-5pm; in person or zoom. My contact information is as follows: firstname.lastname@example.org; 504-481-4319
My name is Katherine Bernal. I am married with three married daughters and eight grandchildren. Being a cradle Catholic in South Louisiana opened me to spiritual direction. After our girls were born, our new DRE mentioned she was a spiritual director. As her directee, my prayer life began to deepen and become more important to me.
After moving to North Louisiana where spiritual directors were few and far between, I began to discern becoming a spiritual director myself. When I retired, my path to training for becoming a spiritual director opened up. I traveled to Shreveport for direction with the only Catholic director in our diocese at the time and then monthly to New Orleans for training and formation. Years later I also trained to give the Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life retreat.
Being a director has increased my awareness of God in my life as I listen to others and help them find God in theirs. I have truly felt blessed by this calling and the people I meet along the way.
I am a member of St. Paschal Catholic Church in West Monroe, LA. Where I am a Lector, Minister of Holy Communion, and help with our RCIA/OCIA program.
My email is: Katherine.email@example.com
My name is Renee Aldridge, and I am a Certified Spiritual Director. My husband is an ordained Deacon in the Catholic church serving at our local Catholic hospital. We have two daughters who just recently married and now we are blessed with sons. I was born and raised in New Orleans and currently live in Pineville with my husband and rescue dog.
I was introduced to Spiritual Direction at 26, after a significant crisis. Spiritual Direction was a lifeline for me at a very critical time, and my Spiritual Director was the face of God and the voice of Christ. I have remained in spiritual direction for most of the last 30 years. About 12 years ago, God put a calling on my heart to provide the gift of spiritual direction for others, and in His time a path was cleared to provide the way.
I received my training from the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Spirituality Center in August 2021. I attended diaconate classes at St. Meinrad with my husband. I also hold degrees in science and art from Louisiana State University. I live with a life-threatening immune deficiency that keeps my eyes on the hope of salvation and my soul at the foot of the cross. I am always seeking wellness and healing of mind, body, and soul.
In the practice of spiritual direction, I often use creative and artistic sources in adjunct to scripture. I can provide ongoing direction, 3,5 or 8 day Directed Retreats, and/or the 19th Annotation in person or remotely through Zoom or other platforms. I welcome directees who are seeking a deeper relationship with God, especially those looking for a place to be understood and to begin healing.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 318-542-1966, and welcome calls for inquiry.
I am a lifelong Roman Catholic and parishioner of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral. I am married to Deacon Richard W. Mitchell and known in many parishes in the Diocese of Alexandria as the “Girl on Fire”. I have two daughters and one son-in-law. I like to spread the gospel of Christ through my involvement in many ministries throughout the Diocese. I am one of the founders of the Genesis of Eve Women’s ministry which was established in 2019 and volunteer my time to help host the annual conference. I was a co-facilitator for The Great Adventure Bible Study held at the Diocese in 2020. I actively participate in the Pro-Life Movement, support the Steubenville South Youth Conference, and have a special love for the ACTS Retreat movement serving as a Women’s Retreat Director, Retreat Consultant and was a founding member of the Diocese of Alexandria’s ACTS Mission Chapter to bring the ACTS Retreat to parishes throughout the Diocese.
In 2019, I was introduced to the Spiritual Direction Program by the Archdiocese of New Orleans. My zealous love and service throughout my years of ministry along with the guidance of the Holy Spirit inspired me to journey on the path of becoming a certified Spiritual Director. I retired in 2022 as the District Manager of Louisiana State Probation and Parole after serving in the law enforcement profession for 29 years. During that time, I saw firsthand the brokenness in our society and the need for God’s love and mercy. I truly desire to help women and men to draw closer to the Lord and guide them to be the disciple Jesus wants them to be.
On August 17, 2023, I graduated from the intense internship and received my certification as a Spiritual Director from the Archdiocese of New Orleans. I am certified to provide ongoing spiritual direction, as well as direct 3, 5 or 8 day Directed Retreats in person or remotely through Zoom or other platforms.
I can be reached at email@example.com or 318-447-6383 and am eager to speak with anyone who is seeking to deepen their relationship with our Lord Jesus.
I am Joan Dobard, a Catholic lay person living in Alexandria, LA. I’m married and have 2 adult children and a daughter in law. I am a member of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church, where I have volunteered or served in various ministries over the years. I enjoy nature, reading, and music.
As a speech-language pathologist, I have walked with many individuals and families of all ages and backgrounds through difficult circumstances, challenging obstacles, and celebrations of achievements. The Holy Spirit has utilized these experiences, combined with a lifetime of active compassionate listening and the many changing seasons and events of life to enrich my perspective as I accompany others on their spiritual journey.
Years ago, I experienced a personal faith crisis and began a search for answers. Christ met me where I was and my life was changed. I began spiritual direction with a priest and began voraciously learning about the faith and growing in my interior life. Years later, while looking for a new spiritual director, I was invited to consider the internship. I completed the prerequisites and was accepted into and trained by the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center of New Orleans, LA. I feel blessed to participate in this ministry. I am happiest when I am accompanying someone in a monthly session or on retreat.
I can meet with individuals in person or virtually by Zoom. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Ingrid Cannella, and I am a Certified Spiritual Director in Central Louisiana where I work in coordination with my Pastor and Bishop. As a cradle catholic, I have been an active member of the church, and involved in a variety of ministries. In 2021, I began practicing Spiritual Direction after completing the training and certification through the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center program. My training includes the approach of St. Ignatius who developed Spiritual Exercises used in spiritual direction. I received additional training to offer the 19th annotation for those who are ready to make the exercises.
I am a participant in the LASD Board, and a new LASD Board Member where I am happy to serve. I have a great desire to serve others who are in search of a closer relationship with God even in the midst of the messiness of daily life.
For most of my life, I have worked as a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor and Marriage and Family Therapist. I am a certified Compliance Officer working in the Behavioral Health Care field. After many years of providing behavioral health services, God drew me to Spiritual Direction by the invitation of a local Deacon. I find joy and gratitude participating in the ministry of spiritual direction. I have found Spiritual Direction to be a blessing in my spiritual life and feel drawn to share this gift with others. God is always guiding and leading us, and it is so helpful to have another walk along on the journey.
My recreational activities include travel, hiking, back-packing, fishing, gardening, aviation, reading, and hand crafts such as crochet, knitting, cross-stitch, and quilting. I love to learn.
The New Orleans Metro Area
It is my privilege to journey with directees on their paths toward embracing the Holy. Besides formal training in spiritual direction, I also hold a Master of Pastoral Studies from Loyola University-New Orleans. Background is also steeped in education (Ph.D.), retreat work (group and directing individuals in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius), workshops, social justice advocacy, centering prayer, and liturgical music. My ministry is inclusive and ecumenical, including welcoming those who are exploring/embracing LGBTQ+ issues. Located in Marrero, Louisiana (New Orleans metro area). Willing to conduct sessions via Zoom if necessary. email@example.com
I am Liz Reno, a parishioner at St. Margaret of Scotland in Albany. I graduated from the Arch-Diocese of New Orleans Spiritual Director Internship program in 2022. I am honored and humbled to serve in this ministry. Through this ministry I am able to meet people where they are, accept them there, and walk with them on their journey to a deeper and more intimate relationship with God. We only become our authentic selves through our relationships, of which the most important is our relationship with the Triune God. Along with individual direction in person or via zoom, I am beginning a small group ministry and offer retreat direction. I enjoy working with people who are discerning a transition in their lives. Through life experience I also work well with people who have a mentally ill family member. I can be reached through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 225.281.4027.
Dr. Brenda Leroux Babin is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, a certified Enneagram teacher and practitioner in The Narrative Tradition, and a retreat facilitator. She is wife, mother, and Honey to the most adorable Noah Joseph. She was born in New Orleans and baptized in Bayou Terrebonne where she now lives in the town of Houma, Louisiana. She loves to sit in deep conversation with another person exploring deeper questions and accompanying others in their spiritual lives. She also enjoys helping others in their journey of self-discovery and transformation using the Enneagram. Her passion for serving her community and for dedicating her life to creating a better, more compassionate community for all is rooted in her deep spiritual belief that all are one. Learn more at www.BrendaLerouxBabin.com.
My name is Maria Burke and I reside in Mansura, LA. I see clients in person and in the Alexandria area and I work virtually with directees outside of the area. I attended the Archdiocese of New Orleans Spirituality Center internship in Spiritual Direction, graduating in August of 2021. Those looking for spiritual direction can reach out to me via this website, or email email@example.com. I usually meet with directees in the mornings at 8am or on Fridays. I am a life-long Catholic serving in many areas within in my Church parish and currently I am working for a nonprofit in the Alexandria area where I have been trained to minister to those in need of healing because of abuse or loss of a child/loved one, including those who have affected by abortion.
Mike Van Vranken
I am blessed with the ministry of spiritual direction: as one who offers one-on-one direction virtually, I also offer guidance through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. I currently lead a Peer Supervision group. And finally, I am involved as a teacher of new spiritual directors with the Archdiocesan Spirituality Ctr. of New Orleans. I have a certification in spiritual direction from the ASC, and I have received additional formation and training through the Christian Spirituality Masters Program at Creighton University in Omaha, NE.
My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am Loretta Ortego and I live in Chataignier, Louisiana. I am married to Deacon Charles Ortego and we have 4 adult children, 11 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren. We are very blessed with family.
I am retired from teaching high school theology in Catholic school. I love the Church and have always tried to serve her in any way I can, but mostly in education. I taught in Catholic school for 34 years and catechism even longer than that. The Lord has blessed me with many religious experiences but the most profound thing I have ever gone through was the 19th Annotation. I first heard of the spiritual director internship many years ago but the Lord only opened the door to enter in 2021 through the Archdiocese of New Orleans Program held at Grand Coteau. I just received certification as a spiritual director in August 2023. It has been such a privilege to sit and watch God’s movement in directees. I am so humbled to have this experience and thank God everyday for the many holy people I have met seeking to go deeper in their spiritual lives. All of this brings me closer to the Lord. It is with a grateful heart I thank the Lord.
I am Christie Adler, a member of St. Stephen Catholic Church in Bentonville, Arkansas. I am a certified spiritual director trained by the New Orleans Archdiocesan Spirituality Center based on the model of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. To me, Spiritual Direction is a God-given privilege of meeting the person where they are, and in that sacred place, listening with the ear of the heart, and helping them to connect and deepen their personal relationship with God. I’d be honored to journey with all who is seeking “something more” and God in all things. I am active in the spiritual direction ministry full time, and I offer spiritual direction and directed retreats in person or by FaceTime or Zoom. I may be reached at Godwit0111@gmail.com.
As a spiritual director, trained in the traditions of St. Ignatius of Loyola, it is my privilege to journey with others, always on the lookout for the ways God is present and moving in our lives.
Professionally, my experience begins and ends in Catholic education. My first career-oriented job was at St. Louis Catholic High School in Lake Charles where I taught freshmen theology and coached girls’ basketball. When my children entered elementary school, I transferred to teach where they were in school, Our Lady Queen of Heaven. We relocated to Mobile, Alabama and in time, both of our children would choose to study at Spring Hill College. It wasn’t long before we were, once again, back on campus together! I took a position at Spring Hill, working for Fr. Christopher Viscardi, SJ and Fr. Gregg Lucey, SJ. In these men, and their Jesuit brothers, I observed a beautifully lived example of Ignatian Spirituality. With their encouragement and support, I completed the Certificate of Spiritual Direction at Spring Hill College.
I have worked in many different areas within the church including, ministering at Mobile County Metro Jail, serving as prefect of the Ignatian Branch of the Sodality of Spring Hill College, participating with other couples in the Domestic Church Movement and various other faith formation initiatives. Serving on retreat teams, in particular as a spiritual companion on A.C.T.S. retreats, affirmed my desire to become a spiritual director.
My husband and I live in Mobile, Alabama but spend considerable time in Louisiana where our two adult children and two grandchildren live.
Proximate preparation for spiritual direction (the day before):
Review and Reflect:
- Since my last direction session, what events, experiences, relationships, etc. have communicated to me a sense of God’s presence? God’s absence? What thoughts or feelings do these evoke for me?
- Exploring the manner of my prayer lately, what has helped me to stay attentive to the Spirit? Where have I experienced difficulty?
- In what area(s) of life do I sense God calling me to growth or to deeper surrender?
- As I reflect on my prayer life, what are its challenges and progress?
- What is the quality of the key relationships and responsibilities of my state in life?
A few minutes before your spiritual direction, say a prayer to the Holy Spirit to guide you and your director. Make sure you have the notes from your proximate preparation. Finally, call to mind the real goal of all spiritual direction: to discover more clearly God’s action in your life, and to equip you to respond generously to what he is asking of you.
2023-2024 LASD Board Members