Who are SDI New Contemplatives?
The New Contemplatives Initiative seeks to illuminate the web of connections with and among young spiritual companions in hopes of creating more opportunities for spiritual guidance and contemplative formation for those in the first half of life.
Launched during the 2012 SDI educational events in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, the New Contemplatives Initiative Scholarship and Bursary Award will continue to welcome New Contemplatives to the 2017 Seeking Connection educational events in Toronto!
Donate to the New Contemplatives Initiative
Generous donors make the New Contemplative Initiative possible and more donors are needed to grow the program. Please contribute to the New Contemplatives Initiative through the secure store on the SDI website. Thank you for reaching out to support the next generation of compassionate spiritual companions.
Meet the 2017 New Contemplatives
Edel is a spiritual director, supervisor, facilitator, and coach. She grew up in Northern Ireland, and now lives in Bury in the North of England. She initially studied for a doctorate in geography and worked in the community sector before training in spiritual direction, and eventually discovering a way to do that full time. She is currently employed in the Learning Network of the Methodist Church in Great Britain. Her background is in the Ignatian tradition. She is passionate about Ignatian discernment and about integrating a lived awareness of God into all that we do as individuals and in groups. She has a particular interest in demystifying prayer, and in supporting the spiritual life of people with chronic illnesses.
A native of Ambler, Pennsylvania, USA, Greg has lived in six U.S. cities including Philadelphia, Baltimore, Sacramento, Chicago, Albuquerque, Syracuse, and Cincinnati. He completed his bachelor degree in philosophy with a minor in theology from Loyola University, Maryland, in 2004, and a master’s degree in spirituality from Loyola University, Chicago, in 2009. Currently, Greg is completing master’s in theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Greg served one year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) as a prison chaplain in Folsom, California, and his additional work and ministerial experiences include serving as a high school religion teacher, high school campus minister, college campus minister, and spiritual director. Currently, Greg is the senior assistant director for Faith and Ministry at Xavier University’s Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice. Greg’s hobbies and interests outside of ministry include cooking and baking, reading, running, hiking, and bike riding.
Kevin Okechukwu Oodo [Massachusetts, USA]
Kevin was born in South Eastern Nigeria. He grew up in a staunch Catholic family of seven siblings: six boys and a girl. He has a bachelor of arts in education (majoring in English) from University of Nigeria; a masters of arts (philosophy) from Arrupe College, and is currently pursuing a master of divinity (theology) from Boston College in preparation for ordination to the Catholic priesthood. Kevin is a member of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), which he joined in 2009 after spending some years in high school classrooms as an English teacher and administrator. In the last five years he has been working with high school students both in Nigeria and the USA as campus minister, coordinator of service programs, and directing students’ retreats. In addition to his studies at Boston College, he works part-time at Boston College High School as a campus minister and retreat director.
Erin Pickersgill [Berkshire, UK]
Erin is a fresh-from-training Ignatian spiritual director, and listening and empathising seems to be a fitting and fulfilling vocation so far. She is a mother of two girls, a wife, a friend, a sister, and a daughter. Originally from the United States, Erin has lived in Northern Ireland, and more recently England, since 2005, and has become a dual citizen of both the US and the UK in the last year. Spiritual direction came to her as a lifeline during some deep bereavement several years ago, and meant that her disillusioned Christian evangelical faith could find new roots, new language, and a new freedom in a more open, quiet, and intimate Christian faith. What Ignatius gave Erin, laid over her past experiences of mission, prayer, community, and gave it new life. Her family is currently transitioning to a new town in England for her husband’s new job, and she is also at the beginning of discerning a calling to the Anglican priesthood.
Hannah Salander [Colorado, USA]
Hannah is a Jewish spiritual director, transpersonal art therapist, and grief counselor. For the last fifteen years, Hannah has focused on supporting women, youth, and families, who have been impacted by loss and trauma. After living in Taos, New Mexico, USA, for the last six years, she has just moved to the Denver area to continue her ministry to those who are healing, seeking sanctuary, and a deeper connection with that which is sustaining and strengthening. Hannah has a rich contemplative background as a student and teacher of yoga, many years of study and practice within Buddhist and Jewish traditions, and an intimate relationship with the natural world.
Christi Seidel [Virginia, USA]
Even through a very treacherous relationship with church early in life, Christi always felt Divine presence guiding her. Along her journey toward healing, Christi has become a Reiki practitioner, a spiritual director, and a seminary graduate. She trained to become a spiritual director at Kairos School of Spiritual Formation in Wernersville, Pennsylvania from 2013–2015. She is now living in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and is working on staff at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. Christi currently attends Community Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg. In her spare time she enjoys art, woodworking, nature, and playing games with her family, which consists of her husband Tim, son Kai, daughter Phoenix, and cat Nya.