Sam Rahberg
Sam Rahberg is the Director of the Benedictine Center and a spiritual director. Sam has experience in parish education and administration and holds a master's degree in theology from Saint John’s University, Collegeville. Email Sam
Virginia Matter OSB is a member of St. Paul’s Monastery and came to the Center from Health Care. Virginia has done significant preparation in the area of spirituality, Centering Prayer, Bio-Spiritual Focusing, retreats, and Spiritual Direction.  She also has experience in Native American creative arts and pottery.  Email Virginia

S. Carol Rennie OSB is former prioress of St. Paul’s Monastery and a member of the Benedictine Center’s spiritual direction team. She is a teacher of teachers, an experienced retreat leader, and has a special interest in group spiritual direction. Email Sr. Carol.

Kelly Czajka is the Benedictine Center Assistant. Kelly has experience with parish youth ministry and faith formation, college campus ministry, and immersion trips and social justice initiatives. She holds a master’s degree in theology from the Institute for Pastoral Theology at Ave Maria University. Email Kelly.
Victor Klimoski, Ph.D. is the Emeritus Director of Lifelong Learning Saint John's School of Theology and provides consulting services for the Benedictine Center of St. Paul’s Monastery. He holds a doctorate in adult education from the Univ. of Minn. and works extensively at the national level as a group facilitator and project consultant.

Benita Gerold OSB is a member of St. Paul’s Monastery and has an associates degree in Applied Science from the Univ. of Crookston.  Prior to her employment at the Center as hospitality minister, S. Benita served as Director of Food Center at St. Paul’s Monastery and at St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Center.

Chris Folkenson works behind the scenes with guest services, ensuring every guest arrives to a comfortable room.

Karen Sames OSB is a member of St. Paul’s Monastery and is a trained nurse. She works full-time for the American Red Cross and provides hospitality for guests in her spare time.

Sharon Schiller OSB is a member of St. Paul’s Monastery and has been a teacher in child care centers and also a secretary. She is now part of the hospitality team of the Benedictine Center.

Benedictine Center Presenters

Cindy Abbot is an Oblate of St. Paul's Monastery.

Fred Amram is a Jewish man who survived Nazi Germany and adapted to life as an immigrant in the United States. Together with his wife Sandra Brick, a textile artists, they use story and image to help others to sharpen their awareness of racism.

Steve Arnold, Ph.D. is a chaplain at St. Anthony Senior Living and a spiritual director. His doctoral work is in adult education and educational gerontology.

H. Emerson Blake (Chip) has served as Editor-in-Chief of Orion and Executive Director of The Orion Society since 2005. Previously he was Editor-in-Chief of Milkweed Editions, a nonprofit book publisher based in Minneapolis. Work he has edited has been nominated for or won the Pushcart Prize, the PEN Literary Award, the John Oakes Award in Environmental Journalism, the John Burroughs Medal, the Minnesota Book Award, the Oregon Book Award, and has been selected for inclusion in Best American Essays and as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He is a judge for a number of literary awards and has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Michael Dennis Browne is professor emeritus of English at the University of Minnesota, where he taught for thirty-nine years. His most recent publications include Give Her the River, a picture book with paintings by Wendell Minor (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2004); Things I Can’t Tell You, poetry (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2005); and What the Poem Wants, essays on poetry (Carnegie Mellon, 2008). Browne’s poems have been published in many magazines and anthologies, and his awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bush Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation. Two of his collections have won the Minnesota Book Award for poetry. As a librettist, he has written many texts for music, working principally with composer Stephen Paulus. Their post-Holocaust oratorio, To Be Certain of the Dawn, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in music by the Minnesota Orchestra and issued as a CD in 2008. Some of the best-known short choral works by Paulus and Browne include “The Road Home,” “Pilgrims’ Hymn,” “Hymn for America,” and “Hymn of the Eternal Flame.”

Fr. Michael Byron is associate professor of theology at the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas. He is also pastor of St. Cecelia’s parish.


Kathleen Cahalan, Ph.D., is professor of theology at Saint John’s University School of Theology∙Seminary in Collegeville, Minnesota. Her most recent book is Introducing the Practice of Ministry (Liturgical Press, 2010). She is currently teaching a course on contemporary spiritual practices.

S. Joanne Dehmer SSND is a spiritual director on the staff of the Loyola Spirituality Center.


S. Mary Forman OSB is a member of the Monastery of St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, Idaho; currently she is Associate Professor of Monastic Studies and Theology at the School of Theology-Seminary, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, MN and is also the Chair of the undergraduate Department of Theology, College of Saint Benedict-Saint John’s University. She is an author, retreat director and teacher of Benedictine monasticism.

S. Meg Funk OSB is past prioress of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, Indiana, and a popular teacher and retreat leader. She has written books on the Christian contemplative tradition, including Humility Matters, Thoughts Matter, and Tools Matter, and most recently Lectio Matters: Before the Burning Bush.

S. Paula Hagen OSB is a member of St. Paul's Monastery, a national retreat leader, and the co-founder of Ministry of Mothers Sharing.

Pat Kilbane is an Oblate of St. Paul's Monastery.

Deb Korluka is a second generation American and Orthodox Christian with Slavic roots. During her formative years as a child and young adult, icons brought her into a world of joy and contemplation and icons transported me into a world where the laws of existence were far more harmonious than in our temporal world. She is an iconographer and author of Seeing the Face of Christ: The Way of an Iconographer (Kolomenskaya Versta, 2013).

Mary Martin is a spiritual director and a hospital chaplain. She holds graduate degrees in theology, counseling psychology, and library science and has been in direction herself for over twenty-five years.

Joe McHugh is a spiritual director, retreat leader, writer, and workshop facilitator with a unique blend of experience in religious, educational, and business environments. Based in the Twin Cities, McHugh is the former executive director of the Loyola Spirituality Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He runs Spiritual Direction Twin Cities and teaches in the spiritual direction certification program at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. He conducts workshops and retreats across the country. His most recent book is Startled By God: Wisdom from Unexpected Places (Franciscan Media, 2013).

Fred Somers has been painting full-time since 1975 at his farm-home-studio near Northfield, MN. His oil and pastel paintings, known for their peaceful sensitivity, reflect themes from the land. Whether in intimate views of grass, rocks and water with reflections of light and sky, or in spacious vistas of the countryside he seeks to share the hidden places of nature. He now brings his love of life to sensitive commissioned portraits.

Barb Sutton is Adjunct Professor of Theology is Associate Professor of Theology at Saint John's University School of Theology*Seminary and the Associate Dean for Ministerial Formation and Outreach.

Peggy Thompson is a teacher and retreat leader in arts and spirituality. She is known in the art community as Margaret Carroll.

Peter Watkins, M.Div. is a high school teacher of twenty years, author, musician, spiritual director, and little-league soccer coach. He is presently in the midst of raising three sons. Peter is a member of the Benedictine Center’s spiritual direction team.

S. Mary White OSB is both a licensed psychotherapist and a skilled teacher of Christian meditation. Her works draws on the wisdom of the world’s great spiritual traditions as well as her extensive background in psychology and sociology. Email Mary.


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