Spiritual Direction & Guidance

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Spiritual Direction | For the New and Experienced


Ideal for times of . . .

  • Discernment
  • Transition
  • Loss
  • Renewal
  • A vague sense of wanting something more


What Is Spiritual Direction Anyway?

Spiritual direction benefits include …

  • A non-judgmental environment for honest sharing about spiritual matters
  • Options for one-on-one or group sessions
  • An improved sense of how God is working in their everyday lives.

Events Related to Spiritual Direction


Spiritual Direction is offered in person at the Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery. All guests must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, provide their vaccination card when entering the Monastery, and wear masks.

We are also offering Spiritual Direction virtually via Zoom or FaceTime. If you have any additional questions, contact the Benedictine Center Staff at
651-777-7251, or info@benedictinecenter.org.


Spiritual Direction Team

The spiritual direction ministry of the Benedictine Center is made possible by a team of spiritual directors, as well as other faithful staff, volunteers, and partners. Click on the spiritual director names below to view their full bios.

Sister Virginia Matter, OSB

Virginia Matter, OSB is a member of St. Paul’s Monastery and came to the Center from the health care field. She worked in nursing and in pastoral ministry. Virginia has done significant preparation in the area of spirituality, Centering Prayer, Bio-Spiritual Focusing, retreats, and Spiritual Direction. She also has experience in pottery and Native American creative arts. CONTACT e | vmatter@benedictinecenter.org Available for: One-on-one spiritual direction Bio-spiritual focusing Pottery instruction Questions about Centering Prayer

Mary Martin

Mary Martin received her training as a spiritual director at the Franciscan Spirituality Center (La Crosse, WI). She is a retired hospital chaplain who holds graduate degrees in theology, counseling psychology, and library science and has been in direction herself for over thirty-five years. She and her husband live in south Minneapolis and enjoy traveling (often to Ireland), and being in the outdoors kayaking, biking, or walking their dog. Mary writes, I have often described my own experience of spiritual direction as being an “incredible luxury and a radical necessity.” It’s a luxury in the sense of having the time to place the fragments, bits and pieces of my life before my director and to gaze with her, in the presence of God’s holy Spirit, at the contours, patterns, connections (and disconnections!) that are present. I experience direction as a necessity in that it helps me to be faithful to God’s promptings and my deeply held desire for ongoing conversion. Hunger, longing, dreams, disappointments, joys, questions all surface as we continue to mine the richness of our relationship with the Holy, with others, and with self. My own encounter with spiritual direction began when I was 28 years-old and discerning…

Peter Watkins

Peter Watkins is a spiritual director and retreat leader at the Benedictine Center. He holds a Master’s of Divinity degree from the University of St. Thomas/School of Divinity and supervises spiritual directors in training at Sacred Ground Center for Spirituality. In addition to regular spiritual direction, Peter is also trained in giving the Ignatian spiritual exercises. Peter has been a high school theology teacher at Cretin-Derham Hall high school in St. Paul since 1993, where he especially loves leading student justice trips to Guatemala and pilgrimages on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. He has taught adult classes in Old Testament Theology, and Adolescent Psychology and Spirituality, and has co-authored a high school text book, Guarding the Fire: A Spiritual Guide for Young Men (Good Ground Press). Peter helps lead ministry discernment groups for the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, he is a life-long runner, and is active in his church as a Sunday school story teller.

Sheryl Rose

Sheryl Rose holds an MA in Organizational Leadership and Spirituality from St. Catherine University.  She was certified as a Labyrinth Facilitator at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and was trained at the Franciscan Spirituality Center in La Crosse, WI as a Spiritual Director. Sheryl recently retired from parish ministry after over 25 years in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Sheryl is available to journey with people via Zoom, inside her home in SW Richfield or at the Benedictine Center.  During the warmer months, she also offers spiritual direction in an outdoor setting, often using the sacred walking path of her backyard labyrinth for those seeking another way to integrate mind, body and spirit. Sheryl writes: Being a first born overly responsible type, I worked full time while raising two children and volunteering at our parish and in the community.  This life was managed by color coded calendars, sticky notes and to do lists posted all over the house and car.  I was either “On” or “Off” (asleep).  Sitting in church, I remember being indignant every time the Martha/Mary story came up in the Gospel reading because Mary was always hailed as the “good” sister, sitting at Jesus’ feet…

Steve Arnold

Steven (Steve) F. Arnold is a Deacon within the Lutheran confessional movement of the Church catholic. Steve is certified as a Director of Christian Education and as a Lutheran Teacher and has served the Church through parish ministry, teaching at a Lutheran high school, and serving on the faculty of a Lutheran university where he taught parish leadership and lifespan faith formation. Steve currently serves as a Chaplain at Crest View Senior Communities. Steve is a Spiritual Director, in the Christian tradition, and is a member of Spiritual Directors International. Steve continues in ongoing personal formation as a spiritual director. Steve’s formation as a Spiritual Director took place through The Christos Center. Steve has served as an organizational consultant and also has served on many boards and committees over the years.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Wittenberg English Ministry and on the Board of Directors for Venite Ministries in Minneapolis. Steve is a teacher, retreat leader, speaker, author, chaplain, tour leader and bridge-builder. His work has included a number of cross-cultural and international experiences of bringing Christians together from around the world to learn and grow together. Steve’s doctoral work and research are in the areas of adult…

Kami Pohl

Kami Pohl received her training as a spiritual director from the Franciscan Spirituality Center (La Crosse, WI) and currently serves as the Director of Community Engagement at Messiah Church in Plymouth.  Kami has experience in classroom teaching, being a full-time Mom, organizational development and training, and she holds a master’s degree in human resource development from the University of Minnesota. She and her husband live in Plymouth and enjoy time with family, friends, taking long walks, listening to live music and reading. Kami writes: My own experience with spiritual direction began in the fall of 2012.  Due to some health issues with a family member, I chose to set aside my work to care for them.  As their physical health improved, I felt stuck.  I realized in the time away from work that I did not feel that I was living out my call from God.  I longed for my spiritual journey to be woven into the way I lived each day.  I needed help to figure out how to pick up my life, change my perspective and move forward with God.  Meeting with a spiritual director provided a place to unpack and examine my life with God.  Having someone…

Rev. Kathie Nycklemoe

Kathie Nycklemoe has served in public ministry since 1989, and as a pastor since 1995. Her training in contemplative practices began at the Shalem Institute (Baltimore, MD) under the direction of Tilden Edwards and Gerald May, and she received her training to be a spiritual director from the Franciscan Spirituality Center (La Crosse, WI). She is Associate Pastor of St. Stephen’s Lutheran (Bloomington, MN) a pastor and spiritual director who regularly leads retreats for clergy and lay folks. She also serves as a clergy coach through the Fairview Clergy Health Center and as a mentor/teacher with the Spiritual Direction Certification Program at the Lutheran Southern Seminary (Columbia, SC). Kathie loves to spend time with her husband and three young adult children, be outdoors as much as possible, read, travel, and . . . embrace her inner sloth. CONTACT e | knycklemoe@ststephen.net Available for: Spiritual direction Clergy coaching Speaking/Facilitation Supervision for spiritual directors

Tod Twist

In addition to being on the Spiritual Direction team at the Benedictine Center, Tod Twist also serves as a Guest Services Assistant, preparing the space for guests. Tod trained as a Spiritual Director through the program at the Franciscan Spirituality Center in La Crosse, WI. Prior to that, he spent some time as a freelance writer as well as a workshop guy (with leatherworking and woodworking) while being a stay-at-home dad. He studied Hebrew and Semitics at UW–Madison, and also biblical studies at Bethel Seminary in the Twin Cities. While he values formal study programs, Tod has found new joy in the experiences that he’s had at spirituality centers, and he’s excited about being a part of offering retreats and spiritually-oriented presentations to people. Tod writes: Some tumultuous events in my teen years set me on a path of trying to make sense of what had happened to me, and I eventually wound up trying to be a Bible teacher after having been redirected away from a couple of other paths of service. It had been a couple of decades worth of rough road getting to that sense of calling and meaning, and when it didn’t work out, I took…

Rev. Peggy Thompson

Rev. Peggy Thompson (known as Margaret Carroll in the art world) is a chaplain, spiritual director and artist who enjoys combining creativity and spirituality in her own work  and with her clients. Peggy received her B.A. and M.A. degrees from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, an M.Div. from United Theological Seminary, and certification in spiritual direction from The Cenacle Retreat Center. She is ordained in the United Church of Christ and is board certified in The Association of Professional Chaplains. Peggy has been an Oblate of St. Paul’s Monastery since 1993 and has been trained to teach Centering Prayer. She maintains a studio in the Northrup King Building in Northeast Minneapolis where she paints, as well as a family cabin in the North Woods where she finds rest and renewal. Learn more at www.mcarrollartist.com.  

Sister Jacqueline Leiter, OSB

Jacqueline Leiter, OSB is a member of St. Paul’s Monastery and a teacher in the St. Paul Public Schools. One of her original works of art won first place in the 2017 Seeing God Juried Exhibit at St. Paul’s Monastery Gallery. CONTACT e | jleiter@benedictinecenter.org

Spiritual Direction FAQs

A: Most often guests meet monthly for about an hour (as individuals) or two (as groups), either at the monastery or at a more mutually convenient location. There are no set number of meetings for spiritual direction, nor a need to commit to a certain length of time. Together with your director, you determine how this ancient practice can best be most helpful to you.
A: The recommended donation for spiritual direction is 75.00 per hour for individual sessions and 40.00 for groups. Those who are able often give more and, thanks to such generosity, assistance is made available for others.
A: Spiritual Directors are available to provide group direction for up to six people at a time, using two-hour sessions, and at a cost of 40.00 per person. New groups are most often formed from a waiting list, after individuals have contacted the Benedictine Center and a group of four to six is assembled. Facilitated praying, sharing, and listening help participants notice God’s guidance and presence.
A: Start by contacting the Benedictine Center. We respect that the Spirit is at work in this process, so, after listening, we’ll put you in touch with someone for a free initial conversation. You will likely meet together to explore your interest in spiritual direction and to answer questions you might have. If it seems a mutually good fit, you might continue meeting together. Otherwise, this team member can draw from what you learned together to recommend someone else.


“When I see all these people sharing their souls, I can’t help but wonder what mine has to say.”

Anonymous Patron

“Returning for the juried show each year helps me stay at my practice all year long.”

Anonymous Artist

“It’s so peaceful here. Even my body feels it when I walk through the door.”


“Wow. What can I say? I cannot thank you enough for the way that you helped me. This was a wonderful experience—one of a lifetime.”


“I am moved every time I walk in these doors and encounter a new exhibit.”


“I am an artist who just moved to town. I have found my people.”


“We found the spiritual atmosphere, architecture and interaction with the community of St. Paul's Monastery as asset to our work . . . the Benedictine Center keeps our focus on the spiritual dimension of life as it unfolds.”

Dr. Mel Kimble

“As a staff we were amazed at the quality of our experience together.”

Fr. Chuck Brambilla

“God has breathed empowering courage into my life and ministry through times of silence in this beautiful center.”

Pastor Ruth Conrad

“The Benedictine Center made our retreat with college students nothing less than spectacular. What we encountered was a true sense of Benedictine hospitality and prayerfulness.”

Aaron Miller, Campus Minister

“I can’t believe I slept for twelve hours straight. It must have been what my body needed.”


"Our time was peaceful and beautiful and blessed."


“I’ve been in spiritual direction for a long time. I wouldn't be without it.”


“My spiritual director helps me be me. I appreciate the way she encourages me as I sort through my relationship with God.”


“Sometimes I come and have no idea what I’m going to talk about. I am amazed to see what surfaces every time.”


“I’m not sure exactly why, but it just seemed like it was time to go on retreat.”


“I have had just the right balance of solitude and community. What a blessing to be able to be apart without feeling alone on my journey.”


"Thank you for the retreat. It was refreshing, renewing, restful, and helpful."


"The Center has been an immense contributor to my spiritual development . . . and I am on the path Home.”


"My first time at the Benedictine Center was a most wonderful experience! It was a time of quiet, solitude, and peace. I am coming back!"