RESOURCES FOR RENEWAL is a consortium of professionals from a variety of disciplines offering programs to sustain creative social engagement.   We promote greater understanding of human resilience using insights and practices from contemplative traditions.  Resources for Renewal provides fellow allies in education, health and social services, and other helping professions with scholarly, experiential opportunities for both personal and professional growth, as well as networking with like-minded participants.  Resources for Renewal distributes resources, provides programmatic consultation with individuals and organizations and training/renewal through seminars, retreats, and spiritual immersion experiences.  Drawing deeply from prophets, poets, and saints we work to respond authentically and courageously to the challenges of our day.

Dr. Gillian Ahlgren is a dynamic teacher of Christian spirituality.  She is an internationally-recognized scholar of the Christian mystical tradition, an experienced spiritual director, and a popular public speaker.  She engages a regular practice of contemplative prayer, gives retreats and workshops, and consults with communities seeking renewal and resources for growth.  She is the Founding Director of Xavier University’s Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice.

In her teaching and public speaking she promotes greater awareness of the transforming wisdom of spiritual leaders, past and present.  She creates moments of reflection, analysis and creative visioning for individuals and communities seeking greater authenticity and self-expression.
Dr. Ahlgren is the author of six books that explores the challenges of integrating personal, intellectual, spiritual and social authenticity.  Her first book,  Teresa of Avila and the Politics of Sanctity (Cornell University Press, 1996), definitively shaped our understanding of the challenges that women like Teresa faced as writers, reformers and mystics.  Entering Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle: A Reader’s Companion (Paulist Press, 2005), explores the seven stages of growth leading to union with God.   These insights, along with those of John of the Cross, are captured in her more recent book, Enkindling Love: The Legacy of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross (Fortress Press, 2016).  The Inquisition of Francisca (University of Chicago Press, 2005) recovers the Inquisitional trial of a woman accused of false mysticism, giving readers access, for the first time, to the strategies of a visionary woman defending her vocation and experience of God.  The book received the 2006 award for “Best Translation” from the Society for the Research of Early Modern Women.

Her most recent book, The Tenderness of God: Reclaiming Our Humanity (Fortress Press, 2017), weaves the insights of Francis and Clare of Assisi into an exploration of the challenges of our contemporary world, opening a path toward the “new and universal solidarity” Pope Francis characterizes in his encyclical On Care for Our Common Home.  The book draws upon her many years leading spiritual immersion experiences in the footsteps of Francis and Clare in Assisi and La Verna.

Dr. Ahlgren keeps herself on the front lines of social issues.  Her pastoral work involves spiritual accompaniment of women seeking recovery after domestic violence and women actively in recovery from addiction.

For more information on Gillian and her work go to

“Extending the Spirit of Assisi” planning team:

Kevin C.A. Elphick, D. Min. works for the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a Supervisor on their Veterans and Military Suicide Prevention Hotline. He holds a Doctorate in Ministry from Graduate Theological Foundation, with an MA in Franciscan Studies from St. Bonaventure University and a Masters in Religious Studies from Loyola University, Chicago. He is a Companion Member of the Eastern Orthodox Monks and Nuns of New Skete. He is a regular contributor to the journal, Franciscan Connections. Kevin is a member of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and has completed a Trauma Counseling program through the University at Buffalo. He serves on the Charism Commission of the Franciscan Federation.

Marilyn Schleyer, A.R.N.P, L.P.C.C., Ph.D., ACDP is a 45 year veteran of academic and clinical healthcare. She holds a bachelor of science in nursing from the College of Mt. St. Joseph and dual master degrees from the University of Cincinnati in nursing and in counseling and psychology. Her Ph.D. and research in psychology from The Union Institute focused on traumatic stress. She has received post-graduate training in psychotherapeutic modalities in the treatment of traumatic stress as well as critical incident stress debriefing. Dr. Schleyer has been in private practice for 25 years. She is a co-creator of the Francine Shapiro (EMDR) Library previously housed by Northern Kentucky University and which serves as a comprehensive repository of traumatic stress literature to clinicians worldwide. Dr. Schleyer is a nationally board certified clinical nurse specialist in adult psychiatric and mental health nursing. She was a founding member of the Kentucky charter of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association serving as its first secretary. She is an Associate of the Congregation of Divine Providence whose international motherhouse is in France and she has made the Assisi Journey with Dr. Gillian Ahlgren four times between 2012 and 2016

John Getgey, MSW, LISW has been practicing psychotherapy for over 25 years.  He received a masters degree in clinical social work from Smith College in Northampton, MA and will be receiving his masters in theology through Xavier University’s Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice in the Spring of 2018.  John owned BridgePointe Psychological and Counseling Services for seventeen years.  He managed and provided oversite to a company with over 55 doctors and clinicians.  Currently he is in private practice and consulting with various boards and companies.  John has been married for 28 years and has four children.  His family has been to Negril, Jamaica five times to provide mission work with the Franciscans of St. John Province.  He also has coached recreation sports in his community for over 15 years.