A Community of Benedictine Sisters in Fort Smith, Arkansas

Meet Our Retreat Presenters

Sr. Rachel Dietz, OSB

Sr. Rachel Dietz, OSB

Sr. Rachel Dietz, a licensed clinical and social worker and a licensed marriage and family therapist, has given many retreats and workshops for individuals and groups for more than 20 years. Currently she directs the Spiritual Director Formation program at St. Scholastica Retreat Center and has a small counseling practice.


Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB

Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB

Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB is a member of St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith. She is well known for her writings and her retreat ministry. Her latest work, Abide: keeping vigil with the Word of God, was released by Liturgical Press in September, 2011.


Velma Frye, M.Mus.Ed

Velma Frye, M.Mus.Ed

Velma Frye (left in picture) is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist with a strong background in classical and popular styles who performed nine times on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion and went on a 6-college tour with Garrison as his pianist and vocal duet partner. Her fourth CD, Sacred Pauses, puts Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB’s poetry in Seven Sacred Pauses to music. While continuing to perform, record, and teach piano, Velma leads weekly singing circles for women and for mixed chorus. She also puts these skills to use in workshops and retreats.


Nick Cole

Nick Cole

Nicholas G. Cole, MD, has been practicing prayer since attending his first ten-day retreat in Snowmass, Colorado in May, 1990. In 1991 he was commissioned to teach the prayer and has presented numerous introductory workshops. He began serving retreats at Snowmass (St. Benedict's Monastery Retreat Center) in 1993. Nick is now retired from the active practice of medicine. He does some volunteer medical clinic work and teaches in the residency program in the University of Colorado in Denver. He also continues to share the prayer through retreat work and centering prayer workshops. He is married to Carolyn and they share five children and nine grandchildren. Nick and Carolyn divide their time between Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Morrison, Colorado.


Father Tom Elliot

Father Tom Elliot

Fr. Tom Elliott is the pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas. He has been a priest in the diocese since 1999. He received certification as a spiritual director through the Institute of Priestly Formation. He is an active retreat leader and spiritual director who enjoys teaching RCIA and providing adult faith formation. He often expresses his spirituality through music, photography, art, and videography.

"My hope is that everything I do as a priest and everything I am as a priest gives people an opportunity to encounter the living God and encourages them to deepen their personal prayer life," Fr. Tom said. "I've come to understand that personal prayer is essential for Christian apostleship and is the path to deepening intimacy with God."


Jillian Guthrie, LCSW

Jillian Guthrie, LCSW

Jillian Guthrie, LCSW is a mental health therapist, and Founder and Presenter of the organization Healers in Balance, created to identify and address the challenges faced by those in the helping professions; fostering health in healers and their work environments. Working in the field for the past 25 years, she has a range of experience that includes State and Private Counseling Clinics, Child Welfare/Juveniles, Homeless, Emergency Services, Adjunct Professor, and Clinical Supervisor/Trainer. In addition to providing presentations/workshops, consultation, interviews, and literature through her organization, she has a successful private practice in Eureka Springs, AR. Workshop participants have described Jillian’s speaking style as open, insightful, interactive, challenging, humorous, genuine, and real-world experienced.

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