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.


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.


Diana McKendree

Diana McKendree

Diana's passion is working with creativity through the dream, images, the body and all manner of material. This has led her to explore a wide variety of professions – from fashion to psychology. Trained as a Jungian psychotherapist, Diana is a skilled educator, an international keynote speaker, consultant, leader of pilgrimages and an iconographer. As a senior presenter with the Haden Institute since 1998, teaching Spiritual Direction and Dreamwork, Diana has deepened her passion for the integration of the unconscious into body and life, embracing the true teachings of Christianity's Wisdom tradition. Ordained an Interfaith Minister, Diana continues to search for the common threads that weave humanity and soul together.


Lance Sawyer

Lance Sawyer

Lance grew up in Monroeville, Alabama where he began following Christ at age 12 and preached his first sermon at age 16. He received his Bachelor’s degree at Auburn University in Montgomery, his Masters of Divinity at New Orleans Seminary and his Doctorate of Ministry at Samford University in Birmingham. This year marks Lance’s 20th year in ministry. He led two churches in Alabama, and then served as senior pastor of FBC Muskogee, OK for 10 years before coming to Mena.

Lance and his wife Melina are now celebrating 20 years of marriage. They have two children – Luke, age 14 and Jake, age 16. Lance likes taking long walks with Melina and sitting on his porch with a good cup of coffee. But most of all he loves the constant pursuit of God – forever seeking and finding and following the Christ he met as a child.

His life verse is Matthew 7:7 "Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened unto you."


Beth Fritsch

Beth Fritsch

Beth Fritsch Beth Fritsch is a midlife traveler, a soul-midwife, a depth companion and poet. A writer in community in Cincinnati, Ohio, Beth is a lifelong learner, with graduate degrees in business and education who is currently completing her graduate studies in Theology and Spiritual Direction. Beth has facilitated weekly writing groups for women and men and has also led weekend Soul Writing weekend retreats. A follower and lover of the mystical path, Beth believes the continued cultivation of the poetic imagination is the best single thing one can do to enrich the life of the soul.

Visit Beth's Website


Cackie Upchurch

Cackie Upchurch

Cackie Upchurch taps into years of experience in Bible study and adult faith formation to share the life-giving message of Scripture. She serves as director of Little Rock Scripture Study, associate editor of The Bible Today and contributor to Give Us This Day.

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