The Guild for Spiritual Guidance


Graduate Guild Grace Notes

Fall 2014


These were the gifts that welcomed those who made their way to Litchfield, CT, the weekend of September 19-21. Twenty-four Graduate Guild members gathered to listen and share together, and to engage as community the on-going spiritual journey that informs and transforms our lives.

On Saturday morning our meditation circle of 24 reached out in spirit beyond the space to all who could not physically join us, as well as surrounded and embraced an inner circle of 14 new apprentices. Each and every one of us blesses, and is blessed by, this living organization that has continued to grow, expand and stretch over 35- plus years.

Our theme for the weekend was, “Listening and Sharing To Build Community.” The content was based on the ground-breaking work of Marshall Rosenberg on Non-Violent Communication. With our leader Gail Syring, we explored ways of being passionate while remaining passionately at peace; staying present when our own feelings are triggered; remaining authentic as we open to another’s heart; and listening to our body as well as our mind.

As a way of learning to listen more deeply, we were asked to ponder the question, “What is alive in you – right now; in this moment?” It is a question many of us will find ourselves asking in the days and weeks ahead as we process the new skills placed in our hands during our time with Gail.

In addition to the theme-based learning of the weekend, we found time to learn from each other as well. Meal-time readings, group and quad sharing, prayers for guidance and gratitude, quiet walks, and evening wine and coffee all provided opportunities to be nurtured and nourished throughout our brief time together.

Wisdom from our

Retreat Weekend

When we focus on clarifying what is being observed, felt, and needed rather than on diagnosing and judging, we discover the depth of our own compassion.

Through its emphasis on deep listening—to ourselves as well as others—Non-Violent Communication fosters respect, attentiveness, and empathy, and engenders a mutual desire to give from the heart or connect to ourselves and others.

--Marshall Rosenberg

Spirituality of

Non-Violent Communication

Connect your actions to your spiritual values.

Transform enemy images and moralistic judgments.

Connect to our common humanity.

Overcome cultural conditioning that promotes violence.

Care for your own needs first to fuel compassion for others.

As we continue our individual journeys beyond the physical presence of community, I look forward to our next opportunity to be together.

Please mark your calendars for the Spring Graduate Guild Retreat – April 24-26, 2015. Carmen Lund, a graduate of Guild XI, will lead us through an experience of art as a way to connect to the deeper places of our soul that can, at times, be less accessible to words. Carmen writes, “Fear not! Our time together will be a fun and safe way to connect to your soul using art and paint to aid us in reaching our center.”

The weekend promises to be a special opportunity to share with Guild friends. Carmen will weave together the encouragement of Teilhard and Jung in regard to the creative life as she inspires us to put brush and color to paper for ourselves. “Art is not an end in itself. It introduces the soul into a higher spiritual order which it expresses and in some sense, explains” (Thomas Merton). I look forward to seeing all of you at Wisdom House this Spring. -- Cari Keith, Guild VII, Coordinator of Graduate Guild Programs


At our Annual Meeting in Spring 2013, we shared with you that the current level of human and financial Guild resources were not sustainable and in an effort to meet those needs we established a “Year of Discovery.” We invited anyone who so chose to become a “member at large” of the Steering Committee during this one-year period.

We want to especially thank Amy Hyatt (Guild XVI), Brian Tucker (Guild XII) and Wendy McGaffey (Guild X) for volunteering and for working with us for the last 17 months. Brian and Wendy have completed their Year of Discovery service. Amy will remain on the SC and Brian will continue his work on the Apprenticeship Program Committee.

Huge thanks to Pamela Zaitchick (Guild VIII), who has served on the Steering Committee 20 years! With new leadership emerging, Pamela has discerned that it is time for her to step aside from the Steering Committee. She will continue to be involved in the work of the Guild through sub-committees.Your generosity supported our fundraising efforts and provided crucial funds needed to operate the Guild. The Guild is very grateful. Unless and until we receive a substantial grant, the only way to continue to fund the Guild is through membership support.

Save the Date:

Spring Graduate Guild Retreat

Led by Carmen Lund, Guild XI

April 24-26, 2015

at Wisdom House, Litchfield, CT

The Year of Discovery initiated significant Guild transitions: 1. Most obvious is our new home at Wisdom House. Cari Keith and Lucille Naughton facilitated a ritual ‘crossing the threshold’ celebration honoring our transition to our new abode. 2. We formally acknowledge that our Guild experiences in the Apprenticeship and Graduate Guild Programs have been grounded within a strong sense of community and, as such, “Community” has been officially named our fourth strand. 3. In recognition of the multifaceted and diverse perspectives of our membership, as well as the emergence of multicultural, interfaith dialogue commonplace to future generations, the Guild embraces a more intentional interfaith approach within our programs.

Four brief reports updating our current status were provided: New Treasurer - Stephen Allen, Guild XVIII; Fall Fundraising Campaign - Alice DeNormandie, Guild XIII; Cari Keith, Guild XVI, new Graduate Guild Coordinator; and Apprenticeship Program report on Guild XIX, submitted by Dianne Disston and presented by Carolyn Nicosia.

The Steering Committee’s in-person meeting in July revised our outdated Bylaws. The Bylaws Committee, (Shawn Cribari, Carolyn Nicosia and chair, Stephen Allen) provided the necessary edits. At the Annual Meeting, Stephen Allen presented background information and the Bylaws for approval by those present at the Annual Meeting. They were accepted by near-unanimous consensus with two members standing aside. For an explanation of the Bylaws changes, click here. For the complete Bylaws, click here.

Our new Bylaws no longer limit SC membership to Class Representatives thereby providing an opportunity for every Graduate Guild member to participate. Please consider joining our efforts either on the Steering Committee itself or as a member of an on-going sub-committee. Also, if you are interested in working part-time as Guild Administrator, please contact me directly at [email protected]

We have joined the “Smile Amazon” program, which contributes a small percentage of qualified Amazon purchases to participating charities. You may go to our website, go to the “Donate by Shopping” page and by clicking the “Smile Amazon” widget, you will be brought to the “Smile Amazon” portal to the regular Amazon website. A very small percentage of all purchases will be credited to the Guild on a quarterly basis. Here is the link to the “Smile Amazon” portal: click here.

Lastly, I’m happy to say that this retreat was the first weekend that the Graduate Guild Retreat and Apprenticeship Program Opening Retreat were held on the same weekend. Our membership joined our new Apprentices for Silent Meditation on Saturday morning in the chapel at Wisdom House. Holly Moore, AP Assistant to the Coordinator, concluded the meditation with a reading by Henri Nouwen on community. It was such a pleasure to be together in the Great Silence.



Bernice Marie-Daly, Guild II, Steering Committee Chair


Through the miracle of the internet, a group of committed Guild members stay in touch via e-mail and pray for Guild members’ intentions. To join this online community Prayer Team or to ask for prayers for your intentions, please email Doreen Grosso, Guild XVI, [email protected]


Guild XIX is a diverse group of 14 Apprentices. The Apprenticeship Program Committee’s decision to focus the Opening Weekend on Community proved to be a great way to form a circle of trust. We created a covenant together and did brief introductions to each of the Strands and each of the components (Silence, Quads, Dyads, etc.) that make up our weekend schedules.

For the first time ever, the Graduate Guild met on the same weekend as the Opening Weekend of the Apprenticeship Program. The Wisdom House campus is large enough that both groups had their own separate spaces. However, a very special part of the Opening Weekend was sitting in our first Saturday morning meditation circle surrounded by the Graduate Guild, also seated in silence.

Guild XIX’s two-year program is set. As part of our interfaith exploration, we have a Rabbi and a Sufi Master coming to be with the Apprentices as part of the Mystics Strand in Year 1 and Year 2. For one of our Friday evening “Groundwork in Spiritual Guidance” sessions, we are hoping to find someone who might offer us an evening of Kirtan on March 20, 2015 – does anyone in the Graduate Guild know someone who practices this Hindu form of chanting? -- Dianne Disston, Coordinator, Apprenticeship Program

Editor’s note: For Dianne’s full report, given by Carolyn Nicosia at the Annual Meeting, click here. For the outline of the two-year Apprenticeship Program schedule, click here.



GinnA Callahan, Guild XV

From Julie Gross, Guild XIII: With sadness I write to tell you that GinnA Callahan passed on today (10/17/14). Many of you know she had been ill for many years, even before she entered Guild XV. Knowing dear GinnA these many years has been a gift beyond measure. With the love and hugs of family and friends, she is with the God of Peace.

Below are words from an email GinnA sent me some time ago. It was written before one of the many surgeries she endured.

"God's plan is a mystery, but within all this chaos I feel calm. I feel at peace and God is taking care of me. I have no idea where this journey will take me, but amazingly I'm not afraid. And to me there is no greater assurance of God's Grace than that I can say this.”

Juanita Middlebrook, Guild VII

Juanita passed away on October 18, in the company of her loving family. They shared this poem with us in Juanita’s memory.

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side, spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone." Gone where? Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast, hull and spar as she was when she left my side.

And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me – not in her. And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone," there are other eyes watching her coming,

and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

And that is dying....

-- Henry Van Dyke


I start a chaplaincy program in September. Still doing massage full time and teaching yoga. I loved being at last celebration at Mariandale.

Blessing to all!

Mimi Normile, Guild XI

Dear Greater Guild members,

After coming to the last GG Retreat and enjoying being with you so much, it is with very great regret that I cannot be with you in September. I leave for Zurich at that time to give 4 lectures and a two-day seminar to students in training at ISAP (International School of Analytical Psychology Zurich).

I ask that you keep me in your prayers as I recover from a torn meniscus knee arthroscopy a few weeks ago. My healing goes well, but it takes a toll on my energy and stamina for now.

I hope to be with you again in the Spring.

My regards and best wishes to all,

Penelope Yungblut, Guild I

I'm afraid my move from Connecticut to Indiana has made traveling a bit problematic for this 86-year-old. I will be unable to attend the Fall retreat and possibly none in the future. It's called "honoring my diminishments"! I'm glad I was able to attend a few retreats before I moved. Now I know what I'll be missing.

My best to all involved,

Lee Sullivan, Guild VIII

Hi Cari and Guild Friends,

I've had a silly fall that caused my neck to break. I'm still in a nursing home, so won't be able to make the weekend. However, if I had plenty of money and great health I couldn't get there. Can't drive.

I would love to be with you next week, but ask that you keep me in your prayers.

God bless you. Maureen Doyle, Guild XVIII

Dear Guild Members,

Sorry not to be able to come. Hoping maybe in the Spring. Lots of us are in pretty close touch.

Hope you have a good week-end.


Gin Hamel, Guild XVIII

Dear Friends,

If you receive the paper version of this newsletter, and you are interested in the material accessed through online links, please drop me a note, and I will be happy to print out the additional articles and mail them to you. Or if you have an email address where you can receive messages, I will forward the newsletter there.

We are looking for a volunteer or a team of volunteers to work on this newsletter and, we hope, to create more frequent issues that would be sent via e-mail. If you have skills in this realm, please consider expressing them through the Guild. Work on the newsletter can be done on your own time – it’s a more flexible volunteer job than one that requires committee meetings. If you think you might be interested, please call or email me.


Shawn Cribari, Guild XVI

2611 Darnley Place, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598; 914-275-8015; [email protected]

A gentle reminder—

The Guild needs your financial support!

Please include the Guild in your year-end giving plans. The simplest way to give is through the Guild’s online giving portal: Click Here To Donate

You may make a monthly gift or a one-time gift through the online portal.

Or, you can send a one-time gift via check, payable to The Guild for Spiritual Guidance, to Stephen J. Allen, Treasurer, 3 North Cross Road, Staatsburg, NY 12580.

Shop via “Smile Amazon” and Amazon will donate .5% of your purchase to the Guild. You can access Smile Amazon here: click here. Or go to the Guild's website [], click on the "Donate by Shopping" page, the click on the "Smile Amazon" logo.

Consider Including the Guild in Your Will

Imagine what the Guild might accomplish a generation from now if each of us remembered the Guild in our will or estate plan? The impact would be huge!

Please consult with your attorney and/or financial advisor about how you can take care of your heirs and also leave a legacy to the Guild. Our legal title is “The Guild for Spiritual Guidance, Inc.”

For information: Click Here

Graduate Guild Grace Notes

is published by the



Bernice Marie-Daly (III)


Stephen J. Allen (XVIII)


Shawn Cribari (XVI)


Member Representatives

Alice DeNormandie (XIII)

Amy Hyatt (XVI)

Carolyn Nicosia (II)

Michael Petrow (XVIII)

Susan Robinson (XVII)

Denise Tangney (XII)



Dianne Disston



Carolyn Keith (VII)



Bernice Marie-Daly

Stephen J. Allen

Shawn Cribari


Alice DeNormandie

Steven J. Allen


Michael Petrow


Alice DeNormandie

Shawn Cribari


Denise Tangney, Bernice Marie-Daly, Cari Keith, Susan Robinson, Diane-Ellen McCarron, Amy Hyatt


Dianne Disston, Holly Moore,

Jane O’Shaughnessy, Carolyn Nicosia, Brian Tucker


Cari Keith, Amy Hyatt, Susan Robinson, Diane-Ellen McCarron,

Doreen Grosso, Carolyn Nicosia