Host Bios

John Blumberg is a full-time speaker and author exploring a deeper and broader understanding of integrity as a state of being whole, entire and undiminished. Over the last 5 years he has become a student of contemplation with a consistent daily practice.

Mary Beth Coleman worked for over 35 years in social services primarily with the Illinois Department of Human Services. She is an Associate of the Sisters of Charity, BVM, participated in the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises and contemplative prayer groups at Old St. Patrick’s.

Kate DeVries, a certified pastoral associate in the Archdiocese of Chicago, recently left a parish position to return to the field of special education. She has been involved with and enjoying the benefits of contemplative prayer for the past three years.


Al Gustafson is a spiritual director and leads retreats on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and contemplative prayer. In addition to his work in ministry, he is active in non-profit organizations supporting early childhood education and pediatric brain cancer research.

Bill Hassett has led and participated in many faith formation experiences from Christ Renews His Parish, to parish and retreat center programs to business ethics trainings. After a 40-year career in accounting and finance, Bill now focuses his work on helping faith based and other nonprofits grow stronger by simplifying strategy and diagnosing the critical steps to change.

Vince Keenan is the leader of the “Noisy Contemplatives”, a group of extroverts who avoided contemplation for years, because we could not figure out how to be still or quiet for 1 minute, no less 20 minutes. Prodded by church mates, he has been involved in many contemplative adventures for the past 7 years. He has worked in non-profit organizations at the corner of public health and primary care during his career.

Mary Beth McEuen is a business executive and thought leader in unleashing human potential drawing from the neuroscience of human behavior. She has practiced contemplative prayer for over 20 years and is a Living School alum. Her work integrates mindfulness and brain science into human thriving programs for businesses and the families they touch.

Eileen O’Shea is a member of the BVM Associate Coordinator Team. After a 30-year career at AT&T, where she led workshops and seminars on the quality of work life, Eileen served as the manager of the Career Transitions Center (CTC), Chicago.

Julia Pryce is a mother of three girls (ages 9, almost 7, and 4.5) and lives in Oak Park, Il. She is a professor at Loyola University Chicago in the School of Social Work, and is devoted to considering how elements of contemplative practice can contribute to her work, family, and community life.

Margie Rudnik has been a member of an intentional lay-based Roman Catholic community in Oak Park, IL for the last 40 years. Until retirement, she worked with hospice and palliative care programs as manager and consultant for 25 years. She has been practicing and studying contemplation and Centering Prayer for the last three years.

Ed Shurna
Former Jesuit seminarian who found community organizing as the best way to live out my vocation. On a long journey to hear discern God’s call in the midst of life. Looking forward to meeting new friends on our contemplative journey.

Ed Siderewicz is a life-long educator and has committed his life to carrying out the educational philosophy and pedagogy of St. John Baptist De La Salle. A former De La Salle Christian Brother and Living School alum, he looks forward to sharing the contemplative journey with others.

Linda Tomasello
has worked in eldercare for the past 17 years, especially with those living with dementia. She has participated in the Ignatian spiritual exercises and contemplative prayer groups at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Naperville, and enjoys soaking up the wisdom of all the voices of the contemplative community.

Ellen Wiggins is a committed adventurer of contemplative circles, Ellen has practiced with communities in the Ignatian exercises, Adventures in Contemplation, the Well Spirituality Center, Parker Palmers’ Circle of Trust and in her Episcopal tradition.