Our Staff


Irma G. Cruz, MBA, is Executive Director at the Claret Center. Irma holds a BA from Northeastern Illinois University and an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. As the Chief Executive Officer, Irma reports directly to the Board of Directors and is responsible for Claret Center’s consistent achievement of its mission. More about Irma

Katelyn Baker-Smith is the Operations Administrative Assistant at Claret Center. She is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, where she majored in Spanish and Political Science and minored in Arabic. More about Katey


Body-Centered Therapists

Kenji Aoki, L.Ac, Dipl ChH, DiplAcupuncture (NCCAOM), is a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbologist. He studied at the University of Chicago and has been trained in the New Meridian Therapy technique developed by Tetsuji Kondo. He studied Zen teachings under the late Professor Masao Abe. More about Kenji

Mary Holmquist, CST, is a graduate of the New School for Massage, Bodywork, and Healing and is a certified presenter of Centering Prayer. She is a skilled practitioner of craniosacral therapy. More about Mary

Patricia A. Walton, LMT, CMI, CVST, is a nationally certified and licensed Massage Therapist and an active member of the American Massage Therapy Association. She has a B.A. from Columbia College, Chicago, IL. She studied at the Chicago School of Massage Therapy. More about Patricia


Michael Bland, Psy.D., D. Min., L.C.P.C. holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.), a Doctorate in Ministry (D. Min.) in Pastoral Counseling, and is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. Michael is the Co-Supervisor for the Psychotherapy Training Program at Claret Center, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at Loyola University Chicago, Institute of Pastoral Studies since 2009. More about Michael

Jonathan Foiles, M.Div, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker and a staff psychotherapist at Claret Center. Prior to receiving his training in social work he completed a master’s of divinity degree. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration and has also completed a fellowship at the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis. More about Jonathan


Allan Schnarr, MDiv, PhD, is a practicing psychotherapist and retreat facilitator and was the director of Claret Center’s psychotherapy practicum from 1985 – 2019. More about Allan

Sarah Thompson, MBA, MA, LCPC, Sarah is a graduate of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology where she obtained her Masters in Counseling Psychology and began working for Claret’s Parish Counseling Program in 2015. She enjoys working with individuals as well as counseling couples, integrating client values into the counseling process. She especially enjoys collaborating with college and graduate students as they seek to understand and grow through various challenges life brings. More about Sarah
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Mary Worden, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and became the new Director for the Psychotherapy Training Program at Claret Center. Mary earned her Doctorate of Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and holds a Bachelors of Arts in Social Work from Ball State University in Indiana. More about Mary…

Psychotherapy Residents

*graduate work completed; supervised hours for licensing

Damaris Colón Soto, M.A, is a pre-licensed clinical mental health counselor. Damaris have acquired her master ’s degree from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Currently she provides counseling services at Claret Center and at St. Paul VI Church in Riverside, IL. More about Damaris.


Nancy Kennedy, RN, BSN, MAPC, LPC, is a graduate of the Master of Arts Pastoral Counseling program at Loyola University Chicago, Institute of Pastoral Studies. She is continuing on at Claret Center as a counseling resident. More about Nancy
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Patrice Nerone, MDiv, MAPC, RN, ACHT earned a dual master’s degree in Divinity and Pastoral Counseling from Loyola University Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Cleveland State University. She holds certification in clinical hypnotherapy and received advanced clinical training in grief and trauma counseling. Her approach to care is holistic, integrative, and culturally sensitive. Additionally, she offers a variety of mind-body interventions rooted in traditional healing practices.  More about Patrice

Rachel Schripsema, MAPC, is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Pastoral Studies, where she earned her Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling. She sees clients at Claret Center as a counseling resident and serves as parish counselor at Old St. Mary’s Parish in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. More about Rachel

Psychotherapy Interns


Clare Dolan, BFA, brings experiences from a diverse background to her counseling. Having earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, Clare is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Community Counseling at Loyola University Chicago. For the past few years, she has served as an Admission Counselor working to aid students and families with the college process. Clare enjoys spending time volunteering with Make-A- Wish at local Chicago events. More about Clare.

Jenni Dressler currently is completing her final year in the master’s program in pastoral counseling at Loyola University Chicago. She provides counseling services at Saint Mary of the Lake Parish in Buena Park and via telehealth. Jenni works with you to create a compassionate, warm, and safe relationship in which the blocks to healing and peace can be examined and addressed. She offers kind and intelligent care to support you in your personal, emotional, and spiritual growth. More about Jenni.

Georgina Lopez, BA, is pursuing a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, Counseling Practice at Roosevelt University. She serves as a Parish Counselor, Intern at St. Francis Xavier Church. She has gained clinical, volunteer, and work experiences that have prepared her to work with a diverse population. Gina has volunteered in different parishes, as well as worked with adolescents, adults, and youth groups. As a result of a previous internship, she has developed some experience working with individuals who exhibit symptoms of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. More about Georgina.

Norma Pocasangre, BBA, native of El Salvador, provides Counseling Services at St. Jerome Parish in Rogers Park, Chicago. Norma earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, in 1998 in El Salvador, and is now pursuing a Master of Art Degree in Pastoral Counseling. Norma has been a Religious Missionary Sister for 18 years and has ministered as a spiritual companion for youth, young adults and the elderly in Hong Kong and the West Coast of the United States. Norma is bilingual in both English and Spanish. More about Norma.

Certified Spiritual Directors

Helen Cahill, OP, MA, DMin, earned both her MTS and DMin from Catholic Theological Union. Helen’s ministry includes workshop and retreat facilitation as well as group supervision for religious community formators.

Carol Dwyer, SSND MA, CADC, is a member of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains and is a certified Addictions Counselor for the state of Illinois. She earned her MA in Pastoral Ministry from Fairfield University in Connecticut. Carol is fluent in Spanish and looks forward to the possibility of being able to use it in her ministry of Spiritual Direction here at Claret. More about Carol.

John Fontana, OSM, has served in various ministries, including spiritual direction, preached and directed retreats, parish mission preaching, religious formation, parish, and community leadership. He earned a Master of Christian Spirituality Degree from Creighton University, and has been a spiritual companion of women and men – laypersons, vowed religious and priests – for more than thirty years. More about John.

Maribeth Howell, OP, PhD, STD, is a Dominican Sister of Adrian, Michigan. She completed her doctoral studies at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, in Belgium. Maribeth is also a certified spiritual director. More about Maribeth.

Pauline La Mothe, OP, MEd, DMin, received her MEd and her CAGS in Psychology from Boston College and her DMin in Pastoral Counseling from Louisville Seminary. She does Spiritual Direction and facilitates formation communities and other groups. She has worked extensively with homeless populations and with congregational leadership.

Susan Pannier-Cass, BSW, is a Spiritual Director, certified Yoga and Meditation teacher, and Interfaith Minister, She holds a BSW from Loyola University. She works with individuals and small groups, and offers workshops to help foster greater awareness, growth and fulfillment in life. More about Susan.

Beth Saner, FSPA, earned her MA in Pastoral Studies from Catholic Theological Union. She is a Spiritual Director and co-facilitator of the Claret Center Spiritual Direction Internship. More about Beth

Ron Stua, MDiv, is a graduate of Catholic Theological Union. He received his Bachelor’s degree with a major in Spirituality from St. Louis University. Ron also completed the Spiritual Direction Internship at Claret Center. More about Ron