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

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 and serves as parish counselor at St. Francis Xavier Parish in LaGrange, Illinois. More about Nancy
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Michael P. McCauley, MA, LPC offers compassionate support to people who’ve experienced depression, anxiety, relationship challenges and significant life changes, and also helps clients in their search for spirituality and meaning. He celebrates the goodness and strength of his clients, and offers sessions that are nurturing, captivating and goal oriented. More about Michael

Patrice Nerone, MDiv, MAPC, RN, ACHT, sees clients at Claret Center and at St. Clement Parish in Lincoln Park. Patrice has earned Master’s Degrees in Divinity and Pastoral Counseling from Loyola University Chicago. Formerly a nurse at Cleveland Clinic, she holds an advanced certification in clinical hypnotherapy, and has also received training in Ignatian spiritual direction, the enneagram of personality types and grief counseling. 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

Damaris Colon-Soto, BA, a native of Puerto Rico, provides counseling services at Claret Center and at St. Mary’s Church in Riverside. She holds a BA in Psychology from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico and is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. More about Damaris

Alejandra Sastoque, BS, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in her native Colombia, and is now pursuing Master’s degrees in Divinity and Pastoral Counseling at Loyola University Chicago. She serves as Parish Counselor at St. Jerome Church in Rogers Park. Aleja also helps to run youth and young adult groups at St. Mark’s Parish in Kenosha, WI, and volunteers at a shelter for women who’ve experienced domestic violence. More about Alejandra

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.

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.

Marybeth Martin, PHJC, received a Master’s degree in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University Chicago, spiritual direction training from the Institute of Spiritual Leadership in Chicago, spiritual direction internship at Claret Center and supervision training from the Institute of Spiritual Guidance at Siena Retreat Center, Racine, WI. More about Marybeth.

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

Harlan “Frank” Showers, M. Div, is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). He has been certified in the work of Spiritual Direction by the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation (Bethesda Md.) specializing in group spiritual direction and contemplative group leadership. More about Frank

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