53 Mill Street, Westfield, MA 01085 • 413.562.3627
Date:August 28th, 2021.
Time:9:00 AM to 5:00 PM




This workshop is an overview and introduction to the history and practice of BioSpiritual Focusing and includes prayer, presentations, experiential exercises, reflection, and discussion. No prior experience with Focusing is needed. This workshop is a prerequisite for other BioSpiritual Focusing programs at Genesis.


What is BioSpiritual Focusing?

BioSpiritual Focusing provides a way to bring the body's sense for grace and God into everyday awareness, helping you to become more fully present to yourself, others and to God.  This process is based on the work of Dr. Eugene Gendlin, which was further developed by Frs. Edwin McMahon and Peter Campbell who identified the process implications for Christian spirituality.  As you participate in this life-giving and life-changing process, you will become more aware of the sacred story you carry in your own body and the movement of Grace in your life. 

Focusing is a simple and practical way to access your own bodily wisdom.  It is the place within you of unfolding creativity and healing.  Learning takes place in the respectful atmosphere of small groups. 


Cost: $80, includes lunch.


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Leaders (l to r): Sr. Elizabeth Oleksak, SP, Becky Crane, Kathy Irr, Annemarie O’Connor, Donna O’Connor, Mike Smoolca


Sr. Elizabeth Oleksak, SP, foundress of Genesis, is an experienced retreat and spiritual director and BioSpiritual Focusing facilitator. Sr. Elizabeth has a background in pastoral counseling.  She studied Centering Prayer with the Trappist Monks in the 1970's. She is also an eco-spirituality resource person.

Becky Crane, LICSW, is a spiritual companion and licensed psychotherapist. She is a member of the BioSpiritual Focusing team at Genesis, companioning individuals and co-leading workshops and retreats. She is an active lay leader in both her UCC congregation and an outdoor ecumenical worshiping community.

Kathy Irr, RN is a certified spiritual director, retreat leader, and BioSpiritual Focusing facilitator and author of two books.  She lives in Norwich, CT with her husband and has two married sons. 

Annemarie O’Connor, MA, MSW, has a background in social work and pastoral ministry. She is active in retreat ministry, spiritual direction, and Biospiritual Focusing, and has also served on contemplative formation and servant leadership teams. She contributes to the Passionists’ work at the UN, advocating for girls’ human rights and empowerment.

Donna O’Connor completed the Spiritual Direction Internship Program in Bloomfield, CT in 2006.  She has focused her 1:1 work entirely at Genesis since that time. Having taught fitness/yoga classes for over thirty years now, Donna has a particular interest in helping people who struggle with weight, body image and disordered eating, and is experienced in 12-Step Spirituality.

Mike Smoolca is the coordinator of the North-Central CT Chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society. He has been a student of Merton for over 15 years and has been presenting Thomas Merton programs since 2013.  Mike is a practicing Spiritual Director, a student of BioSpiritual Focusing, a Commissioned Contemplative Outreach Presenter of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina and a leader in the local Christian Contemplative Community

Please Indicate:

Is this your first program at Genesis?

How did you hear about this program?

*Type Of Registration Desired:


Medically oriented dietary or mobility needs?


*Semi-private room requests, please call 413-562-3627

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Truly, it is in the darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us.
- Meister Eckhart