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Are you restless or hungry for more in your life? Are you seeking wisdom or looking for inspiration? The gospel gave guidance to Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi as they followed the footprints of Jesus some 800 years ago. The witness of their lives and values continue to inspire those of us on a spiritual journey today. Join Sister Michelle L’Allier and her guests for a time of shared reflection and conversation.

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May 18, 2022

Join Brent Anderson as he tells stories from his experiences in the Enchanted Mountains of the Alleghany River Valley, in rural Uganda, and in the challenges of health care in Sacramento. Brent opens up learnings gleaned from work with trauma, poverty, healing divisions, and equipping people with skills do dialogue across polarities, thus deepening relationships and strengthening communal resilience.


From Brent’s interview:

“As a chaplain…. I learned so much more about the movement of Spirit in and through the lives of my patients that were experiencing it in such a practical way. You know, from the powerful ways the Spirit moves in our vulnerability and our pain, and also what really is mattering to people; many graced moments of "the ordinary".  But I was also present to the utterly extraordinary. I got to hear over a hundred first-hand near-death experiences. As people would recount these vivid encounters when they reached kind of that brink of death and then have this experience of this luminous divine healing light, or encountering past family members. … The ministry was like an extreme sport. It was the extremes of trauma and the extremes of grace. Sometimes in the exact same encounter.”


“The area of town where our clinic and hospital are is an area where there's a lot of poverty where people have significant social challenges, higher rates of traumatic upbringings, and that also does include human trafficking. This clinic team, feeling the horror of the reality of human trafficking, wondered if they could do something more about it. And so fast forward … to just two years later, this team had successfully established the nation's very first medical home for human trafficking survivors; it's a key part now of a multi-agency process that wraps survivors with the kind of multiple layers of support. They found their passion in service and went on to literally write the book in trauma informed care for survivors of human trafficking. … Our physicians, our nurses, our medical assistants all coalesced around this ministry. And this medical home model for survivors of human trafficking is now being replicated nationwide.”

“For me, the most important part of spiritual direction is Franciscan presence. It's so core to the work. The inner quiet and the prevalent attention creates spaciousness to welcome the soul of the other. I think of it as Franciscan hospitality, but at the level of soul. … I think that's the power of Franciscan presence in spiritual direction that helps people be open to the healing and the integrated work of the Spirit.”


“I think the Franciscan values of active peacemaking and tending in an integral ecology contains the wisdom that our world needs right now to bridge the divides that we have today. I'm stunned that all of our children go through an education system where they learn about science and history and math and a foreign language, but they never learn the language of the heart and how to deeply listen to the soul of another human being. And while trained chaplains and spiritual directors do this with Franciscan presence on a professional level, I think we’d live in such a more connected and loving place if even a critical mass of us had some training in how to hold this kind of space for each other.”


For a full transcript, please include episode number and email:



St. Bonaventure University: and Mount Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Community:


Franciscan School of Theology (FST): ; FST was previously in Berkeley, part of the Graduate Theological Union:


Alleghany River and the Enchanted Mountains: ;  for some comic relief in this substantial conversation, rope swing over a river:


Semester at Sea:


Spiritual Exercises, Jesuit 30-day retreat:


Greccio, the story of the first live nativity, initiated by Saint Francis, in Greccio Italy, 1 Celano 30:84-87


“If you want peace, work for justice” – a quote by Pope Paul VI. An introductory article that links to the original text and further resources:


Millennium Villages: 


World Health Organization Global Fund: an article re: HIV and health systems


Child mortality from easily preventable disease:


History of Leprosy: ; an exploration of Saint Francis’ doing penance, showing mercy with lepers:


Near-Death Experiences:  


CommonSpirit Health (formerly Dignity Health) Human Trafficking, trauma response, training resources


Wendy Barnes: and her book: “And Life Continues: Sex Trafficking and My Journey to Freedom”:


Healing Divisions, founded by Brent Anderson: ;

"Conflict to Connection: Science & Spirituality for Engaging Across Divides" Zoom retreat:

Healing Divisions Spiritual Direction Ministry ,


Spiritual Directors International: ; spiritual directors accompany individuals or groups in deepening their spiritual lives and their relationship with God. See interview with Teresa Blythe:; for further exploration, listen to Sister Michelle at: