I'm Mother Leia, an ordained priest with full faculties in the OPEN CATHOLIC CHURCH, an Independent Catholic Community:
OPEN because we are inclusive of all religions;
CATHOLIC because we believe in the universality of faith; and
CHURCH because we serve all of God's people.
My 45 years of ministerial experience with my advanced academic and professional degrees have given me a sound and solid foundation in theology, spirituality, and professional ministry.
I have my Ph.D. in Metaphysical Humanistic Science. I am a Certified Spiritual Counselor, Holistic Life Coach, and Hypnotist. I am a Professional Member of the International Metaphysical Practitioner's Association; as well as an Affiliate Member of the European Network of Healthcare Chaplains and the Association of Professional Chaplains in the U.S. I received my double masters in Pastoral Ministry and Theological Studies at the Franciscan School of Theology, a member school of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. I took my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Residency at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Prior to my becoming an ordained priest, I was a Roman Catholic Contemplative Benedictine nun with the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, where I lived a cenobitic monastic life -- a balanced life of Ora et Labora (Prayer and Work).
Why did I leave the monastery? The only way I could explain it is that, the Voice who called me in was the same Voice who called me out. Hence, obedient to that Sacred Voice, I left my monastic life and continue to serve God outside of the cloister.
Why did I leave the Roman Catholic Church? Let me first draw your attention to Peter and the other apostles in Acts 5:29, when they were given strict order not to teach in the name of Jesus, the Christ, they responded: "We must obey God rather than human beings!" (NIV). Since the Roman Catholic Church does not ordain women, which is not theological and scripturally-based, and the Spirit of God calls me to ordained ministry, like Peter and the other apostles, I felt compelled to obey God rather than human beings. After all, the word "catholic" means "universal" and "church" means "people." In the Open Catholic Church, we live out the true meaning of our faith and we are indeed open to the universality of God's people. "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28; NIV).
My skill set as a spiritual mentor and holistic life coach, come from my deeper faith-filled and contemplative Self; coupled with my years of training and experience as a Senior Chaplain, Spiritual Director, Pastoral/Spiritual/Bereavement Counselor, Director of Faith Formation, Pastoral Associate, Retreat Director and a Reiki Master. My clinical spiritual care experience is wide and varied: from neonatal intensive care to trauma to end-of-life care. In my ministry, I have the privilege of journeying with people from all walks of life with different faiths, beliefs, cultures, ethnicities, sexual orientations, age groups, and economic status.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know me. Allow me to get to know you, as well, so that I may better serve you.