About Mother Leia
Greetings! I'm Mother Leia, an ordained priest with full faculties in the Open Catholic Church, an Independent Catholic Community. Prior to my becoming a priest, I was a contemplative Benedictine nun with the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, where I lived a monastic life--a Life of Prayer, albeit a balanced life of ora et labora (prayer and work). I continue to be a contemplative and I journey with those who wish to live a contemplative life.
For 35 years now, I have been serving the spiritual and pastoral needs of individuals, couples and families alike. In my sessions with them, I noticed that they all seem to have a common struggle and that is, "no time" or "not enough time" to pray, to meditate, to reflect, or to go on a spiritual retreat. In short, their inability to balance their spiritual life and personal life has tremendous repercussions on their spirituality. Their lives have become so fragmented that they are unable to see and experience that the Kingdom of God is within them and in their midst (Luke 17:21). Moreover, their life is full of distractions that they find it difficult to separate their "needs" from their "wants," therefore, their relationship with God suffers. Additionally, couples with children find it even more challenging to go on spiritual retreats due to the demands of family life.
According to T.S. Eliot: "Home is where one starts from." Our home is a reflection of who we are and reveals what we value. Our spirituality should be nurtured within oneself, and sustained in one's own home; after all, "Home is where the heart is." (Pliny the Elder). Additionally, according to Mother Teresa: "Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do...but how much love we put in that action." Putting a lot of efforts in self-transformation and in making one's own home a sanctuary, will make a difference in one's spiritual life. In most cases, it is in our own home where we encounter the Sacred in the daily ordinariness of life.
My academic and professional background provided me with a holistic approach to spiritual care and pastoral counseling. I am currently finishing my doctorate in Metaphysics, specializing in Spiritual Counseling and Life Coaching.
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. Aside from my graduate level pastoral counseling and theological studies, I completed my undergraduate psychology courses, majoring in Behavioral Science, and have taken doctoral level psychology courses in Transpersonal Psychology, which is an integration of spirituality and psychology.
My skill set as a spiritual mentor come from my faith-filled and contemplative living, coupled with my years of training and experience as a Chaplain, Spiritual Director, Pastoral/Spiritual/Bereavement Counselor, Director of Faith Formation, Pastoral Associate, Retreat Director and a Reiki Master. My clinical pastoral care experience is wide and varied: from neonatal intensive care to trauma to end-of-life care. I worked in a variety of settings; i.e., parishes, hospitals, long-term care facilities, hospices, and private homes. I have had the privilege of journeying with people from all walks of life with different faiths, beliefs, cultures, ethnicities, sexual orientations, age groups, and economic status. I have served as a member of interdisciplinary care team for many years. I specialize in assessing psycho-spiritual pains; as well as, in providing palliative and end-of-life care. My clinical expertise includes but not limited to: psycho-spiritual assessments, non-pharmacological interventions, mind-body medicine, and education/training. For educational and training purposes, I created a PowerPoint on “Triquetra of Human Needs,” a holistic model, where I demonstrate the complexity of a whole person and clearly illustrate the interconnectedness of physiological, psychosocial, and psycho-spiritual needs.