Mentor Biographies

Biographies of Mentors to the Sacred Art of Living Center

The following persons continue to be important mentors to the work of Sacred Art of Living Center.  Each of them has been involved in an aspect of the mission and work of SALC through their own extraordinary contributions to contemporary spirituality.  We are proud to have been associated with the work of each of these mentors.  Whether living or deceased, their vision has profoundly influenced ours!


Brother Roger was the founder and spiritual mentor of the Taizé Community of Taizé, France, an ecumenical monastic community.  In an era seemingly characterised by religious strife, the Taizé community is one place where spiritual barriers simply collapse in the face of the simple but effective rounds of worship, music and community life.  The Groves met Brother Roger several times in Taize to discuss the formation of SALC's vision and have led pilgrimages to Taize.  The monthly Taize prayer service hosted by SALC remains an important spiritual link to Brother Roger's vision.


Joseph Bernardin was an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Chicago from 1982 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1983.  Richard and Mary Groves contributed to Cardinal Bernadin's Common Ground Project, America's first Jewish-Christian dialogue, through the creation of their De Sales Video Study series in the 1980s.  


Dame Cicely Saunders' work with terminally ill patients which led her to found St. Christopher's Hospice in North London, England, in the 1960s. St. Christopher's is largely regarded as the model for the modern hospice movement, which emphasizes a holistic approach to caring for the dying.  Dr. Saunder's was enthusiastic about the Sacred Art of Living and Dying series because, she wrote, "Spirituality is the most overlooked factor in relieving pain..."


At the age of 98 Shigeaki Hinohara is one of the world's longest-serving physicians and educators. Hinohara's magic touch is legendary: Since 1941 he has been healing patients at St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo and teaching at St. Luke's College of Nursing. After World War II, he envisioned a world-class hospital and college springing from the ruins of Tokyo; thanks to his pioneering spirit and business savvy, the doctor turned these institutions into the nation's top medical facility and nursing school.  Always willing to try new things, he has published around 150 books since his 75th birthday, including one "Living Long, Living Good" that has sold more than 1.2 million copies. As the founder of the New Elderly Movement, Hinohara encourages others to live a long and happy life, a quest in which no role model is better than the doctor himself.  


Mother Teresa was an Albanian Roman Catholic nun with Indian citizenship who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (Calcutta), India in 1950. For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity's expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries.  In 1997 Mother Teresa wrote to the Groves, "Your work will guarantee that the hospice model will address the suffering of the heart as well as the body."


Franciscan Sr. José Hobday was an influential spiritual lecturer, author and storyteller in Tucson, Ariz. Hobday, a Native American, thought that Christians have much to learn from the Native American tradition, including how to make prayer more creation-centered, how to have a greater appreciation of the connection between the living and the dead, how to love and respect silence and cherish solitude, and how to place a greater emphasis on celebration. Native Americans, she once said, have a tradition of creating sacred space within the natural environment and then "giving it back."  Jose was a friend of the Groves for more than 30 years and they collaborated on numerous occasions through retreat and spiritual study programs.


Bede Griffiths was a Benedictine monk who went to India in the 1950's, to "discover the other half of my soul." He donned the saffron robes of a Hindu monk and revitalized a Catholic ashram in southern India.  By the time of his death he had become a leading figure of Christian-Hindu dialogue.  Bede's writings were at the heart of Sacred Art of Living Center's Art of Spiritual Discernment program which trained more than 200 spiritual directors through interspiritual studies.


Father Thomas Keating entered the Cistercian Order in Valley Falls, Rhode Island in January, 1944. He was appointed Superior of St. Benedict’s Monastery, Snowmass, Colorado in 1958, and was elected abbot of St. Joseph's Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts in 1961. He returned to Snowmass after retiring as abbot of Spencer in 1981, where he established a program of ten-day intensive retreats in the practice of Centering Prayer, a contemporary form of the Christian contemplative tradition.  Abbot Thomas is a faculty member for the Anamcara Apprenticeship Program.


Richard Rohr, O.F.M., is a Franciscan priest ordained in 1970. He is an internationally known inspirational speaker known for his recorded talks and numerous books. Rohr was the founder of the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1971 and the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1986 where he currently serves as Founding Director.  Scripture as liberation, the integration of action and contemplation, community building, peace and social justice issues, male spirituality, the Enneagram and eco-spirituality are among the many themes that he addresses in his writing and preaching.  Richard and Mary Groves are honored to consider Richard and long time friend and companion in spiritual education.  Rohr has spoken to SALC audiences numerous times over the years.


Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, better known as Reb Zalman, was born in Poland raised in Vienna, and ordained as a rabbi in New York.  He is the pioneering father of the Jewish Renewal movement, founder of the Spiritual Eldering Institute, and an active and original teacher of Jewish mysticism.  His book, From Age-ing to Sage-ing is one of the great classics of the 20th century and a center piece of the Sacred Art of Living & Dying. Reb Zalman is an honorary faculty member of the Anamcara Project. 


Michael Kearney, M.D., trained and worked at St. Christopher's Hospice in London with Dame Cicely Saunders, in Dublin at Our Lady's Hosice and with Dr. Balfour Mount in Montreal.  He is currently a Medical Director of the Palliative Care Service at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and an Associate Medical Director at Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care.  He acts as medical director to the Anamcara Project and is integrally involved in the development of the new apprenticeship program which will be launched in 2010.


Richard and Mary Groves are the Founding Directors of the Sacred Art of Living Center.  Since 1977 their vision and creative talents have produced a remarkable volume of education and training projects that have affected the lives of many spiritual seekers around the world.   For a list of their programs, films and recordings, click on the Our Founders link on this website.