Anamcara Recipient Biograpies

Biographies of Recipients of the Anamcara Award

The Anamcara Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Sacred Art of Living Center.  Reserved for persons who have made a direct and profound impact on the programs and teachings of SALC, the Anamcara Award expresses importance of honoring our mentors and expressing gratitude for the gift of sacred relationship.


Dame Cicely Saunders' work with terminally ill patients 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. In early 2005 Saunders continued to work with St. Christopher's as well as lecture and publish on issues related to the care of the terminally ill.  It was the inspiration and encouragement of Dr. Saunders that gave Richard and Mary Groves the courage to create the Sacred Art of Living & Dying series.


Ira Byock is a physician and national leader in the palliative care movement. In 1997 Byock authored the book Dying Well, and in 2004, The Four Things That Matter Most.  Byock is currently the Director of Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, a professor at Dartmouth Medical School, and the director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation national grant program.  Ira has been a support to the Sacred Art of Living Center as faculty member in the Anamcara Project and as a colleage who shares many of the same passions as Richard and Mary Groves.


Fionntulach has followed the Celtic spiritual tradition for almost 30 years. A member of the Order of the Céile Dé (the Servants or Spouses of God) her life is divided between leading a contemplative life and travelling the world teaching the tradition, which she describes as "a glorious unselfconscious blend of the Druidic love of Nature and Christ-consciousness - who is the transformative power of Love.."  Fionn has become a very special mentor to SALC, a faculty member of the Anamcara Project and co-facilitated a Pilgrimage to Iona, Scotland with the Groves in 2008.


Shigeaki Hinohara is one of the world's longest-serving physicians and educators whose presence and  'magic touch' is legendary.  Today in Japan, he is considered a national treasure.  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.  Richard and Mary Groves were honored to visit with Dr. HInohara while teaching in Japan; he remains enthusiastic about the Sacred Art of Living & Dying especially as it extends its presence in Asia.


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.  It was a special privilege to include Fr. Thomas as a teacher in the Anamcara Apprenticeship program.


Dolores Krieger, a prominent professor of nursing at the New York University Division of Nursing, conceived of therapeutic touch as a healing technique in the early 1970s and introduced the therapy in 1972.  Krieger developed the technique along with a colleague, Dora Van Gelder Kunz. They initially taught the system to graduate students at the nursing school, and it evolved from that basis. Since the introduction of therapeutic touch, Krieger traveled the world in teaching the technique before she retired as professor emerita at the university. An estimated 70,000 nurses were trained by Krieger and Kunz.  Dolores was exceptionally well received by participants in the first Anamcara Apprenticeship Program in 2006.


Balfour M. Mount, OC, OQ, is a Canadian physician, surgeon, and academic. He is considered the father of palliative care in North America.  Born in Ottawa, Ontario, he received his medical degree from Queen's University in 1963 and studied surgery and urology at McGill University. In January 1973, Dr. Mount, a urologic-cancer surgeon, was influenced by a discussion group of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' book On Death and Dying to lead a study at the conditions at Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital. In September 1973, after visiting Cicely Saunders' St. Christopher's Hospice he helped to create a similar ward within the Royal Victoria Hospital and coined the term "palliative care".  Bal taught the first class of Anamcara apprentices through his colleague Michael Kearney. 


Richard Rohr, O.F.M., is one of the world's beloved spiritual teachers and retreat masters.  His works span a wide spectrum of interest including Scripture as liberation, the integration of action and contemplation, community building, peace and social justice issues, male spirituality, the Enneagram and eco-spirituality are amongst the many themes that he addresses in his writing and preaching.  RIchard is Founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  In 1997 Rohr offered a retreat in Bend, Oregon to several hundred persons which inspired the Groves to pursue their dream of creating the Sacred Art of Living Center.  Since then, SALC and CAC have been associated in a number of life giving projects including the Men's Rites of Passage.


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.  Reb Zalman is an honorary faculty member of the Anamcara Apprenticeship program.

The following recipients of the Anamcara Award have been closely associated with the development of Sacred Art of Living Center.  Their special contributions deserve special recognition. 


Bishop Thomas Connolly is a member of SALC's founding board of directors. Deeply committed to the work of personal spiritual transformation, Connolly is a retired Catholic Bishop who continues to provide both moral and spiritual support to the Center's work.


Michael Kearney, M.D., trained and worked at St. Christopher's Hospice in London with Dame Cicely Saunders and with 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 for Compassionate Companionship in Life and Death in Bend, Oregon.


Sr. Mary Assumpta lives in Cleveland, Ohio and is SALC's regional representative in the Eastern USA. She brings twenty years of experience in health care for aging adults and a passion for the Sacred Art of Living & Dying programs. Her effervescent spirit and commitment to interfaith work are creating many new venues for SALC in long term care organizations and faith communities.  She is a trained program faciltator and is integrally involved with the Anamcara Project's Apprenticeship program.


Caryl Casbon presently serves as the Anamcara Project Director with the Sacred Art of Living Center; she also develops and coordinates the small group study program for the Sacred Art of Living & Dying Programs. Caryl, an ordained interfaith minister, consultant, writer and story catcher, has worked for twelve years through the Center for Courage & Renewal creating Circles of Trust retreat programs, based on the work of Dr. Parker Palmer, both nationally & internationally, for clergy, medical groups and hospice organizations. 

Bob LeDuc provided many years of leadership as a trustee and board chair during the formative years of SALC. Offering an extensive background in management and organizational development, Bob helped to connect the “soul and role” of Sacred Art of Living Center which helped the organization to grow from a local to an international presence.