Sacred Art of Living Center Team

The Sacred Art of Living Team is a special group of professionals dedicated to the mission and vision of the center’s work for individuals and families world-wide, offering spiritually based education programs in palliative and end-of-life care. We consider every program participant– past and present– a real member of our extended international family. Each member of our team is dedicated to providing hospitality, compassion, and excellence in service ‘beyond the call of duty.” We consider our work much more than a job– but a contribution to the spiritual transformation of ourselves and everyone we serve.

Richard Groves, Founder and Executive Director, Sacred Art of Living Center

Richard Groves – Founding Director

Richard and his late wife Mary co-developed and founded the Sacred Art of Living Community in 1997. Richard is an internationally popular teacher and author who continues to present educational and spiritual development programs for health care institutions, faith communities of all traditions all over the world. Richard worked for more than 25 years as a chaplain in health care and hospice. He was also an executive director of hospice and ethics consultant for national health care organizations. A professor of world religions, Richard was ordained a Catholic priest in 1977 and earned graduate degrees in theology, ethics, pastoral counseling and law. His doctoral research focuses on cultural and inter-faith perspectives of the Sacred Art of Living and Dying. Richard is the co-author of The American Book of Living & Dying: Lessons in Healing Spiritual Pain which is now in its third printing and has also been translated into Japanese and Spanish. Most of all Richard is proud of his family that includes three sons, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Joe Richter – Production Manager

Joe has been working for more than ten years at SALC. Among his diverse responsibilities is manager of SALC’s Tree of Life Resource Center and managing the many IT dimensions of Sacred Art of Living’s programming. He also travels with staff in North America and internationally recording and producing new audio and video program materials. Joe’s background includes a BA in Liberal Arts from Mt. Angel Seminary with an emphasis in behavioral sciences. He also brings 25 years of experience in video production and the printing industries. Joe is a fun-loving husband and dedicated dad who can also be found helping his son Zach hone his basketball skills and learning to fish. Joe and his wife Kristi are natives of Eastern Oregon and currently live in Bend.

Fiona Williams – Chief Financial Officer

Fiona has worked with Sacred Art of Living since 2013 and is currently its Chief Financial Officer. Her responsibilities at SALC include budgeting, financial reporting, program financial analysis, cash flow management, human resources, employee benefits and payroll. She has over 20 years of experience as a Human Resources Director, Payroll and Accounting Manager. Fiona has also spent some time handling complex contracts and technical reviews for corporate accounts as a Renewable Energy Administrator, as well as prior non-profit experience as a Program Manager.  Fiona relocated to Bend in 2013 with her husband and two children and was drawn to the center for its mission and values.

Karin Olson – Program Manager

Karin has been the Program Manager for Sacred Art of Living Community since January of 2020. A former Waldorf Early Childhood Educator, Karin was introduced to SALC in 2013 through her hospice and death midwifery work. Karin brings to SALC a deep and diverse appreciation and understanding of human/nonhuman animal nature and spiritual development from newborns to elders with many years mentoring people of all ages. With a proclivity for acknowledging Mystery in every moment, Karin shares her joy of interweaving metaphor and ritual into everyday living and dying. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Karin resides in Sisters, Oregon, and treasures the small mountain town’s stunning natural beauty, wildlife, kind community, music, and the arts.


Debbie Doornbos – Canadian Director

Sacred Art of Living Center is delighted to announce that Debbie Doornbos of Edmonton, Alberta, has been named the first ever Canadian Director for SALC!  Debbie is a retreat leader and spiritual director with vast experience in adult education, facilitation, marketing and program development.  She utilized these skills most recently as Program Director at Providence Renewal Centre (PRC) in Edmonton. Her training is broad and includes Christian mysticism, Jungian psychology, Ignatian spirituality, the Enneagram, and World Religions.  She has a special interest in journeying with others through times of transition.   Debbie is a graduate of Newman Theological College, the Haden Institute Spiritual Direction Program and the Sacred Art of Living and Dying Anamcara Apprenticeship.  Debbie is an outdoors enthusiast.  Married to John, they love spending time with family and friends.

Maryhelen Zabas – Anamcara Coordinator

Maryhelen was Program Manager for the Sacred Art of Living Center for eight years and after her official “retirement” has transitioned into the role of caretaker of our Anamcara Project.  A former high school English teacher, she also brings to the Center over twenty years of Nursing Home Ministry with experience in Fund Development, Public Relations, Program Development and Pastoral Care, particularly work with the dying and their families.  Her passion for the work of SALC and for spiritual transformation are a gift in her supervision of the Anamcara Apprentices and in animator training for pilot site study groups.  She is a trained facilitator for the SALAD Units and serves on the Formation team for the Anamcara Apprenticeship.  She is a mentor for the Art of Spiritual Eldering Track, Year Two of the Apprenticeship.