Council members


Irene Alexander (Chair)

Irene is part of the Stillpoint Spiritual Direction Formation Team in Brisbane. She is also a lecturer in spiritual formation and spiritual companioning for Australian College of Ministries, and at the Asian Theological Seminary in the Philippines.

She is the author of several books including Dancing with God: Transformation through Relationship; Practicing the Presence of Jesus: Contemporary Meditation; and Awakening Desire She is part of Northumbria Community, Brisbane, is the mother of two sons, and has five grandchildren.

Sally Jones (Secretary)

Sally is a trained mentor, spiritual director and supervisor (in training) who runs her own Sydney-based mentoring, spiritual direction and pastoral supervision practice. She has completed a Graduate Diploma in Spiritual Direction through Tabor Adelaide. Sally is also a trainer of mentors and spiritual directors with MEQ Sydney (in conjunction with The John Mark Extension) and Barnabas Ministries (Listen into Life and Soul Companions). She has been an adjunct faculty member with ACOM (2014-2017) and SMBC (2018-).

Sally spent eight years working with International Teams Australia, a Christian missions agency working with the marginalised, five of which were with the Sydney Refugee Team working with refugees and asylum seekers in the community. She is also a trained Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer, with a special interest in the link between physicality and spirituality and holistic health and well-being. She is married to Brendan and has three gorgeous sons.


Liz Palmer (Treasurer)

Liz is married with two daughters and two grandsons. She has spent most of her working life in administration after completing a degree in Maths and Computing. For most of her married life her husband has been a priest in the Anglican Church so she has been heavily involved in walking with people in their Christian pilgrimage during those years.

As a member of the first cohort, Liz graduated from the Residential Program in Spiritual Direction in 2004, is now a member of the formation team of that program and has been involved in the ministry of spiritual direction and retreat leading since then. Liz is also the treasurer of the ANSD and is the representative of ANSD on this council.

Bruce Hulme

Bruce is married to Sonia and with their five children, they live in the north-eastern suburbs of Adelaide. They were formed for spiritual direction ministry through the SPDIR program in Adelaide in 2011-2014. Bruce is the Head of the Graduate Diploma in Spiritual Direction program, as well as Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care at Tabor College in Adelaide, and lectures in formation, reflective practice, pastoral care, retreat curation, spirituality and spiritual direction.

Bruce is particularly interested Christian reflective practice and holistic formation for shalom. His PhD (2021) developed Talking the Walk, an approach to meaning-making shaped by a creative combination of the Road via Emmaus narrative (Luke 24:13–49) and the labyrinth. Together these generate three non-linear, interlocking movements: contemplative conversation, imaginative discernment and courageous embodiment. Bruce enjoys offering talking the walk as a resource to enrich and equip a variety of practitioners, including spiritual directors, chaplains, supervisors, mentors, pastors, counsellors, cross-cultural workers and missional entrepreneurs.

Anila Isaac

Anila is a member of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea and a trained spiritual director. She graduated from Heart of Life, Siloam Program and has Graduate Diploma in Spiritual Direction from University of Divinity. Bachelor of Theology, Graduate Diploma in Education From Australian Catholic University and Masters of English Literature.  Anila lives in Melbourne and has enthusiasm for education. Anila is also a registered secondary school teacher and has taught in Catholic Education for number of years in Pakistan and Australia.

Cathie Lambert

Cathie completed her spiritual direction training with Dayspring in Perth in 2011. She is now the Course Co-ordinator for Dayspring and enjoys journeying with new spiritual directors as they grow into the role. Cathie recently completed her PhD exploring how contemporary women on the edge of the church respond to the beguine mystics from the thirteenth century. She was particularly interested in the implications for spiritual direction practice. Cathie has recently taken on adjunct teaching roles with both Pilgrim Theological College and Wellspring. She is also the Project Administrator for the Spirited Project Team who are exploring how family and friends can spiritually care for their loved ones living with dementia. Cathie is also the West Australian representative on the ANSD executive. Cathie lives in Margaret River, Western Australia, with her husband, Guy, and two young adult children.


Elizabeth Lee

Elizabeth (Liz) Lee is married to John and has 3 adult children and is a grandmother. Liz is drawn to spiritual direction among the fringes and is exploring creative ways of offering spiritual accompaniment in non-traditional settings. Until recently Liz was employed in an incredibly life-giving and privileged role of Pastoral Care Officer at a large men’s homeless hostel in Sydney. Previously, she was Chaplain at a remand jail for 1000 men awaiting trial or sentencing. Originally a Food Technologist, she has been a research scientist, museum curator, community development worker and teacher of science and religious education. Liz holds a Master of Arts in Theology, as well as a MEd and BSc (hons). In 2016, she completed the Listen into Life Spiritual Direction Training Program. While identifying as a Catholic for 6 decades, Liz is now a member of Pitt St Uniting Church and is spiritually nourished through a wide range of Traditions. She has a passion for Contemplative Photography and Labyrinths. Liz is a member of the Australian Network for Spiritual Direction as well as an active member of The Grail, an international women’s spirituality movement.


Maria McCormack

After completing the Spiritual Leaders’ Course at Heart of Life in 1992 Maria received Spiritual Direction at WellSpring. Her love for the ministry led her to the Formation Course at WellSpring and she graduated as a Spiritual Director in 2001.

Maria was engaged in retreat ministry for 23 years at the Passionist Centre for Spirituality. Over many years Maria has led retreats and workshops for a wide range of religious and non religious groups. For 10 years Maria was a Custodian of The Grove, Wholistic Centre for Women’s Spirituality. For three of these years she was Coordinator of The Grove.

For several years Maria has been a member of the Formation Team for The Art of Spiritual Direction Course at WellSpring. Maria is married to Peter and they have three daughters and one son, and two adorable grandchildren. (


Mary Murphy

Mary has worked in Catholic Education for many years both at primary and secondary levels and in three different diocesan offices across the nation. She has qualifications in Education at Masters level, Clinical Pastoral Education at Basic and Advanced levels, Bachelor of Theology as well as a Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction. Mary has served on the national committee of Companions in the Ministry of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. She offers spiritual direction, retreat, reflection days and directs Retreats in Daily Life and The First Spiritual Exercises to individuals and groups. Mary is married to Dan Murphy and they have a little dog called Mick.

Anne Pate

Anne Pate

Anne completed the Arrupe program and Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction with Sentir College (now Jesuit College of Spirituality).  She is a member of the Campion Centre of Ignatian Spirituality Retreat Team in Melbourne.  Her deep desire is to share Ignatian spiritual practices, especially with people on the margins of the established churches.

Anne worked for several years as course coordinator and lecturer in Ignatian spirituality and spiritual direction at Jesuit College of Spirituality.  She currently holds spiritual formation roles with the Mercy Sisters in Victoria and with her church community, which meets in a Collingwood pub.   Anne is completing training as a pastoral ministry supervisor, and developing a PhD proposal focusing on the Spiritual Exercises and transformation.

Clare Shearman

Clare is the Director of Heart of Life Centre for Spiritual and Pastoral Formation. She graduated from its Siloam Program in 2013 and has been a spiritual director and managed two retreat centres since then. Clare is a professional supervisor (a member of Australasian Association Of Supervisors and the Chaplaincy Australia Supervision team), she also works with the University of Divinity’s Professional Supervision Program.

Clare lives at The Cliffs Retreat in Shoreham, Vic where her husband Artie now manages the retreat bookings!

Clare is the Conference of Spiritual Director’s nominated representative on the council.

Carmel Tedesco

Carmel Tedesco has a background in education. She has a BA and a B.Theol.  Carmel has lived in Indonesia and Ireland, where she did some Spiritual Direction training. Carmel completed the ‘Professional & Personal Development Intensive for Spiritual Directors’ at Heart of Life in 2014.  She has been offering Spiritual Direction for about 15 years. Carmel regularly gave retreats at Bass Hill Hermitage in Gippsland from 2012 until early 2020.  She has recently moved to Balnarring, on the Mornington Peninsula. Carmel is currently the Spiritual Director for the Cliffs Retreat in Shoreham.