Mercy Center




Mercy Center is a Ministry of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas-West Midwest Community, an order of Catholic women religious. Mercy Center was established in 1982 in Burlingame, California, as a retreat center and conference center for secular and religious nonprofit organizations.

Mercy Center provides a place where women and men can become more attentive to the presence of the Divine in their lives and in the world, and then respond more fully in care of the Earth and service to others – especially the poor and the vulnerable.

Learn more about the Sisters of Mercy West-Midwest Community.



Suzanne Buckley, Director. In 1989, Suzanne left a career in corporate training and development and transitioned to ministry work. She has been a campus minister, spiritual director, educator, and trainer of spiritual directors. Suzanne has worked with a variety of formation programs since 1992 including the Summer Internship for Spiritual Direction, and is the editor of the award-winning book Sacred is the Call: Formation and Transformation in Spiritual Direction Programs (Crossroad 2005).

Mary Waskowiak, RSM, Leadership and Spirituality Services. Sr. Mary returns to Mercy Center, where she served as Director in the late 1980's, to share her passion for leadership development and spirituality. Mary's background includes sixteen years in elected leadership with the Sisters of Mercy. During that time she also served a three-year term in the Presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

Bernadette Hart, RSM, Program Coordinator. Sr. Bernie brings her gifts as a skilled teacher, spiritual director, and group leader with experience in elementary schools, parish work, hospital chaplaincy, assisting elders, and vocation ministry.

Fr. Gregory Mayers, C.Ss.R., Program Coordinator. Fr. Greg is the coordinator of the Mercy Center East-West Meditation program. A Redemptorist priest and Associate Roshi of the Sanbô-Kyôdan Religious Foundation in Kamakura, Japan, he was given the teaching name of Ryûun-ken (Flowing Cloud) by Yamada Ryôun Roshi, the 4th Abbot of Sanbô-Kyôdan. In 2010 Fr. Greg received full transmission as an Authentic Zen Master with the honorific title of Roshi from his teacher, Willigis Jaeger. He is the award-winning author of the book Listen to the Desert: The Secrets of Spiritual Maturity in the Desert Fathers and Mothers.



Catherine Regan, Ph.D. Catherine Regan is a spiritual director and clinical psychologist. Her great interest is in the renewal of contemplative practices in our individual and collective lives. In addition to practicing spiritual direction and psychotherapy, she leads retreats, days of prayer, and introduction to mindfulness meditation. At Mercy Center, her work includes coordinating the Centering Prayer program.

Mary Ann Clifford Rodriguez, RSM. Sr. Mary Ann has served as a formation director and a missionary in Latin America for nearly 20 years, and has focused her ministry on spiritual direction, retreat direction, and the formation of spiritual directors in both English and Spanish languages. Sr. Mary Ann is especially interested in the connections between spirituality and culture.

Liz Lawhead. Liz Lawhead is a spiritual director and retreat leader. She completed the Spiritual Directors’ Institute and the Internship in Retreat Direction at Mercy Center and is now on the SDI team. Liz is working on her Masters in Pastoral Ministry with a focus in Spirituality, at Santa Clara University.

Janice Farrell, M.A. Janice Farrell has been a Mercy Center adjunct staff member since 1992. She has a master’s degree in psychology, state certification in holistic health education and counseling, and post-graduate studies in theology from the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley. Her primary ministry is spiritual direction, group spiritual direction, retreat direction and the formation of spiritual directors.

Marilyn Granucci is a spiritual director with experience in directing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. She is currently the Spiritual Direction Resource person who assists people in finding spiritual directors through Mercy Center where she also facilitates days of prayer.

William Dohar, Ph.D. Bill Dohar has been involved in pastoral ministry for over 20 years. He has taught at the Universities of Notre Dame and San Francisco, where he directed USF's Campus Ministry retreats. He currently works as a spiritual director in the Bay Area and teaches in the Religious Studies Department at Santa Clara University and at the University of California, Berkeley.



Suzanne Toolan, RSM was the founding director of Mercy Center. Sr. Suzanne is our resident liturgist and directs Taizé prayer at Mercy Center. She is a well-known composer, probably best known for her hymn, “I am the Bread of Life,” published in more than twenty languages.



Please contact administrative staff at (650) 340-7474, or click their names to send an email inquiry.

Cristina Esguerra: Campus Hospitality Services Supervisor

Brittany Soracco: Program and Projects Administrator

Mark Werlin: Webmaster and Online Registration Systems



We honor the creativity, professionalism, organizational skill and commitment of our housekeeping and kitchen staff. Without them, we could not offer our ministry of hospitality. Read profiles of Environmental Services Manager Rita Moser and interior design specialist Catherine Wilkinson.



We are grateful for the many volunteers who help with programs and special events at Mercy Center. Please contact Cristina Esguerra if you would like to join our volunteer community.