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Pastoral and Theological Faculty & Staff


Sr. Suzanne Mayer, I.H.M.
Sr. Suzanne Mayer, IHM
Professor & Coordinator
Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling
B.A., Immaculata University
M.S., Villanova University
M.S., Neumann University
Ph.D., Loyola University in Maryland


As a Sister of the Immaculate Heart I am proud to say I have had a long-standing history with Neumann University and have found a home in its Franciscan spirit. In 1990 I graduated from the then fairly-new masters in Pastoral Counseling and then went on for my doctorate in pastoral counseling from Loyola University in Maryland. After having taught eight years as an adjunct in the pastoral care and counseling program here, I was invited to a become a fulltime professor in 2011. Just this year, I agreed to take on the coordination of the pastoral programs and the undergrad theology.  In every role, in every year, I have discovered more creative, giving, caring people – in the faculty and staff and, even more, in the students. As I always say, “The students are the best part of this program.” Along with Neumann, I have also taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Immaculata University and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. In my “free time” I work as a pastoral counselor, primarily with children and members of religious orders, and as a consultant, lecturer and retreat director with groups of religious across the United States, I especially love interacting with those in formative stages, including working as an instructor in the In-Search inter-novitiate program for the contiguous dioceses.

From high school I knew I wanted to be a teacher and this has been fulfilled, beginning as a lay teacher in the primary grades right out of high school, and moving up through elementary and secondary education as an English teacher. I am known as the master of the APA among the pastoral counseling students. Currently, along with my teaching and advising I love spending time giving lectures, retreats and days of recollection and writing for publication in areas such as development and growth, women's roles and issues, the integration of spirituality and psychology and formation for religious growth. I have been published as a poet and hold a special interest in writing and teaching about forgiveness and the areas of trauma and crisis.



Janice Merrill-Rossi
Department of Pastoral & Theological Studies
(610) 558-5572



Eileen Flanagan
Eileen Flanagan
Professor Emerita, Spiritual Direction
B.A., Immaculata University
M.A., Villanova University
Ph.D., Temple University


As professor enerita of pastoral studies, I teach graduate students in the pastoral counseling and spiritual direction programs. Some courses I have taught are: Theological Foundations, Francis and Clare: Images of Spiritual Growth, Theology for Pastoral Identity, Discernment and Decision Making, Developmental Models of Psychology and Spirituality, Spiritual Formation and Direction: Engaging Traditions and Cultural Challenges. I also coordinate the Spiritual Formation and Direction Practicum and oversee the student program for the Certificate of Advanced Study in Spiritual Direction Supervision.

I have been part of the Neumann Community since 1990 when I assisted in the creation and design of Neumann's Spiritual Direction Program. I also served as adjunct faculty at St. John’s University, School of Theology, at Collegeville, Minnesota, and at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Awarded a Fulbright Specialist Grant, during the winter of 2011, I conducted a research project on Spiritual Care in Healthcare Contexts at All Hallows College, Dublin, Ireland.

Current areas of my scholarly research and writing include: the spirituality of Clare of Assisi, the establishment of the Poor Clares in America, the contemporary practice of spiritual direction, and spiritual care in healthcare contexts.



Rev. Wallace Fletcher, Jr.
Adjunct Faculty
Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling
B.A., Sterling College
M.A., Union Theological Seminary
M. Div., Princeton Theological Seminary
D. Min., Lutheran Theological Seminary


Rev. Wally Fletcher, D.Min., is Executive Director of The Dialogue Center for Counseling and Consulting in Plymouth Meeting, PA, and Cherry Hill, NJ. He has extensive training and experience as a therapist, consultant, educator and non-profit executive. He is a certified psychoanalyst and clinical supervisor in the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (NAAP # PO81814) and a certified Clinical Fellow (and supervisor) in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (#1924). He has taught in the Pastoral Counseling program at Neumann University for fifteen years and was awarded the Part-time Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2005. Dr. Fletcher also teaches courses in the Organizational & Strategic Leadership program at Neumann as well as courses in the history and evolution of psychoanalysis at the Philadelphia School of Psychoanalysis. He is an ordained Presbyterian clergyman and served as pastor of a small rural congregation before entering specialized ministry. He has published an article on "Group and Group Dynamics" for the second volume of The Encyclopedia of Christianity and is a regular contributor on pastoral themes for Lectionary Homiletics, a national journal for preachers.


His current research interest is in the history of the relationship between spirituality and mental health practice in pastoral counseling and psychoanalysis. In March 2010, he was invited to deliver the 30-Year Anniversary Lecture for the Clinical Pastoral Education program at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital entitled: “The Role of Spirituality in Mental Health Care- The Passionate Conversation between Prof. Freud and Pastor Oscar Pfister and its Legacy”.

James A. Houck
James A. Houck
Assistant Professor
Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Director, Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling Program
B.A. Messiah College
M. Div., Asbury Theological Seminary
M.S., Loyola University in Maryland
Ph.D., Loyola University in Maryland


Jim Houck earned his Ph.D. in pastoral counseling from Loyola College in Maryland. He currently serves as an assistant professor of pastoral studies and clinical coordinator for the department. In addition to having provided pastoral leadership in various settings, Dr. Houck is also a licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania, and holds professional memberships in the National Board for Certified Counselors, the American Counseling Association, and the International Association for Near Death Experiences. His research interests include grief and bereavement, trauma, spiritual and religious coping, after death communication and near death experiences.


"For me, the field of pastoral counseling is an on going professional and personal integration of clinical psychology with pastoral, theological and spiritual issues. Students come to understand that it is within this integration that we are being transformed by God's grace working in and through us as pastoral counselors."



John Kruse
John V. Kruse
Associate Professor, Theological Studies
Coordinator, Theology
B.A., University of Dayton
M.A., University of Dayton
Ph.D., Saint Louis University

I am a historical theologian with expertise in Franciscan spirituality and the office of the papacy. I came to Neumann in 2006 and have taught the following courses: Theological Foundations, Themes in Christian Scripture, Contemporary Catholicism, Sacramental Theology, Sexual and Medical Ethics, and Francis and the Environment. My publications include Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Pope John Paul II, Lent and Easter Wisdom from Pope John Paul II, Advent and Christmas Wisdom from St. Francis of Assisi, Lent and Easter Wisdom from St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, and the article “The Changing Role of Hugolino dei Conti di Segni (Gregory IX): A Hermeneutical Tool for Understanding the Lives of Francis" published in the Italian Journal Miscellanea Francescana (2008). My scholarly interests currently are focused on the relationship between St. Clare and the papacy.



Sophia S. Park

Sophia S. Park

Assistant Professor
Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling
B.A., Westmont College
M.Div., Columbia Theological Seminary
Th.D., Columbia Theological Seminary

I am passionate about teaching theologies and theories of Pastoral Care, Spiritual Formation, and Marriage and Family Therapy, where diverse images of God are reflected through the multi-cultural communities in which we live.  In the current milieu of diversity, where more families are embodying multi-cultural and multi-ethnic relations, locally and globally, the skills to engage in inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogues are essential to being competent leaders as pastors, chaplains, and therapists.

Having lived in seven countries on five continents during my formative years, I developed the ability to see and engage cultures and their people from both subjective and objective perspectives.  By engaging theologies and theories of human living through multiple vantage points, I hope to impart not mere “sensitivity” to other cultures but a reverence for the complex and exhaustive nature of God’s creations as a reflection of the diversity of God.

Prior to joining Neumann, I worked in various clinical, pastoral, and academic positions including a hospital chaplain in medical and mental health/addiction fields, a Director of Youth and Children’s Ministry, a Pastor of Congregational Care, as well as adjunct professor at Luther Seminary (MN), Bethel Seminary (MN), and McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University (GA).  Additionally, I have extensive experience as a marriage and family therapist (LMFT) working with individuals, couples, and families from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. My publications can be found in Christianity Daily, The E-Journal of AAPC and Women Out of Order (Fortress Press, 2009).



Mary Elizabeth Toler
Mary Elizabeth Toler
Assistant Professor
Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling
B.A., Mercer University
M.Div., Duke University Divinity School
Th.D., Emory University


I am an ordained American Baptist minister and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and have extensive ministry and counseling experience in local parishes, hospitals, college campuses, and psychiatric recovery centers. Before coming to Neumann, I lived in Atlanta for over ten years where I operated a private pastoral counseling practice and taught pastoral care, counseling and theology at Mercer University. I hold a Th.D. from the Candler School of Theology of Emory University and an M.Div. from The Divinity School of Duke University. 



Sr. Diane Tomkinson
Sr. Diane V. Tomkinson, OSF
Associate Professor, Theological Studies
Coordinator, Spiritual Formation & Direction
B.A., Swarthmore College
M.A., Washington Theological Union
Ph.D., Fordham University

I joined the faculty at Neumann University in August 2013, as an Associate Professor of Theology in the Department of Pastoral and Theological Studies. I teach undergraduate theology courses and foundational courses in Franciscan theology and spirituality for the M.S. in Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling, the Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling, the graduate Certificate in Spiritual Formation and Direction, and the Certificate of Advanced Study in Spiritual Formation and Direction Supervision.  As of January 2015, I coordinate our Spiritual Formation and Direction Program.


I am a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, the sponsoring congregation of Neumann University. In my teaching, writing and scholarship, I am passionate about retrieving and passing on the Franciscan theological and spiritual tradition, with a special focus on the contributions of early Franciscan women, especially the late thirteenth-century mystic, St. Angela of Foligno. As an itinerant Franciscan, I have lived our mission in both rural and urban settings from Vermont to South Carolina. I served as Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious and Theological Studies at Salve Regina University from 2005-2010 and as Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Middlebury College from 2003-2005. I have also served as a family caregiver, in formation ministry with new members of my congregation and in pastoral ministry for over ten years in various parish and campus settings. I hold a Ph.D. in Theology from Fordham University, an M.A. in Theology from Washington Theological Union, and my B.A. from Swarthmore College.



Mary Beth Yount
Mary Beth Yount
Assistant Professor, Theological Studies
B.A., University of St. Thomas
M.A., St. Mary’s University
Ph.D., Duquesne University


I will be teaching theology and doctorate of education courses here at Neumann. I am a graduate of Duquesne University where I worked as an administrator in academic publishing and taught courses since 2008. My predominant research interests are practical theology (such as lay ecclesial ministry and the theology of the family), spirituality, and applied ethics. But most of all, I love engaging students’ minds and hearts at the intersection of religious, philosophical, educational, and cultural dialogue.

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