Who We Are

MaryCatherine (Cathy) Burgess Photo copyMaryCatherine (Cathy) Burgess, PhD, TEP, LPC – Founder of WBA

An interdisciplinary educational background, a multi-faceted work history, inspirational mentors, and a rich array of life experiences have helped prepare me to integrate, collaborate, and contribute to global initiatives of transformational change and conscious evolution.

Loving to learn has led to several postgraduate educational degrees, including religious education (MARE), human relations (MHR), religious studies (PhD); professional licensures and certifications, including trainer in the action methods of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy (TEP); licensed professional counselor in Nebraska, USA (LPC); and Consultant of Cultural Transformation Tools (CTT) through Barrett Values Center.

I have also experienced in-depth training in the Foundation for Shamanic Studies (FSS)’s ‘Three-Year Program of Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing‘; Mystery School and Social Artistry with Jean Houston; Evolutionary Circles/Conscious Evolution with Barbara Marx Hubbard; Society for the Universal Human; Future Human Catalyst Course with Anneloes Smitsman and Jean Houston; Creating a Wisdom Society with Jean Houston, Anneloes Smitsman, Jude Currivan, and Anne Baring; Boundless Compassion as facilitator (BCF); and Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT) as facilitator.

Having worked in the USA, Italy, and the United Kingdom, some of the roles I’ve held include teacher in secondary school (also department chair), university, and adult  education programs; shamanic practitioner and teacher; trainer and practitioner of action methods, especially sociometry, psychodrama, and sociodrama; minister (see paragraph below); facilitator of the IONS Conscious Aging Program, Death Makes Life Possible film workshops, BCF and CIT compassion programs, individual and team values assessments, and Divine Feminine workshops, retreats and conferences; university spirituality and multifaith chaplain; university postgraduate supervisor and internal examiner for doctoral students; human relations consultant; university research fellow (spirituality and counselling) and honorary fellow (counselling and psychotherapy, divinity); personal injury claims representativemanager of medical management; and director of quality integration, leadership, and organizational effectiveness.

I have an early history of active involvement and leadership in civil rights, peace and justice initiatives, in addition to university and community human relations projects and programs. In the late 1970s I co-founded and lived at Hawthorne House, an intentional community in the Bemis Park neighborhood of Omaha. Some time later, friends and I together started the Omaha Celtic Group and the White Buffalo Singers.

In 1995, coinciding with my participation in the FSS advanced shamanic training mentioned above, I was ordained as a Spiritual Healer and Earth Steward (SHES) minister. When appropriately required to name the ‘congregation’ I served, I asked for a dream to help me describe this new way of perceiving the ministry that had been opening to me. Upon my lips, as I awoke the next morning, were the words Anima Mundi Community’. Since then, I’ve worked with other Anima Mundi/SHES ministers who also strive to embody their call to serve in ways that reflect their own gifts, skills, and contexts.

Shortly after my move to Scotland in 2001, I enjoyed playing keyboard and singing at numerous folk sessions with Torcull Kennedy, my friend and musical partner in Hamely Fare; took great delight in sharing lunch and life with the Church of the Holy Girlfriends – now scattered throughout the world and meeting monthly online as Na Caileagan; explored heart and soul issues with Heart of Flesh retreat participants and those involved in multifaith learning; and embarked on esoteric adventures into myth and meaning with members of the Edinburgh Grail Questers.

Of emerging prominence is my ongoing learning, understanding, and attempts to integrate and apply in my circles of family, friends, colleagues, and communities what I’ve been learning about compassion.

MCB Publications

Book: (2008), A New Paradigm of Spirituality and Religion. London: Continuum0826499651

Article: (2010), ‘Growing a Multifaith Chaplaincy’, Journal of the TCMA (Tertiary Campus Ministry Association) 4(1): 1-11. Growing a Multifaith Chaplaincy in Edinburgh – PDF

Article:  Willis, A., Bondi, L., Burgess, M., Miller, G., and Fergusson, D. (2014), ‘Engaging with a history of counselling, spirituality and faith in Scotland: a readers’ theatre script’, British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 2014, Vol 42, No. 5, 525-543.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03069885.2014.928667

Book Review: (2018), A review of Spirituality, Corporate Culture, and American Business – The Neoliberal Ethic and the Spirit of Global Capitalism by James Dennis LoRusso for the Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religion (JBASR) Bulletin, v. 20, August 2018: 199-201. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327820067_Review_LoRusso_Spirituality_Corporate_Culture_and_American_Business.

Book Review: (2013), ‘Meeting God in the Margins’, a review of Our God is Undocumented: Biblical Faith and Immigrant Justice by Ched Myers and Matthew Colwell, for Expository Times 124 (9), June 2013: 460-461.

A World Book of ValuesEssays: (2013), ‘Compassion’ and ‘Spontaneity’, co-author of A World Book of Values, Belgium: Van Halewyck, December 2013, 73 and 337

Related Links:

PDF of MCB CV: MCB CV – 20 February 2023 



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