Who We Are

MaryCatherine BurgessMaryCatherine (Cathy) Burgess (MCB), PhD, TEP, LPC – Founder of WBA. I have an interdisciplinary educational background, a diverse work history, and a rich array of experiences that have prepared me for contributing my talents, gifts, and visions at this time of global transformational change and conscious evolution.

My love of learning has led to several postgraduate educational degrees, professional licensures and certifications, and in-depth training in shamanism and shamanic healing, mystery school, and explorations into what it means to be a universal human.

Having worked in the USA, Italy, and the United Kingdom, I currently am striving to divide my time between the USA and the UK. Some of my professional roles have been as human relations and transformational change consultant; spiritual counselor; teacher; trainer and practitioner of psychodrama, sociometry, sociodrama, sociatry, and group psychotherapy; shamanic practitioner, and internal examiner for doctoral students’ theses.

Additional roles have included spirituality and multifaith chaplain; religion department chair at a Catholic high school; ordained minister and presider at ceremonies; retreat planner and facilitator; university honorary fellow, research fellow, and course organizer/teacher of two summer school courses (Power of Myth – The Hero’s Journey in the Transformation of Self and the World and Exploring Personal and Collective Stories through Enactment); postgraduate supervisor; personal injury claims representative; and leader of corporate programs in medical management, 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 programs and projects. 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.

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. Since that time, I also have taken great delight in sharing lunch and life with the Church of the Holy Girlfriends; exploring heart and soul issues with Heart of Flesh retreat participants and those involved in multifaith learning; and embarking on esoteric adventures into myth and meaning with members of the Edinburgh Grail Questers.

In 2005, I trained to become a Barrett Values Centre (BVC) Consultant in using their Cultural Transformation Tools (CTT), which include values assessments that help individuals, groups, organizations, and larger communities identify and work with their values. Through these assessments and the philosophy of transformation underlying them, identified values can reveal important steps forward in personal and collective growth and effectiveness.Consultant_Black

Through the Institute of Noetic Sciences, in 2014, I became a Graduate Facilitator of the Conscious Aging Program Conscious Aging Logo - Small - 300 x 80 pixels, and in 2015, was invited by Dr. Marilyn Schlitz to serve as one of her pilot facilitators for workshops that accompany her book and the film of the same name, Death Makes Life Possible, which she co-produced with Deepak Chopra.

Since around 2011, I’ve become increasingly involved with the Charter for Compassion, including the Charter’s UK (United Kingdom) Task Force, the Boundless Compassion Program in Omaha, and numerous other compassion initiatives at the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland, and in Omaha. In June 2018, I became a Boundless Compassion Facilitator.   BDF Logo - Small

I also became a Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT) Facilitator   CIT Facilitator Emblem:Logo  in the summer of 2020.

I was delighted to be part of a Multifaith Team invited to present at the Parliament of the World’s Religions (PWR), which was held in Toronto, Canada, from 1 – 7 November 2018.  All on the team are University of Edinburgh (UofE) graduates, who came from a variety of faith traditions, worked together at the UofE Chaplaincy (when I was Associate Chaplain),  and also co-presented at the 2009 PWR in Melbourne, Australia.

Finally, as a result of CIT involvement, in 2020, I’ve joined a Global Education Network of  educators across the globe, who are actively working to integrate empathy, compassion, social and emotional learning, ethics, and values into all levels of education and modes of learning. That is truly exciting!

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 (http://www.worldbookofvalues.com)



Related Links:

PDF of MCB CV: MCB CV – For WBA Website – 8 August 2020 



Other Associates

WBA Associates come together for specific projects that call for collaboration. In the late 1990s, Pat Condon and Deb Shaddy became WBA Associates as we planned, organized, sponsored and hosted – on two separate occasions – women’s retreats with Joan Borysenko.

In addition, Pat Condon remained a WBA Associate as she and I co-facilitated the White Buffalo Singers (WBS), which met for several years after those women’s retreats. The WBS ended just before I moved to Scotland in 2001.

Pat died in 2017, though her spirit lives on. Deb moved to Kansas, where she works at the University of St. Mary, conducts psychodrama training workshops, and runs the Sophia Center, which she founded, while still living in Omaha.

In 2020, I’ve started collaborating with of other CIT Facilitators to offer CIT throughout the world for various groups.




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