• Fr. Bernie Tickerhoof is a friar of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. He is currently the Director of Ongoing Formation for his religious community, and is a member of Franciscan Pathways, the community’s retreat ministry.  Fr. Bernie offers retreats and spiritual programs in retreat centers, parishes, and religious congregations.  These are tailored to the particular needs of the specific groups and organizations. He has developed a variety of programs on contemporary spirituality, faith and biblical conversion, and leadership development.

    Fr. Bernie received his Master of Divinity (MDiv) from St. Francis Seminary, formerly in Loretto, PA, in 1978, and a Master of Theology (ThM) in spirituality and liturgy through the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, CA (now part of Santa Clara University) in 1979.  He received a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2001.  He has also pursued graduate studies at the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University and at the Catholic University of America.

    Fr. Bernie was ordained in 1978, and has been involved in spiritual ministry and retreat work since 1979.  He has traveled widely throughout the country in a ministry of preaching, spiritual conferences, and retreats.  He served on his community’s initial formation team as Vocation Director (1993-1996), as Novice Director (2004-2012), and as Director of Initial Formation (2008-2012).  He has done extensive work in Franciscan Spirituality through the Franciscan Federation of the U.S. and as a spiritual assistant for the Secular Franciscan Order at the local, provincial, and regional levels.  Fr. Bernie serves on the Executive Board of the Institute for Contemporary Franciscan Life, located on the campus of St. Francis University in Loretto, PA.  He was on his province’s leadership team from 2008 to 2012.

    Fr. Bernie is a founding member of the Vineyard Guild, an ecumenical organization dedicated to promoting spiritual leadership.  He is also a member of Spiritual Directors International, and has an active ministry in the spiritual direction of a number of individuals.  Other interests include storytelling, social justice, ecumenism and inter-faith, and ecological concerns.  He is the author of several books and articles on the spiritual life.



    Faith & Discipleship Retreat

    There is nothing as central to Christian spirituality as the experience of faith.  This retreat develops themes of biblical faith, conversion, and the accompanying response of discipleship and evangelization.  It explores an understanding of faith through several New Testament writings, and seeks to make participants aware of the ways in which the Christian faith is put into action in our contemporary world.

    The World View of Jesus: Revisiting the Lord’s Prayer

    We find the “Our Father” presented to us in the gospels in two contexts, both of which have to do with prayer.  While both Matthew and Luke present Jesus as teaching a prayer form, when we look into this well-known formula we find much more than the prayer we memorized as children.  Jesus is also offering his disciples a world view, how they are to comprehend God, themselves, and all creation.  In viewing the Lord’s Prayer this way we come to understand better Jesus, his mission, and our own.

    Primal Spirituality: Gift, Freedom, and Cooperation on the Spiritual Journey

    According to the power at work within us, God is able to “do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Eph 3:20).  What is the nature of this power?  What is the extent of God’s giftedness?  What is our role in charism?  These are questions that urge us to explore both Providence and Responsibility. In this retreat we use scripture, prayer, and human knowledge to investigate their impact on our spiritual journey.

    Essential Breath: the Rhythms of Paradox and Transformation

    How do we move beyond the experiences of contradiction, suffering, confusion, and the lack of forgiveness?  How does God lead us through such frustrations and dead ends to transformation and grace?  In the experience of paradox, we are invited to encounter God’s will in a new way, a way that offers hope and reconciliation.  The retreat presents the metaphor of breath as a way of understanding the mysterious and paradoxical rhythms of our lives.

    Journeying Through the Dark Night: Making Sense of 
    Transitions in Life and in Prayer

    [Seraphic Confusion: The Transitions of Life in a Franciscan Context]

    Life is full of transitions, some great, some small.  Just as in every other aspect of life, our prayer goes through transitions.  There are times in every journey of prayer when the way seems clouded and obscure.  Am I doing something wrong?  Is God doing this to me?  Did I make a wrong turn on the path? This retreat explores the spiritual experience of the dark night in life and in prayer, and seeks to aid participants in discerning a path through the darkness.  

    The Canticle of Creatures Retreat

    This retreat emphasizes a holistic approach to praising God through Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Creatures.  The Canticle is a mystical expression of the deepest reconciliation between the human spirit, creation, and the God they both reflect.  In this retreat, for Franciscans and non-Franciscans alike, the Canticle is explored through various modes of expression (story, imagination, movement, ritual, etc.).  It is a time to acknowledge and participate in the graced life that surrounds us.

    The Canticle of Creatures: A Spirituality of Nature 
    Through the Lens of Laudato Si’

    [Variation of the above, with an emphasis on Pope Francis’s encyclical on Care for Our Common Home]

    Franciscan Gospel Living

    All of the Franciscan rules recognize the Gospel as our form and life.  In his Testament Francis says that it was the Most High that told him to live the Gospel.  What did the Gospel mean to Francis?  What does it mean to us who are attempting to follow Christ by walking in the way of Francis?  The retreat will explore our Franciscan understanding of the gospel life.  For those in the Third Order tradition (Third Order Regular and Secular Franciscans), an emphasis will be given to finding a response to the Gospel through its Rules, and their essential values of poverty, minority, contemplation, and ongoing conversion.

    Franciscan Penitential Life: Ongoing Conversion 

    This retreat explores themes of biblical faith, conversion, and discipleship through the eyes of Franciscan spirituality. It explores an understanding of faith through several New Testament writings, and seeks to make participants aware of the ways in which the Christian faith is put into action in our contemporary world.

    Spirit Woven, Life Connected

    We are asked to recognize and strengthen the ties that bond us with God, with one another, with creation, and with our own lives.  In the spiritual journey, each of us comes to see that all is connected; we cannot gain from another’s loss nor lose from another’s gain.  The retreat seeks to build our awareness of this, in order to more clearly see God present in all things.

    Praying With Nature

    The world that surrounds us is a sacred place.  It is filled with God’s presence.  Every time and season presents a new facet of the precious gem of creation.  We are drawn in and invited to experience sacred possibilities and mystical encounters.  Praying with nature builds our awareness of the ever-present God who enfolds us and awaits our discovery.

    The Spiritual Paradigm

    When it comes to being a spiritual person, do we have a choice?  Yes, we do— . . . or maybe, no we don’t.  Is this “spiritual thing” actually bigger than we think?  What is really going on in the course of our day, and in the midst of our world?  And what is the decision to seek a deepening in spirituality all about?  This program looks at the spiritual underpinnings of our reality, and seeks to address what our choices could mean in relation to it, to God, and to our everyday lives.

    Breaking Free: The Transformation of Daily Life

    God is not waiting around for our peak moments in order to bring us holiness.  The Spirit of God is dependent neither of our timetable nor our game plan.  Each day is transformative for those who can recognize the Spirit’s promptings while the “stuff” of life goes on around us.  How are we to comprehend spirituality in the everyday processes of opening ourselves to transformation? What is it in our everyday lives that seems to hold us back and blocks us in undertaking a more vibrant holistic-contemplative life practice? How do we prepare ourselves daily to respond to the divine initiative of the present moment?