The Sisters of Belle Coeur are women of wisdom. We currently number, thirty-one.
This page represents many of our sisters and is a work in progress, as are we.
As explained by our Foundress, Sibyl Dana Reynolds, in her book The Way of Belle Coeur: A Woman's Vade Mecum, the concept of Sisterhood has remained a constant theme in women's lives for centuries. An intentional and co-creative community circle provides a sacred container for women to gather, share, and curate our stories. Together we support one another as we develop our crafts and spirituality. In this way, we create our personal and collective legacies for future generations.
In the Spring of 2017, Belle Coeur embarked on a new journey with the creation and launch of BelleCoeur.com. Our web-based home provides a serene and spiritually-infused community space – called BELLE CŒUR HOUSE – for our existing Belle Coeur Sisters. We also envision a virtual gathering space to share the Belle Coeur gifts of wisdom, hope, and sacred repose with women around the globe.
Born from the collective imagination of Sister Sibyl Dana Reynolds and Sister Frances Banks (not to mention a large dose of Divine Inspiration), the creation of BelleCoeur.com has been the embodiment of two women with shared vision and complementary charism, working together in co-creation. Both Sibyl and Frances are involved in the day-to-day operation of the website, the development of course content, curation of Belle Coeur inspired products, and customer support and outreach. Both women are available to answer any questions, share more information about Belle Coeur, and respond to your feedback.
Sister Sibyl Dana Reynolds – California
In my heart of hearts, I'm a monastic and contemplative. The home I share with my husband is my sanctuary. Flickering candles, the smoky scent of incense, and the sound of Gregorian chant quicken my senses. Nostalgia and melancholia feed my writer's spirit. I put pen to paper and await the story. Prayer is a river running through each day. I dwell in the Mystery while I ache to inhabit and know the ancient time and place that lives within a memory, hidden deep inside my bones.
As the founder of the Sisters of Belle Coeur, I am inspired by the sacred wisdom within women's stories and the blessings of sisterhood. Christ, the Beloved, is at the center of my life, my compass, and True North. Sacrament and Scripture feed my soul. I draw sustenance from the writings of the early feminine saints and mystics such as; St. Hildegard of Bingen, St. Teresa of Avila, and the Beguine, Mechtild of Magdeburg. My family is my wellspring of joy. My beloved, my children and granddaughter are life's greatest teachers. I believe the times we are living in are calling forth the return of the Divine Feminine. The Spirit invites us to create a living legacy of women's stories expressed through the sacred life-arts. My intention through my work is to serve as a midwife for our planet's rebirthing. I can imagine no greater privilege.
Sister Frances Banks – Pennsylvania
I am a woman in transition. I spent nearly 25 years doing marketing for software and early stage organizations. I had a great “cerebral” career. I learned from challenging opportunities; I was successful and lucky enough to work with some great companies and with some amazing people. However, during a professional sabbatical, I began to discern that I needed to spend the rest of my "working life" in a role that integrates - in a "heart-centered" way - my essential need to nurture with my spiritual, creative, and intellectual gifts.
Becoming a Sister of Belle Coeur has grounded this heart-centered way of living and helped me to establish my own rituals and sacred practices that enrich all areas of my life. I am a hospice patient volunteer, Healing Touch student, and I provide spiritual companionship to the residents of a nearby nursing facility. I am also the mother of four beautiful kids, two of whom are active teenagers and still live at home and need me to drive them everywhere. I am married to the love-of-my-life who also happens to be my greatest blessing. Without him, I wouldn’t have been able to take the time these past few years to shift gears and prepare for a new calling. In my spare time, I like to read, cook, cheer for Kentucky Basketball, crochet, and spoil my two Labrador retrievers. I am also the "web guru" for the Sisters of Belle Coeur.
Belle Cœur Leadership Circle
Sister Anne Fuquay – Florida
Be Still. Behold. Bear witness. This is my wisdom. I am a lover of silence and solitude, of poustinia. I belong to hushed woodlands, deserted seashores, enclosed home space, cloistered office, and still sanctuaries beyond Sundays. I dwell in the spacious cave of my heart. Within these sacred places, I pray. Gaze. Study. And wonder. I long for the Divine Feminine and for women’s wholeness. I yearn for Creation’s wellbeing. My great love flowers in altars and worship, in communion with saints. Liturgy, proclamation, and celebration, writing with word and image, and the tending of souls and shrines—these are my offerings. Cooking satisfies me. I revel in shared tables and feasting. I’m a baker of Mass bread and Keeper of my Sisters’ relics. Mysteries taking flesh consume me. With thankful joy, I create home with spouse and son, along with two cats. I serve in The United Methodist Church and possess a Franciscan spirit. I am devoted to Mary Theotokos and her mother, St. Anne. I hope to live the meaning of my name, to be grace and light. My invitation is to abide in the poustinia of your heart and be still. Simply behold the wonders all around you. Bear witness to these Mysteries through whichever forms your artistry of devotion manifests.
Sister Millie Mellgren – Michigan
I am retired from a 34-year career in education spanning working in schools and universities from Pre-School to Ph.D. students. I have lived throughout the Midwest in 6 different states but am now settled in the woods of Michigan. While Second Languages and Cultures was my educational passion, and mostly working with students in Spanish, I am now discovering new life as a Sacred Artisan. I am working on the completion of two new books, one a children’s book about the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain and the other a parent’s guide to language immersion learning. I also continue to develop my art passion through painting, art journaling and the creation of medicine spirit dolls.
While Second Languages and Cultures was my educational passion, and mostly working with students in Spanish, I am now discovering new life as a Sacred Artisan. I am working on the completion of two new books, one a children’s book about the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain and the other a parent’s guide to language immersion learning. I also continue to develop my art passion through painting, art journaling and the creation of medicine spirit dolls.
My wisdom comes from a belief in lifelong learning and I immerse myself in reading and courses on a regular basis. For enjoyment, I help lead the Wisdom of Women group which draws women from all over northern Michigan into a circle for continual development of holistic health and spirituality.
I am also part of the Albeniz Circle of Sisters who identify with the Feast of San Pantaleón and continual study of Spanish cultural influences. I value the Wisdom of Women circle, the Albeniz Sister Circle, and the Belle Coeur Sisterhood as the three most significant influences on my post-retirement life.
Sister Pamela Sampel – Washington
I’m a writer, leadership coach, and spiritual director with an irreverent sense of humor who loves to laugh out loud. Others often describe me as “an innovative thinker and a visionary individual who readily sees a bigger and more complex picture in people, work, and the world around her.” With over 20+ years of experience in collaborative leadership, emotional intelligence coaching, and retreat design and facilitation experience, clients and friends describe me as a clear and direct communicator and a highly intuitive observer with a proven ability to inspire, motivate, write and lead.
Currently, I write, coach, study, research and explore, and create restorative retreat experiences that nurture souls and provide sustenance for life’s journey. A Belle Coeur Sister from the initial formation program in 2013, I’m a passionate believer in the Belle Coeur path for women from all walks of life. I hold Bachelor and Master's degrees in business and non-profit management; certificates in coaching, Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) interpretation and use, spiritual direction, gemstone and flower essence therapies; and I’m an Oblate of St. Benedict at St. Placid Priory in Lacey, Washington. I have keen interests in self-healing and self-discovery practices, and as a result, I have extensive personal experience with gemstones, chanting and sound practices, and flower essences. I currently reside in Port Townsend, Washington on the edge of the Salish Sea. You can visit my website at www.pamelasampel.com
The Sisters of Belle Cœur
Sister Mary Anne Dorner – Florida
I’m an extroverted monastic theologian and church historian who loves to party and host Camp Grandma and Grandpa for my eight grandchildren when not off traveling the world with my husband of over 50 years. After raising a family as an active Roman Catholic, I switched gears and went to college and seminary and made it through the grueling process to be ordained an Episcopal Priest in 1991. Since retirement from parish ministry in 2006, I have taught a few college classes, volunteered as a hospital chaplain, and lead retreats and worship services at various local congregations. I’m an avid reader and participate in two book clubs. I’ve also hosted a writing group in my home and recently attended an intensive interfaith writing conference focused on print and social media.
Sister Deborah Hansen – Wisconsin
Professionally, I am a spiritual director and the program and retreat coordinator at a Franciscan spirituality center. Soul-wise, I am an artistic contemplative who thrives is silence and solitude, using yarn or fabric, color and line to transform the prayer needs I’m given into embracing shawls and quilts, soulful dolls, and other items that bring comfort and healing to others. Through prayer and the work of my hands, I bring the wholeness of shalom to those who suffer and are in need of Spirit’s joy.
Sister Katherine Hempel – Michigan
Like many others, I have lived a rather ‘large’ ordinary life. By that I mean I have lived through many large challenges, beginning in childhood. I have found my greatest peace in serving God in the simplest of ways within my everyday life. Sometimes obedience to God’s call can be as simple as noticing someone who needs a smile or entertaining a child as their mother attempts to check out at the grocery store.
I believe every story is important. Watching the faces of elderly people, who allow me the privilege of helping them tell their stories, through the ancient practice of ethical wills or ‘autobiographies’ to be left for their families, confirms this assertion. It is through the honest telling our stories or rather the lessons learned from them, that we grow as it seems God constantly requires us to do. In helping others tell their story, for either professional or personal purposes, I am blessed.
I'm a semi-retired former writer, reporter, photographer, ad executive and communications and public relations representative for several non-profits in native Canada. I'm currently focusing on the transformation of my beekeeping business website and preparing to launch my writing blog and website. In any communication, whether I am meant to the student or the teacher, I cannot be sure. I suspect we are always meant to be both. Contemplation and new art practices allow me the quiet time necessary to reflect and study, to be better at both. Married to a beekeeper, I know what it is like to listen to the sacred hum of life. God’s voice is always there.
Sister Carolyn Hewitt – Texas
>The intricacies of my life, much like a labyrinth, winds in and out, back and forth seemingly design less. But at the journey’s end lies its center—my center of creative spirituality. I was not always familiar with where the path led, but looking back, one thing is always constant, a deep seeded belief in the Creator; the Creator of color . . . light . . . of paint that flows from a brush like melted chocolate tastes.
My unfolding has led me to train and work as a Spiritual Director and designer of labyrinths. I offer workshops and retreats in creative spirituality, where participants experience touching God through the act of creating simple and obtainable art. God is the ultimate artist and we are of God. I look forward to the next bend in the path or long stretch of road because I know who and what lie at my center. My Sisterhood of Belle Coeur is now my light to help me walk the path. I live in the Dallas area with my husband Tony, a dog Rocky, and a cat Mr. Jingles. I have two grown children and four marvelous grandchildren.
Sister Terri Hubbard – Nevada
I am the mother of two amazing adult children and grandmother of two adorable girls. My husband Mike and I love to travel but are just as happy with a quiet evening in our home. I love quilting and playing with fiber arts and thoroughly enjoy reading and good movies.
I have had a life of many blessings and also great sadness. Laced with grief and loss from the tender age of 5, my journey has been one of suffering and pain and has also given me the grace of resilience with a compassionate, empathetic heart. I left my work as senior pastor of a congregation because of illness and after many years of pain and then healing, I am stepping into a new way of working and serving the Divine. I am now a Life, Weight Loss, and Mind/Body Coach, a Spiritual Director, a Reiki Master/ Teacher and a United Methodist Clergywoman. I work primarily with women who have spent their lives caregiving and serving others often neglecting themselves - to the detriment of their personal health and wellbeing resulting in chronic pain and illness. I lead retreats, workshops, and teach self-care, grief and loss, weight loss and a variety of topics on spirituality and wellness as well as one on one and group coaching and spiritual direction. I have a BS from the University of Wisconsin, an M.Div from Iliff School of Theology, and studied spirituality at Wesley Theological Seminary.
I am so grateful for Sister Sibyl, my Belle Coeur sisters and my journey with them. They have gently reflected Divine Love back into my life inviting me to see that my work in the world wasn’t over, but in many ways just beginning. They have held me in prayer when I have suffered and celebrated with me in joy. The bond of love is for and lasting, and I will forever be filled with joy because of my journey with them.
Sister Mary Ann Matthys – Texas
I am Mary Ann Matthys, MA, CSD. I am an Artist, Certified Spiritual Director, and Retreat Facilitator who utilizes the creative process as an invitation to deeper communion and connection with God.
I am a Color of Woman Teacher and Intentional Creativity Coach. This amazing creative process offers a profound way to search your soul and create gorgeous visual prayers. I am a person who values life in all its forms. I love nature and feel especially close to God when I am in natural settings. I value relationships. For me, it is important to engage others with understanding, knowing that every individual has inherent value and self-worth. Being a Sister of Belle Coeur has been the most incredible journey of bliss, joy with, and mutual respect for, other women who are on the journey of living out their faith each day. As a Sister of Belle Coeur, my personal faith journey has deepened through Sisterhood, Service to my Beloveds, Sacrament and Sacred Life Arts which for me is Intentional Creativity.
In the core of my being, I am a person who seeks to live into her faith day-by-day, moment-by-moment. I am a creative individual who finds the creative process a wonderful way to consecrate my life to God. My personal website www.consecratetheday.com offers invitations to deeper communion with God through Creativity and other Spiritual Practices. I hope this website will be sustenance for your spiritual journey. Take what resonates with your soul and discard what you do not need or want. It is my sincere hope that you will find the joy that comes in consecrating each day, each moment to God. Blessings always!
Sister Mary Montanye – Oregon
I am a wife, a mother of two grown boys, a grandmother, and a woman who is deeply devoted to the spiritual path so beautifully laid out and practiced in the Belle Coeur community. I am a craftswoman and my main craft is writing. However, I also love quilt making, garment sewing, knitting, weaving, and beading. I garden and cook, a little haphazardly right now, unfortunately. I believe in promoting and honoring the home arts that were traditionally looked down upon as merely "women's work."
I have been active in various Christian denominations all my life, but have just recently come back to a serious contemplative practice and commitment to a church home after wandering in the "desert," so to speak. Besides a daily contemplative practice, I am also called to social action and, in particular, the promotion of open and respectful dialogue between religions. At least that is for now. Who knows where our wonderful God will lead me next? www.marymontanye.com
Sister Trish Morris – Colorado
I find myself stepping out on a pilgrimage to a place called crone-hood, and it is filling me with a sense of purpose, passion, and possibility. Once again I step off the path of the known, the predictable, to journey along a trail of the new and the unknown. “Now” is an exciting and sacred time for me as I answer the call to become an artisan of life.
Sister Sharyn Richey Turner – Texas
My gift as a sister of Belle Coeur is to practice the sacred art of image making. I am a painter and an Episcopal priest. Participating in this sisterhood-- founded upon ancient and feminine wisdom within the Christian tradition--gives me the courage and vision to live more completely into the divine mystery. Please visit my website SharynRichey.com
Sister Stacy Wills – Mississippi
As a contemplative artist, I delight in exploring the intersection of creativity and spirituality and inviting others to explore it with me. As a holy listener, it is my privilege to hold sacred space for others as they discern the presence of the Divine at work in their life. As a follower of the proverbial breadcrumbs, I am always picking up seemingly random bits of information and putting them in my resource pouch in the sure knowledge, born of experience, that I will soon come across someone in need of that very thing! If I were living in a proper monastery with walls, I'm sure I'd be the monk sitting behind the reference desk in the library helping others find what it is they're looking for if I possibly can.
I appreciate the absurdities of life and am known for being given to fits of uncontrollable laughter...which can just as easily give way to tears, often simultaneously. Among the women in my formation class for initiation into the Sisters of Belle Coeur, I became known as Stacy, "the one who laughs and cries."
I am currently serving as guest artist-in-residence at Allison's Wells School of Arts and Crafts in Canton, Mississippi, where I have been given the space and time to create my own body of work while maintaining an open studio for the public. I also offer various classes and workshops designed to help folks tap into their own innate creativity. Please visit my website, stacywills.com. I enjoy the simple things in life, reading, blogging, listening to music, and most of all, quiet evenings at home with my beloved with whom I have three children and four grandchildren.
Sister Mary Jo Zimmer – Indiana
Mary Jo is happily married to her beloved, Christian (Chris), stepmother to two beautiful young women, Melissa & Kaitlyn, mother-in-law to Thomas, and mama to Lily Grace (Shit Tzu) & Charlie Asher (Yorkie). Walking away from executive corporate management in February of 2014, she has navigated a deep dark night of the soul; finding herself now in a profound self-acceptance, appreciation, and awareness from which she hopes to lead a quiet movement of calm & joy as the Spirit guides.
Given a "role" while walking in the forest, Mary Jo is a Mentor, Muse, Mystic. She operates from and for the vibration of Love. She loves the rosary, essential oils, knitting, reading, writing, cooking and being outdoors. Her 'Art' is intuition. And, she is a honey bee advocate. As a new entrepreneur, Mary Jo is dedicated to serving others communicating the benefits of reducing toxic load with the use of therapeutic grade essential oils and oil infused products, and educating about a feminine business model that can provide residual income to those who want to learn. She is committed to living a gentle wellness lifestyle with strength and wisdom. Most importantly she wants to have fun while learning and growing modeling holiness and goodness for a weary world.