Ontario Jubilee Staff Profiles and their Journeys

Administrative Staff

Ontario Jubilee Director and Administrator

Miriam banquet tableMiriam Frey, Spiritual Director and Educator

Paris, Ontario

Miriam enjoys teaching and serving as a spiritual director to adults of all ages and spiritual traditions. She delights in watching others come home to the divine within themselves., to find themselves during a spiritual direction session, during a retreats, or within the Jubilee Program is extremely rewarding.  She has training and experience in dream work, enneagram personality styles and contemplative prayer. She is a trained supervisor in spiritual direction through Regis College, Toronto. A graduate of the Ontario Jubilee Program (2000), Miriam currently serves on the leadership team of Spiritual Directors of Ontario and is a member of Spiritual Directors International.

“I was longing for personal spiritual growth in an ecumenical setting. I was tired of what the Christian church had to offer and I sensed there was something more – something more personal, more meaningful and with more depth.  With Jubilee, I felt heard for the first time. My story and my life mattered in this community. I also heard the voice of the Divine more clearly in the silences. Jubilee taught me the value of listening and the gift it offers to others.”

More about Miriam’s ministry… “At the time I was enrolled in the Jubilee program, I was studying spiritual direction as a grad student. Following the D.Min degree, I developed a spiritual direction practice from my home and I began offering workshops and retreats on prayer, spiritual practices, learning to listen, self-awareness through the enneagram and spirituality types. In 2008 I became the Director of the Ontario Jubilee program.  Sacred Listening is the name of my business which began in July 2010. Because I live and work at Five Oaks Retreat Centre in Paris, Ontario, my business now primarily includes weekend on-site hosting for the retreat centre, serving as Director of Ontario Jubilee and offering spiritual direction for Five Oaks.  I was raised in the Mennonite faith tradition but am willing to walk with anyone who longs to encounter Divine Presence.”

The program leadership, under the direction of Miriam Frey,  has been expanding to incorporate the skills and experience of spiritual directors, many of them Jubilee graduates.

Ontario Jubilee Teaching Staff

Ralph Brubacher, Spiritual Director



Ralph is inspired by accompanying people as they explore and discover more fully the presence of the Divine within and as they experience the sacred in all of life. After retiring from a thirty year teaching career in secondary and elementary education, Ralph entered the Jubilee Program of Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Direction.

 “During the Jubilee Program, I experienced a ‘waking up to God’, to the Divine Presence within me and embedded in the entire universe. I began to experience love and presence in my body, as well as in my head and heart. I embarked on a journey of learning to honor and respect my inner, sacred knowing, allowing it to inform how I live. My spiritual life has been enriched by my experiences as a husband, father, and grandfather.

I believe we are born with an all-encompassing awareness of God’s love. As we experience losses in life, we begin to feel we have lost our connection to God and forget we are God’s Beloved. Spiritual direction is about attending to our relationship with God (the Divine), our experience of the sacred in life and the opening to the Divine flow of life already within us. Spiritual practices, especially spending time in silence, help us to loosen our grip on emotional attachments and defenses, so we can gain a more compassionate perspective of ourselves and others”.

Since graduating in 2012, Ralph has been offering individual spiritual direction in his home and at Five Oaks Retreat Center. He accompanies individuals of all ages. Ralph comes from a Christian background, however, is open to accompanying people of varying faith experiences.

As a long distance runner, the connection between running and spirituality intrigues Ralph. Long distance running has become a spiritual practice. While running, he can think more clearly, experience emotions more deeply and feel sensations in his body more easily, all at the same time. Each spring Ralph leads a four-session Running and Spirituality Series encouraging participants to develop their running skills and explore how running can deepen their experience of the sacred in life. Ralph also facilitates workshops on Spirituality and Self-care, Sacred Space from a Male Perspective and leads Silent Retreats at Five Oaks Retreat Center. As a Lay Minister on the Ministry Team at his church, Ralph’s primary focus is pastoral care.

“True freedom does not come from control but from surrender. It comes from letting go of our illusions and engaging life with all its messiness, unpredictability, and risks.”  – David Benner


JanEvansJan Evans, Spiritual Director

Jan Evans, London Ontario




Jan loves to journey with people on their spiritual path. Teaching with the Jubilee program is a marvellous opportunity to journey with others while at the same time continuing to explore and deepen her own journey. After a fulfilling career in paediatric physiotherapy Jan transitioned into full time spiritual direction and spiritual formation work. She offers individual direction out of her home office and enjoys leading spirituality and contemplative practice groups. She offers spiritual formation classes and retreats in community/church settings.

She completed her  spiritual direction training with SoulStream (www.soulstream.org) in Alberta, in 2007 while at the same time attending the Ontario Jubilee program. She has continued her training by exploring Ignatian Spirituality (Loyola House), Contemplative prayer and practice (Shalem Institute), Enneagram (Shift Network).

“I was longing for a deeper connection to the Divine and through the Jubilee program my spirituality went both deeper and wider precipitating an ongoing journey of integration and whole-making.  I applied soul deepening work within the context of working with youth with complex disabilities leading them through a program of self-discovery, until my recent retirement. I just completed an MA in Spiritual Formation and now engage with faith communities to support spiritual deepening within congregations. I have a private practice that includes -one-to-one spiritual direction, group contemplative practice circles and community based retreat facilitation.  I am passionate about contemplative living, trusting in its promise for the healing of humanity. Jubilee helps me to live out this calling through teaching and modeling practices that are spacious and evocative and integrative of body, mind and spirit. I am passionate about companioning others on their journey of spiritual deepening and the grounding in Spiritual Direction provided by the Jubilee program has guided me in my companioning ministry.”

Jan offers spiritual direction in her home and in the wider community.


clinic Oct 22 14 036Nicola Usher, RMT and Spiritual Director
a Calm retreat
263 Huron Road
Sebringville, Ontario, N0K 1X0

Hello friends on this contemplative journey!  I am Nicola Usher and I have been involved with the Jubilee program since 2011 when Miriam Frey asked me to join a Phase 1 residency and bring the participantsan experiential exploration of body awareness.  I have been a Registered Massage Therapist since 1989, a Craniosacral Therapist since 2004, I teach meditation classes and I have been leading ‘Body Retreats’ since 1999.  When I participated in my first residency as a teacher and was immersed in the philosophy, teachings and community of Jubilee I felt a deepening into my own spiritual heart. Feeling the rich support and experience of the community, I saw that we all learned together as teachers and participants through and from each other.  I realized that my work in the cranial field of bodywork mirrored the language and philosophy of Jubilee and that it brought together the non-verbal world of bodywork I do with the contemplative and integrative possibilities of spiritual direction. We were speaking the same language as I was brought further into the mystery in my own life of the delicious tension between the wisdom of my story and letting go of the narrative in my mindfulness practice of no story.  All this has been held so lovingly in a contemplative space of God’s beautiful grace.

I graduated in 2013 from the Pacific Jubilee Program and have added Spiritual Direction to my practice, integrating bodywork with soul exploration. I am equally comfortable with the felt-sense of the presence of God as well as the mystery of God’s absence. I feel honoured to hold space for directees whether they have a strong and defined faith or are sitting with a spiritual expression that is more abstract or even in the paradox of both being present.  Jubilee has helped me to more fully live in my calling to listen as people connect with their soul expression and to facilitate a trust in their inner wisdom which always shows up when the space for the Spirit’s guidance is opened into.  Massage Therapy is a manipulation of the soft tissues of the body – it is a positive example of the manipulative – cranial work and spiritual direction is an experience of emergence – when a person is listened to on such a deep level verbally and non-verbally both, the nervous system softens and the emergence of inner wisdom is experienced as a groundswell of knowing physically and cognitively.

In the summer of 2014 I opened a new business called a Calm retreat – Bodywork and Contemplative Centre.  My website is www.acalmretreat.com – pop by for tea some time or drop in to the weekly community Saturday meditation at 11am at a Calm retreat, 263 Huron Rd. in Sebringville, ON, N0K 1X0 – 5 minutes west of Stratford on Hwy. 8.

“It may twist and turn, fall back on itself and start again, stumble over an infinite series of hindering rocks but at last the river must answer the call to the sea.” Howard Thurman


Communications (Web Site, Newsletter, Promotions)

Peggy Guiler
 – Communications Co-Ordinator

A second-year student in the Jubilee program, Peggy brings a background of journalism, mental health peer support and her personal business as an executive coach and trainer to the blog, newsletter and promotion of the Ontario Jubilee program.


River of Hope Enterprises
Port Dover, ON