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Who we are

AUTHORS BRIDGET BRENNAN AND JEROME SHEN are the husband-and-wife team who bring decades of training, writing and ongoing education to The Cana Institute. Along with advanced degrees in Religious Studies and related fields, Bridget is a Certified Family Life Educator, Relationship Skills Coach and Marriage Preparation Educator. Jerry has a PhD in chemistry and has worked extensively in research. Both are trained in PREP, PAIRS and other relationship education programs.

In their well-known workshops, retreats and seminars, Bridget and Jerry bring together the concepts of marriage and spirituality for people throughout the country. In fact, they developed and directed a marriage preparation seminar for first and second marriages. Since 1997 when that program was implemented, they have put that program to good use, helping more than 5,000 couples prepare for marriage.

Bridget and Jerry have traveled throughout the U.S. presenting retreats for couples. They have also led workshops at national conferences: Smart Marriages; NACFLM; Missouri Social Services; U.S. Administration for Children and Families; as well as many more regional conferences and programs at parishes and spirituality centers. Additionally, Bridget and Jerry have presented numerous marriage workshops to the Vietnamese, Bosnian, Croatian and Somalia Bantu communities on behalf of the St. Louis Healthy Families program.

They currently divide their time between presenting workshops, writing and spending time with their sons and their families.

 
 
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Married in 1976, Bridget Brennan and Jerry Shen have helped more than 5,000 couples prepare for marriage.

 

Credentials

Bridget Brennan

Education:
BA: Education and Sociology, Saint Louis University
MA: Human Relations, Saint Louis University
MA: Religious Studies, Saint Louis University

Certifications:  
• Family Life Educator
• Relationship Skills Master Coach
• Family Life Minister
• Marriage Preparation Educator
• Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP)
• Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills (PAIRS)

Professional Experience:
• Founder and President, The Cana Institute
• Executive Director of St. Louis Healthy Families (2006 –2012)
• Adjunct Professor, Aquinas Institute of Theology, Saint Louis, Missouri
• "Living Ignatian Spirituality in Marriage", Saint Louis University
• "Smart Marriages", State of Missouri Human Services and U.S. Office of Health & Human Services

Awards:
Development of Peoples Award, 2014: In recognition of carrying out principles and ideals of Pope Paul VI's Encyclical, Populorium Progressio from the National Christian Life Community
Alumna Award for Community Outreach, 2012: Incarnate Word Academy Hall of Fame
Clare of Assisi Spiritual Guide Award,2000: sponsored by the Archdiocesan Committee on Women in the Church

Memberships:
• National Association of Lay Ministers (NALM)
• National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers (NACFLM)
• Coalition for Marriage, Family & Couples Education (Smart Marriages)
• National Council on Family Relations (NCFR)
• Spiritual Directors International (SDI)
• American Association of University Women (AAUW)

Author:
Falling in Love...Finding God, Marriage and the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, Lulu Publishing, 2017
Your Marriage, Ligouri Press, 2015 (contributing author: "Intimacy" chapter)
Claiming Your Deepest Desires, The Power of an Intimate Marriage, Liturgical Press, 2004
The Marriage Connection, Wedding the Spiritual and Practical, A Facilitator's Guide, The Cana Institute, 2001


Jerome Shen

Jerry is the co-author of three books on spirituality and marriage, and a co-presenter at many of The Cana Institute's lectures and retreats. His long-time experiences as a teacher and a leader in the workplace add a 'real-life' perspective to his instruction. 

Education:
BS: Chemistry, Saint Louis University
Ph.D: Physical Chemistry University of Wisconsin, Madison

Professional Experience:
• Director of Research, Ralston-Purina
• Assistant Professor, SIU-Edwardsville
• Retired as Director of Research, Solae, Inc. 

Certifications:  
• Marriage Preparation Educator
• Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP)
• Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills (PAIRS)

Author:
Falling in Love...Finding God, Marriage and the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, Lulu Publishing, 2017
Claiming Your Deepest Desires, The Power of an Intimate Marriage, Liturgical Press, 2004
The Marriage Connection, Wedding the Spiritual and Practical, A Facilitator's Guide, The Cana Institute, 2001

 

White House Retreat Lecture   |   January 24, 2018   |    SEE VIDEO   (52:42)

 
 
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