Contemplative End-of-Life Care

October 2 – 11, 2013

Light on the Hill Retreat Center

Van Etten, New York

Leaders: Kirsten DeLeo, Pam Russell, and Dr Ann Allegre


The premise of the contemplative spiritual care approach lies in the fact that if we trulyContemplative Care want to be useful, the only place to start is with ourselves; to work with our own mind and so transform ourselves. This training encourages personal transformation and growth by offering participants the unique opportunity to explore their own understanding about death, and its spiritual dimension, and how they relate to life and those they care for.


Participants become uniquely attuned to a deeper understanding of what it means to be present with suffering, without becoming overwhelmed by it, and thereby are able to respond more effectively and appropriately to the needs of patients and clients and work in a team.


This eight-day residential retreat is part of an innovative certificate program, which also includes a 15-week online component.  The online program begins September 3rd and goes through December 22nd.  A complete description of the certificate program can be found at the website of Rigpa’s Spiritual Care Program through Naropa University.


The program addresses crucial training needs most frequently requested by professionals, including:

  • communicating about dying and death
  • enhancing empathy and compassion
  • helping patients find new meaning, sources of strength, and ways to make a genuine connection with loved ones
  • facilitating the process of healing relationships, resolving unfinished business, and saying goodbye
  • creating a peaceful environment for dying
  • supporting the bereaved
  • healing / preventing burnout


The Contemplative End-of-Life Care Certificate Program, inspired by Sogyal Rinpoche’s The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, brings together authentic and practical contemplative resources with the knowledge and skills of modern hospice and palliative care.

It offers the unique opportunity to study and practice together in a community of like-minded peers from across the country and abroad.




Kirsten DeLeo, MA, International Trainer.
Drawing on more than fifteen years’ experience accompanying people through the last phase of their lives, Kirsten leads trainings for professionals and the public in Europe and the US. Trained in Hakomi body-centered psychotherapy, Kirsten has been active in the hospice movement since the early 90’s. Since 2003, Kirsten has served on the faculty for Spiritual Care’s Contemplative End-of-Life Care Certificate Program, which she also co-designed.



Pam Russell, LMSW, Senior Educator.
Pam is an end-of-life care social worker and bereavement counselor with over twenty years’ experience in elder care in long-term care facilities. She serves on the faculty for Naropa University’s Contemplative End of Life Care training and is a Rigpa meditation instructor.



Dr Ann Allegre MD, FACP, Director of medical programs, Kansas City Hospice, medical director of palliative care, Providence Health, professor of medicine, University of Kansas School of Medicine and educator for the Spiritual Care Education Program. She was awarded the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine “Project on Death in America Community Leadership in Palliative Care Award” in 2007, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the advancement of the field of palliative medicine through the education and training of future leaders.


Contact Crystal via email for more information.