Timothy Duff, STM, MA Cert. RCHL- ERD and BCC
Co-Founder/ Guardian President Guild of St. Benedict Joseph Labre
As a young chaplain in 2001, I was completing my training at the Hospital of St. Raphael in New Haven, Connecticut. Soon after, the 911 tragedy occurred. I was assigned to support patients from New York City and who were directly impacted by the disaster: either they had been in NYC or had lost a loved one from the tragedy at Ground Zero. This began my ministry journey and led me to become a staff chaplain, Director of Spiritual Care, Bereavement Coordinator, Pastoral Mentor and Educator in several healthcare settings.
I have also worked as a mental health family specialist, assigned to those families who had a loved one on hospice while having someone with mental illness in the family. My life experience has empowered me to work on both inpatient psychiatric care units and in the community offering spiritual support groups.
The inspiration to establish the Guild of St. Benedict Joseph Labre came to me when I was enrolled in the seminary. One night, in a holy hour, my life experiences about my family and my oldest brother Scott, in particular, flashed before me all at once and I felt in my heart God was telling me to do something to help those with mental illness. (You can read our story on this site.) I told God there was only one man who would understand what I wanted to do and that was (the late) Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, FFR. The next morning, at breakfast with my fellow seminarians, we were told that Fr. Groeschel was coming to our seminary to host a retreat. Yes, God surprises us! My twenty-year friendship with Father Groeschel would bring me many gifts of holiness and many answers to prayers, particularly for my brother Scott. We would meet at least three times a year over that time to discuss and receive guidance about this Apostolate. For more information about Fr. Benedict Groeschel see: http://franciscanfriars.com/father-benedict/. Over the years since 1996 when the Guild was founded, many travels and pilgrimages took place the Guild. Someday I hope to publish stories of our travels.
While most of you know about my oldest brother Scott, whose life and cause brought about this Guild, there is much more to my family's story. I am the youngest of six children, with three other siblings who struggle with one or another diagnosis of mental illness, ranging from Schizophrenia, to Schizo-Affective Disorder, Mood Disorders, PTSD, Depression, and Psychosis. Through God's grace and mercy, I have kept well all of my life, but I have made my life's mission to assist my siblings in every way possible. This includes daily contact, escorting them to medical appointments, ordering food and clothing for them, and loving them deeply. It is because of their struggles I wish to support others and remain grateful for the gifts that God has given me.
While I was convinced my destiny was to serve Our Lord as a priest, Providence had other plans! I am happily married to my wife Theresa, and just recently, we adopted our two beautiful daughters. God is Good!
- Director of Spiritual Care and Coordinator of Spiritual Services
- BCC - Board Certified Chaplain - in the National Association (NACC)
- ERD - Certified in the Ethical and Religious Directives of Catholic Healthcare (National Catholic Bioethics Center)
- Pastoral Educator in the Archdiocese of Boston for grief and bereavement
- Bereavement Coordinator for Hospice
- Hospice and Palliative care Support
- Spiritual Specialist for both Inpatient and Community psychiatric
- Pastoral Mentor for seminarians and pastoral visitors
- Chaplain for Disaster Relief and Support
Training and Education
- Master's Certificate in Catholic Healthcare Leadership (on-line porgram) - St. Joseph's College, Standish, ME
- Year-Long study in the Ethical and Religious Directives in Catholic Healthcare- National Catholic Bioethics Center, Philadelphia, PA
- Year-long Residency in Clinical Pastoral Educator (CPE)
- STM- Sacred Theology Masters- Holy Apostles Seminary
Carlos Solis, MD
Board Member/ Medical Advisor
Dr. Solis was born in Northern California and Baptized on January 21, 1963. He attended Catholic schools from first to twelfth grades. His personal life was altered by the long term mental illness and eventual suicide of his oldest sister, Anna Guadalupe, in 1984 as well as the Schizophrenia of his only brother, Virgilio, who was diagnosed shortly thereafter. These events led to personal bouts of bereavement, doubt and depression early in his life but through the Grace of God had managed to become less self-centered and more open to assist others with their suffering. He has witnessed much suffering in his patient’s lives mostly due to their mental illness and partly to the dysfunctional treatment they received from others.
Dr. Solis went on to the University of California, San Diego and UC Davis where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition Science. He received his Medical Degree from the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine where he met his wife, Cristina. Pediatrics Internship followed at the Kaiser Medical Center in Oakland, CA. Later switching to Psychiatry and completing his training at San Mateo County Psychiatry Residency Training Program in San Mateo, CA. Dr. Solis has worked in many clinical settings in Psychiatry including Crisis Residential programs, Intensive Outpatient program, private practice (which he no longer has), emergency psychiatric services, homeless intervention program, Transitional Housing for Developmentally Delayed people leaving long term stays in California State hospitals, addiction medicine, medical-psychiatric consultation liaison, county jail and a California State Prison practice where for a time he supervised Psychologists and Psychiatrists in what was the largest incarcerated inpatient unit in the country. His favorite and current practice is in a Full Service Team (FST) that provides “wrap around” services to indigent and court mandated psychiatrically incapacitated people in a county outpatient setting.
Dr. Solis struggles to enjoy a simpler life. He has already stopped watching television to avoid needless occasions of sin. He is currently attempting to wean himself off of his iPhone. He tries very hard to pray consistently, meditatively, vocally, alone and with others. Especially his family! He is currently working on controlling his anger particularly when he fails to get what he wants or fails to confide in Divine Providence (he often tries to blame others for his lack of virtue and faith!). He is ecstatic that he is finally able to receive Our Lord, Redeemer and King on the tongue and in the most reverent kneeling position since he now assists in the Tridentine Latin Rite Mass where it is not only encouraged but required (phew!). He enjoys to laugh with his patients as well as learning from them. He would say that the most important thing he has learned is “not unlike our eternal Salvation where one needs to work extremely hard with God’s Sanctifying Grace, so one must work with God’s healing Graces to battle the symptoms of mental illness.”
History, Education and Credentials
- -Roman Catholic Psychiatrist, Non-Staff Volunteer. Psychiatric Evaluations, Family Counseling and Short Term Care for Parishioners in Local Parish.
- -Full-Service Team (FST) Psychiatrist providing “wrap around” services to High Utilizing Consumers and Mental Health Court mandated patients in Nevada and Placer County, CA
- -California Health Care Facility, (CHCF). Administration. Supervisor. Training. Policy Development in Crisis Care Inpatient Psychiatric Care Units. Stockton, CA
- -Superior Court Psychiatric Examiner to determine Competency to Stand Trial. Expert Witness. Amador and Placer County
- -Mental Health Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board-Placer County, Consultant.
- -Psychiatry Residency Program, San Mateo County. San Mateo, CA
- -Pediatric Residency Program, Kaiser Medical Center. Oakland, CA
- -Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI
- -Confraternitas Sancti Petri
- -Promotion of True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort 33 Day Consecration
- -Militia Immaculata, (St Maximilian Kolbe)
- -Past Presentations: NAMI Conferences and Local Chapters. Diocesan and local Parishes. Local County Government. Various topics Including Drugs and Alcohol & Mental Illness, Psychotropic Medications and Various Mental Pathologies, Medical Disorders and Psychiatric Pathologies etc. Mental Illness in the Spanish Speaking Community, the Application of Magisterial Catholic teaching in the Treatment of the Mentally Ill.
- -former Rachel's Vineyard Retreats for Spanish Speaking.
Constance J. Salhany, Ph.D., ACT
Founder of Catholic Mental Health Professionals, (Staten Island, New York). CMHP is a community of mental health professionals who are committed to the Catholic faith. Together they strive to establish and foster a spiritual and professional community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Our Divine Healer, and Redeemer, as our foundation. They accomplish this through discussion, mutual support, collaboration, networking, dissemination of ideas, mentoring, utilization of a listserv, meetings, and Christ-centered activities. They host seminars and activities, and yearly spiritual events for the community, including the annual Holy White Mass (named for the White Coat in Healthcare), which includes the blessing of Holy Hands. They also honor two Catholic people who have made contributions to health care on Staten Island, yearly. They host a special mass on the birthday of Fr. Benedict Groeschel in his memory, with special intentions for those suffering from mental health issues, and those in poverty. They have an annual day of Recollection for Women and a half-day retreat for All Souls Days. They have professional training for Catholic clinicians with guest speakers in the field. When the need arises, whether, through natural disaster or social difficulties, they step forward to help, as they did in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
A practicing Catholic and married to Deacon Richard Salhany for 38 years. She has two children who are married and two grandchildren.
- A licensed psychologist who has been treating individuals with a broad range of anxiety and depressive disorders for more than 25 years with a subspecialty in counseling the Christian Client.
- Diplomate, and Fellow in Cognitive Therapy, and a Certified Trainer and Consultant, Academy of Cognitive Therapy
- Founder and Clinical Director of Cognitive Therapy of Staten Island, PSLMHC, PLLC.
- Co-founder of Staten Island Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Association.
- Clinical Instructor for the Psychiatric Residents at Richmond University Medical Center and Northwell, Staten Island University Hospital.
- Adjunct Professor at the College of Staten Island.
- Former faculty at St. Paul’s School of Nursing and St. Vincent’s School of Nursing, Wagner College
- Former Acting Administrator for the new Mental Health Counselors Program at the College of Staten Island, Graduate Division.
- Dr. Salhany enjoys mentoring psychologists and other mental health professionals.
Community Work and Awards
- Board Member of the non-profit patient advocacy organization, Freedom From Fear, -Caregivers Award Recipient, on the 25th Anniversary of Freedom from Fear.
- Clinical Management Consultants.
- Lecturer and presenter to various local entities, at professional conferences, and has appeared on local television.
- Borough President's Certificate for her outreach efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy
- Visiting Nurse Association, Smith Stanley Award, Louis Capporicci Community Service Award, Faculty Appreciation Award from the C.S.I. Dolphins
- Lifetime Membership in the Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology
- Member of various professional organizations including Catholic Psychotherapy Association.
Training and Education
Dr. Salhany completed an Extramural Program from the prestigious Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research. She was personally supervised by Judith Beck, Ph.D., a best-selling author, researcher and expert in cognitive therapy. Dr. Salhany is one of only 130 people in the world to hold advanced certification as consultant and trainer in Cognitive Therapy. She holds a Certified Trail Based Cognitive Therapist. Dr. Salhany has expertise in Reid Wilson's Cognitive (strategic) Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Strategies. Her experience includes Reid Wilson's 2-day intensive treatment group, and completion of the Behavior Therapy Training Institute, sponsored by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the IOCD Foundation and taught by leading experts in North America.
Marianne Komek became aware of what it’s like to live with someone who is mentally ill when her mother, Virginia, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. There were many times when Virginia was absent from her life because of hospitalizations for depression or manic episodes. It was devastating to the child, her two brothers, and her father.
Then a miracle occurred. Virginia found a new psychiatrist who started her on a regimen of lithium. The roller-coaster ride of manic highs and depressive lows came to an end. Her mother was able to care for her children and later when they were older, she became a secretary in the local hospital, working with medical charts and doctors and nurses. She thrived in this atmosphere.
At sixteen-years-old, Marianne excelled academically, was the editor of her high school newspaper, and had just been inducted into the National Honor Society. Everything crashed around her when she experienced depression. Later, she was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder but denied it because of its stigma. Finally, she accepted her diagnosis and was treated for it. She was able to come “off the roller coaster” and live a normal life.
Marianne wants to combat the stigma that surrounds the disease. She has done this by reaching out to friends and cousins with the illness, encouraging them not to be ashamed and to seek medical assistance. She has written a Catholic novel about a teenage girl who has bipolar disorder, Promises to Theresa. It is currently in production and will be released later this year. Marianne wishes, through fiction, to offer a sympathetic portrait of a family’ s struggle to cope with mental illness with courage and faith in God. She is a journalist who would like to publicize the work of the Guild of St. Benedict Joseph Labre to help the mentally ill and overcome the stigma. She especially likes the fact that it is a spiritual apostolate with 40-hour adorers. Marianne has found the strength to cope with her illness by her faith in Jesus and love for the Blessed Sacrament. She is a daily communicant and is an active member of her parish, serving on several committees and is a Rosarian. Marianne is also a consecrated member of the international Marian Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt.
She studied psychology in college and has read books on the topic such as cognitive therapy, codependence, and Carl Jung’s work, but has not had formal training in psychological methods. However, she is living proof of how good psychiatric care and the love and support of family and friends can help many mentally ill people to live a good life and contribute to society. She has been married to her supportive husband, Cabbar, a professional photographer, and media artist, for thirty-three years.
- Freelance Catholic Journalist: Articles have appeared in the National Catholic Register, the Catholic News Service, and The Catholic Spirit, the official newspaper for the diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey.
- Perth Amboy, New Jersey Adult School: English as a Second Language (ESL) substitute instructor
- Essex County College, Newark; New Jersey: Remedial English Grammar and Writing Skills Tutor
- Human Sciences Press; New York City: Production Editor
- The CPA Journal; New York City: Editorial Assistant
- The College of New Jersey; Ewingville; New Jersey: Bachelor of Arts in English Literature
- The Institute of Paralegal Studies; Rahway, New Jersey: Paralegal Certification
We are currently searching for Board Members
We are looking for at least two individuals
Who are we looking for?
Currently looking for a Catholic Priest or Consecrated Religious who will offer spiritual direction to the board members
Currently looking for someone who has a background in psychology from the Roman Catholic perspective.
Here are some qualifications
A Catholic who is in good standing with the Catholic Church
He/ She must desire to remain Faithful to ALL of the teaching of the Catholic Church
Must have some connection with mental illness/ And hold a desire to help and advocate for them.
Must have a desire to follow the spirit and charism of the Founders
This is done by trying to live out our Mission and Values in their daily lives.
Must have a desire to learn about St. Benedict Joseph Labre and desire to live his spirituality.
What to do if you are interested or know someone who may?
Contact Timothy Duff via email or call his cell phone.
Timothy's Cell Phone: 617-412-0691