About Soul Play

Simply put: Soul Play is the work of soul friends committed to sharing the Good News in an engaging, authentic manner aligned with tradition. The work consists primarily of live presentation of enriching theology couched in lively storytelling.

Started more than 20 years ago by Terry as a solo practitioner, Soul Play has grown organically into a loose collaboration of spiritual directors and retreat leaders committed to sharing the Good News and creating experiences of spiritual vitality by diving deep into the Catholic tradition and wisdom teachings.

The Soul Play team includes several trained individuals who offer one-on-one spiritual direction sessions with people seeking to deepen their spiritual journeys. 


To book a date with a Soul Play retreat leader, simply contact us. The process begins with a calendar inquiry to Soul Play team member Laura Field, who will handle the initial communications. Here are just some of the available offerings:

Parish Missions

  • Running the Paschal Mystery: Cheerleader or Participant?

  • Eucharist: Get To The Feast and Become What You Eat

Adolescent Sexuality

  • Sexuality and Relationship (8th grade and high school)

  • Intimacy (Young Adult)

  • Ignatian Spirituality and Relationships (Adults)

Adult Presentations

  • The Beloved Retreat

  • Are You Baptized? (Not Were You, But Are You?!)

  • Holy Pause: Stopping In The Midst of It All

  • The Spirituality of Fun

One-on-one Spiritual Direction

About Our Staff

Dr. Terry Nelson-Johnson  

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Street Theologian, Educator, Storyteller

Founder of Soul Play

Terry’s art is the written and spoken word. His passion for narrative theology expresses the yearning of 2,000 years to connect our life stories with The Story of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Through storytelling, poetry, and humor, Terry challenges us to enter more deeply into the mystery of grace, the mystery of spirit, the mystery of God.

Author and leader of the acclaimed Beloved retreat, Dr. Nelson-Johnson works with parents, teachers, pastoral staff and members of faith communities across the country to design and conduct formation programs that encourage, affirm, and inspire. A prolific writer, his reflections and essays have been widely published in local and national publications.

Dr. Nelson-Johnson served on the faculty of the Loyola Academy Jesuit High School for eighteen years and is Founder and Executive Director of Soul-Play, LLC, an experiential, theological, educational enterprise serving congregations, families, schools, and adult retreats. He is Resident Theologian and Animator of Faith at Old St. Patrick’s Church, holds a master’s degree from the Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University; and a Doctorate of Ministry from the University of St. Mary of the Lake. He and his wife Holly are the parents of two children, Ian and Clare.


Laura Field

Laura is a spiritual director at Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and lay leader of the acclaimed Beloved Retreat since 2013.

Laura fell in love with Ignatian Spirituality and regularly offers the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius for people desiring a richer prayer life and more intimate relationship with God.


Retreat Leader, Spiritual Director

The author of "Called to Joy, Always!" a retreat steeped in the truth of the Divine invitation to Joy , Laura enjoys combining ministry with her professional work in corporate communications at her  firm, Home Field Advantage, Inc. Laura earned a BA in Journalism and Economics from Indiana University in 1984 and a Master’s in Spirituality at Loyola University Chicago in 2011. She has helped St. Benedict’s Catholic Church and the Divine Word Missionaries establish vibrant spiritual direction ministries.

“I believe Spiritual Companionship … is a gift that we 'think' we give ourselves only to eventually discover it is our deep response to God’s insistent love. Spiritual Direction provides time for deep conversation about 'God Moments' and focused attention on hearing, seeing and feeling God’s grace more often and more explicitly."


Mary Kelly

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Retreat Leader, Spiritual Director

Mary Kelly has a passion for searching for the spirit in the many transitions of life.  She has navigated the journey of professional and personal change throughout her life, with a fascination for the soul experience. Mary is currently an Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at National Louis University.  She is a Spiritual Director and Retreat creator and leader.  Her graduate work includes degrees in both Psychology (National Louis University) and Spiritual Studies (Loyola University) and she continues to travel and learn from the likes of Richard Rohr and Parker Palmer.  Dr Terry Nelson-Johnson has been her mentor for years and she is delighted to be a part of Soul-Play.

"I believe that Spiritual Companionship … Invites us to explore who we REALLY are…to recognize and embrace the Divine energy that flows through us and connects us to All That Is.  It allows us to learn to trust our inner voice and wisdom…to heal ourselves."

Some of Mary’s Retreat topics:

The Journey Retreat for adults on the journey living into a spirituality, fed and informed by trusted voices on the outside while learning to trust more fully their own inner wisdom


Mike O'Gara

Retreat Leader

Mike provides narrative-based experiential offerings with spiritual and theological foundations for congregations, families, schools, and adults through True Self LLC. Significant focus areas for Mike have been Faith and Leadership, Vulnerability, and Reconciliation.



Jerry Harrington

Design & Technical Lead


Retreat Leader