Please get to know the workers at Gratia Plena:
Sara Alexander, MA, LPC is a native of Bay City (Texas) and has a master's degree from Houston Baptist University. Her undergraduate degree was from Franciscan University in Steubenville (Ohio). She and her husband have been very involved with ADORE ministries, and she previously worked as a Catholic school counselor. They have four children and are parishioners at St. Laurence. She sees children, adolescents, and adults at the Thérèse office in the Stafford / Sugar Land area.
Eric Balkom is a volunteer in the St Therese office. Recently retired from the oil and gas industry, Eric and his wife Dawn are members of St Faustina Parish in Richmond. Originally from Baton Rouge, LA, Eric and Dawn moved to Katy in 2013 for a work assignment. After attending an ACTS retreat in 2019, Eric was inspired to recommit to the Catholic faith and is striving to serve any way he can. They have a daughter here in Katy who works in real estate and their son lives in Portland, OR and is a freelance photographer.
Stephen Bonnette, MS, LPC comes to us from Louisiana with his master's degree from University of Louisiana at Lafayette and his undergraduate Psychology degree from LSU at Alexandria. He teaches full-time at San Jacinto College. He has been involved in Steubenville conferences as a youth counselor and has served in a variety of peer/youth ministry and leadership roles at a number of Catholic parishes. Married with young children, they are parishioners at Annunciation Catholic Church. Stephen offices in our Mother Cabrini location in the NASA / Clear Lake area where he works with adults. He has special training for marriage counseling.
Steven Brown, MS, LSSP, LPA has a license and a wealth of experience in school psychology. He comes to us from the Dallas area, where he worked for several school districts during his career there. After relocating to Houston, he and his wife became parishioners at St. Laurence in Sugar Land. He volunteers at the parish assisting children with disabilities in their faith formation programs. At the parish he also assists with the PACT program, which is a ministry devoted to the parenting of teenagers. He works under the supervision of Dr. Ken, mainly seeing children and adolescents at the Thérèse office in the Stafford / Sugar Land area.
Psychologist Dr. Kenneth Buckle, Psy.D. As Executive Director of Gratia Plena, he leads the management team and oversees clinical services. Dr. Ken is a native Houstonian and is licensed to practice Psychology in Texas. Dr. Ken obtained his undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. He then completed his graduate studies in the Chicago area at Wheaton College and the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. He and his wife are parishioners at St. Laurence (Sugar Land). He works in the Thérèse office in the Stafford / Sugar Land area with adults, addressing mental illness and addictions.
Derlyn Rhoades Cayanan, MA, LPC is a native of Hawaii, and obtained her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH. Derlyn works in our Padre Pio office in the Spring / Woodlands area and in New Caney at St. John of the Cross parish. She and her husband are parishioners at St. Anthony of Padua in The Woodlands and are parents of a newborn baby.
Corey Dossey, MA, LPC has her counseling degree from Sam Houston State University and undergraduate degree in Psychology from Texas A&M. She is a parishioner at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Houston. She has experience in play therapy with children and has worked for several nonprofit organizations. She is EMDR trained. She works part-time in our Cecilia office in the Memorial area.
Pui Au-Earls, M.Ed., LPC obtained her master's degree in counseling at the University of St. Thomas. Pui is originally from Hong Kong, but her college education was in the United States. She served as a FOCUS missionary. She is fluent in English and speaks Cantonese and some Mandarin Chinese. She is Catholic and married, and is a mother of one. She see adults and adolescents in our Mother Cabrini office.
Renee Fauria, Ed.D., MA, LPC-Supervisor is a parishioner at Sacred Heart (Conroe) and teaches graduate classes at Houston Baptist University. She has worked as a crisis pregnancy counselor and has experience working in hospital and outpatient settings. Her doctoral degree in Education is from Sam Houston State University and her master's degree in counseling is from the University of Chicago. She works full-time in our Padre Pio office in the Spring / Woodlands area.
Christina Garcia, MS, LPC is a parishioner at the Catholic Charismatic Center in Houston, and she works mainly in our Mother Cabrini office in the NASA / Clear Lake area but also meets with guests at the Thérèse office in Sugar Land/Stafford. She sees adolescents and adults and has worked in hospital settings as well as with Catholic Charities. Her master's degree is from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. She works for us full-time.
Office Assistant Leticia Garcia is one of our bilingual receptionists, and helps with administrative issues in the office. She and her family are parishioners at St. Laurence (Sugar Land). She works in the Thérèse office in the Stafford / Sugar Land area.
Office Assistant Amelia Garcia is a bilingual receptionist at the Thérèse office in Sugar Land/Stafford. She is a parishioner at St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Sugar Land. She is a choir member and her ministry focus is with their parish St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Student Intern Cecilia Garza has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and is working on a master's degree in Psychology from the University of Houston - Clear Lake. She is fluent in English and Spanish, and assists services providers as well as supports our administrative functions. She is a parishioner at St. Frances Cabrini.
Psychologist Dr. Jay Glynn, PhD is a licensed psychologist and school psychologist (LSSP) who works with children, adolescents, and adults. He obtained his Ph.D. in School/Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. He has worked for many years in the past for the Cy-Fair and Fort Bend School Districts and as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston. Currently he is on staff at The Kinkaid School. He is a certified Spiritual Director, trained through the Spiritual Direction Institute at the Cenacle in Houston. He is originally from New Orleans. He and his wife are parishioners at St. Laurence Catholic Church. He works part-time in our Thérèse office in the Stafford/Sugar Land area.
Dorothy Godines, MS, LPC Associate is native of Corpus Christi. Her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is from Divine Mercy University with her undergraduate in Theology from Our Lady of Corpus Christi. She was a lay missionary with the Society of our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity in North Dakota, where she was a youth minister on the Turtle Mountain Reservation. She is a certified traumatologist, Compassion Fatigue therapist and educator, EMDR (Level 1) and HEART model through the Green Cross Academy. She sees children, adolescents, and adults. She is supervised by Fredericka Vyvlecka, LPC-Supervisor and Dr. Ken.
Development Manager Ricardo Granie, PMP is part of our management team, and leads development of our staff members as well as development of Gratia Plena, especially managing grants and donor relationships. He and his wife are parishioners at St. Faustina in Fulshear, and have been involved in various ministries at several parishes for many years. He has a project management certification, and before joining Gratia Plena he managed IT projects at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Sr. Megan Grewing, CDP, MS, LPC-Supervisor is of the Congregation of Divine Providence, and relocated to Houston from San Antonio. She obtained her master's degree in counseling from Angelo State University. She is a parishioner at St. Rose of Lima in Houston. Sr. Megan sees people of all ages at the Cecilia office in the Memorial area. She provides clinical supervision for LPC interns.
Monica Gutierrez, MS, LPC-Associate was born in Mexico and raised in Houston, Texas. Monica graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is bilingual and enjoys providing mental health services in both English and Spanish. She enjoys working with children, teens, and adults. She is supervised by Sr. Megan Grewing, CDP, LPC-S.
Monica Guillen is a counseling graduate student at Lamar University pursuing a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She has worked in bilingual education as an elementary school teacher for the past several years. Monica and her husband have an infant daughter and they are parishioners of Assumption Catholic Church. Monica is supervised by Sr. Megan Grewing, CDP, MS, LPC-S.
Mary Therese Hafernik is a counseling graduate student at Divine Mercy University pursuing a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Previously she attended the University of Dallas, where she earned a bachelor's degree in Pastoral Ministry. Mary Therese worked for several years at Cristo Rey Jesuit Preparatory High School as a Theology Teacher, which sparked her desire to pursue a career in counseling that will promote healing to the whole person, body, mind, and soul. Mary Therese is supervised by Sr. Megan Grewing, CDP, MS, LPC-S.
Kathy Holecek, NASM, FMCHC provides Nutrition and Health Coaching and support to clients as they take steps toward improving their health and their relationship with food. Kathy is originally from Oklahoma but has lived in Texas since 2004. Kathy obtained a BA in Humanities from St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, OK. Her health coaching certificate is from the Institute of Functional Medicine. Kathy has a Spiritual Director certificate from the Cenacle Spiritual Direction Institute. She believes in a holistic approach to wellness that encompasses the physical, spiritual and emotional aspects of health. Kathy has a particular interest in Saint Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and how it applies to living out our lives as a gift to others as physically and spiritually integrated men and women. Kathy and her husband have five kids and they are parishioners of Sacred Heart in Richmond. Kathy works in our Thérèse office in the Stafford / Sugar Land area.
Nerea Ibarreche, M.Ed.,LCDC is a Bilingual Catholic Chemical Dependency Counselor, licensed in Texas, fluent in English and Spanish. She has a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Toronto and a certificate in Positive Psychology. She has previously worked as a Psychology Professor in Catholic Private Universities in Mexico City. In addition to her work as an LCDC counselor, she currently teaches the Court Ordered Alcohol and Drugs Offender Education Programs online. She works in the Padre Pio Office in the Spring/Conroe/ Woodlands area.
Alvaro Interiano, M.Div., S.T.B., M.Ed., LPC is a native of El Salvador, but grew up most of his life in Houston. He is bilingual and was raised immersed in both cultures. He experienced a profound conversion to the Catholic faith while attending Texas A&M and has loved his faith ever since. He and his family are parishioners at Prince of Peace. He and his wife are proud parents of their newborn daughter, Eden Marie. He most enjoys integrating psychology and the Catholic faith to help adults find inner freedom and healing in Christ.
Liza Knight, M.Ed., LPC - Associate, was born and raised in Houston, TX. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio and a degree in Counseling from the University of St. Thomas. As a bilingual therapist in English and Spanish, she enjoys serving her community. Liza is a parishioner at Holy Family Catholic Church and occasionally frequents Holy Rosary, where she used to volunteer as a youth leader. She works under the supervision of Dr. Renee Fauria at the Thérèse office in Stafford as a part time clinician.
Spiritual Director Mary Kay Malicki, MS provides spiritual direction services for Gratia Plena and consultation to the Catholic community for Days of Reflection and retreats. She is a retired Catholic school teacher. She received her spiritual direction training at the Spiritual Direction Institute at the Cenacle in Houston with specialized training in Italy, and is a member of Spiritual Directors International. She has 20 years of experience as a spiritual director. She has a master's degree in Chemistry and worked in her early years as a research chemist. She is Catholic and married with four adult children. She and her husband are parishioners at St. Catherine of Siena. More information about spiritual direction is available in the "Our Services" section of this website. She meets with directees at our Cecilia and Thérèse offices.
Bookkeeper-Office Assistant Lizbeth Medina works at the Thérèse office in Sugar Land/Stafford. She is bilingual in English and Spanish. She is a parishioner at St. Laurence and part of their Hispanic and Eucharistic Adoration Ministry. A native of Venezuela, she and her husband belong to Parroquia Virtual Venezolana. She received her accounting degree at the Catholic Andres Bello University.
Sr. Agnes Kimchi Nguyen O.P, MA is a Dominican Sister of the of Mary Immaculate Province in Houston, TX. The Mother House is the Dominican Sisters of Thánh Tâm, Xuan Loc Diocese in Viêt Nam. She obtained her master's degree in Counseling from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. Sr. Agnes works with individuals and groups of people of the Vietnamese Parishes around Houston. She is supervised by Dr. Ken Buckle.
Lauren Novak, MS, LMFT Associate is a parishioner at St. Laurence (Sugar Land). her graduate degree is from the University of Houston at Clear Lake, and her undergraduate degree is from Texas Tech. She enjoys working with children and teen students. She works part-time at our Thérèse office in the Stafford / Sugar Land area. She is supervised by Julie Jones, LMFT-Supervisor and Dr. Ken.
Father/Dr. Augustine Obasi, Ph.D. is a diocesan priest from Nigeria but is also a US citizen. He completed his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in California and is working on licensure in Texas as a psychologist. He works at the Thérèse and Aquinas offices and is available for pastoral counseling and spiritual direction. He is our post-doctoral fellow.
Sr. Anna Pauline Pham, O.P., MA is a Dominican Sister of Mary Immaculate Province in Houston, Texas. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of St. Thomas in Houston and a Master of Arts in Theology from Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College in Virginia. She has served on the formation committee for her religious community for the past 15 years, directing young women in their discernment of God’s will and growth in the spiritual life. She directs retreats for youth, young adults, and adults across the nation and is passionate about living the charism of her Dominican order by striving to share with others the fruits of contemplation through spiritual direction and desiring to accompany others on the path to holiness. She works part-time at our Aquinas office in the Upper Kirby area. She is supervised by Mary Malicki, MS.
Magnolia Phillips was born in Mexico City. She has a degree in Business Administration with a mayor in Marketing from the University of the Americas-UDLA. She has experience in Accounting, HR and Marketing and currently works in the Thérèse office in the Stafford / Sugar Land area as a Business Analyst. Her and her family are parishioners at St. Faustina in Fulshear and they have been involved in several ministries for over 20 years.
Carole Joan Polzer,M.A.,M.Sc. is originally from Astoria, New York and the oldest of five children. She attended Catholic school through high school and received her B.A. and Master's Degree from Hunter College in New York City. Carole also received a Master's Degree in Counseling from the University of Houston. Carole taught child development and family living at the high school level before joining the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, where she worked for 39 years. Her ministry included Coordinator of Youth Ministry and Director of Religious Education. Most recently, Carole served as a School Counselor for seventeen years at St. Michael Catholic School in Houston. Carole is available for Spiritual Direction and has directed retreats for women. She is a member of Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church in Houston and participates in the lay ecclesial movement, Communion and Liberation. Carole has two daughters - Natalie and Danielle. Carole serves as a part-time School Counselor at our Aquinas office in the Upper Kirby area and Cecilia office in the Memorial area.
Carlos Razuri Barandiaran, MS, NCC, LPC-Associate is a counselor at the San Jose Clinic location. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of St. Thomas. He is bilingual and has previously worked as a Spanish teacher, where he also provided support as translator. He attends at St. Edward Catholic Church in Spring. At University of St. Thomas, he was involved in different clubs that shared Catholic theology and philosophy with the community. As part of his graduate Practicum experience, at the University of St. Thomas, he was both at the Career Services Center and the UST Counseling Training Clinic. He has a varied practicum experience, ranging from impatient psychoeducational group work to career/educational counseling, to individual clinical counseling. He worked from an Existential standpoint that was effective, individualized, and evidence-based. He employs an integrative and holistic Existential theoretical approach that values collaboration, experience, and openness. He is supervised by Dr. Renee M. Fauria EdD., LPC-S.
Cynthia Renaudo, MS, LPC and her husband are parishioners at St. Clare of Assisi and very involved in Rachel's Vineyard in Houston as President, organizing and leading retreats for post-abortive women. She is EMDR trained. She has many years of experience in nonprofit operations and leadership. Her graduate degree in counseling was from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. She works part-time in our Mother Cabrini office in the NASA / Clear Lake area.
Ana Gabriela Schmude, MA, is a Marriage and Parenting Coach. She obtained her MA degree in Family Sciences from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Mexico City and her BA in Psycho-Pedagogic Counselor from UAA in Mexico. She and her husband attend Mass at Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and works in our Padre Pio office in the Spring / Woodlands area. She is supervised by Dr. Ken Buckle.
Anne Untermeyer, MS, LPC Associate: Lizzie attended Texas State University for her undergraduate degree and Divine Mercy University for her Masters in Counseling. She worked as a FOCUS Missionary prior to graduate school. She works at the Therese office. She enjoys working with adolescents and young adults. She is supervised by Sister Megan Grewing, CDP, LPC-S.
Office Analyst/Assistant Noelia Valdivieso was born in Bolivia and is fluent in English and Spanish. She and her family are parishioners at St. Laurence (Sugar Land) but have also been involved with the Charismatic movement. She is a student at HCC. She works at our Thérèse office in the Stafford / Sugar Land area and helps with administrative duties.
Student Counselor Bruce Williamson has a Bachelor of Theology and a Bachelor of Philosophy from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy. Bruce is currently studying for a master’s program in Counseling at UH Clear Lake. He is an artist and art teacher. Bruce and his wife are parishioners of St. Clare of Assisi parish where he has been active in the Church Ensemble Choir, teaching in RCIA and involved in ACTS retreats. Bruce is fluent in Italian. He also works part-time in the Cabrini Office near NASA providing spiritual direction services to our guests. He is supervised by Dr. Ken Buckle.