Springs in the Desert accompanies those struggling with infertility by offering a place of respite and solidarity where they can know God’s love for them and discover His unique call to fruitfulness.
Firmly rooted in the anthropology, ethics and spirituality of the Catholic Church, and our shared experiences of infertility, Springs in the Desert affirms the goodness of marriage, upholds the giftedness of the child, and advocates for a broader understanding of what it means to be life-giving. By keeping our focus on Christ, not on conception, we give witness to His Divine love and mercy and the goodness of His plan for our lives.
Springs in the Desert forms our community with unique offerings for women, men and couples, meeting them wherever they are on the path of infertility. Through these encounters, we make space for deeper renewal in our relationships with ourselves, our spouses, and God.
Our ministry also raises awareness about the experience and unique grief of infertility to pastors, diocesan offices, and healthcare professionals, helping them to understand the needs of a couple struggling with infertility, and providing tools and resources to help them minister more effectively to hurting couples. Among pastoral ministers and healthcare professionals, Springs in the Desert is recognized as a trusted resource for couples experiencing infertility.
Kimberly Henkel, PhD and Ann M. Koshute, MTS, met while studying at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. Years later they met again and discovered not only their common struggle with infertility, but found that many pastors and family life ministers expressed feeling ill-equipped to deal with an issue as sensitive and nuanced as infertility. Even friends and family members often didn’t know what to say or how to offer their support. Kimberly and Ann soon discovered that the isolation and sense of not belonging they experienced as a result of infertility were not unique to them. In 2019, they officially founded Springs in the Desert as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to offer spiritual and emotional accompaniment and solidarity to those carrying the cross of infertility. Our team is here to meet you wherever you are on this path, to walk with you with hope in Christ, and to create a safe place for your story to be heard and understood.
Kimberly Henkel, PhD
Kimberly is co-founder of Springs in the Desert and holds a PhD in Moral Theology and Ethics from the Catholic University of America. Kimberly and her husband, Greg, were married in 2008 and are an adoptive family living in Central Ohio with their four young children. She is the founder of Springs of Love, a Catholic foster and adoption support ministry.
Ann M. Koshute, MTS
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Ann is co-founder of Springs in the Desert. She holds a Master of Theological Studies from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America. She and her husband Keith live in Central Pennsylvania and are Byzantine Catholics who married in 2011. In addition to her work as Executive Director of Springs in the Desert, she also writes and speaks at conferences, retreats, and pre-Cana programs. In 2021, Ann was appointed to the USCCB’s National Advisory Council by Most Rev. Kurt Burnette, Bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic.
Fr. Paul Varchola West
Fr. Paul is the Spiritual Father for Springs in the Desert and was ordained a priest in the Byzantine Catholic Church in July 2020. He serves as pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Levittown, Pennsylvania. He married his wife Alissa in 2009 and together they enjoy music, the outdoors, and making messes with their two children with whom they were blessed after many years of prayers and infertility treatments.
Jillian is a wife, mother to two lost in miscarriage, and lover of her family’s pup, Phoebe. Jillian holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from the University of Dallas. In her free time, you can find Jillian reading the Code of Canon Law, hosting wine tastings, or two-stepping with her husband in the kitchen.
Blog Manager & Content Editor
Allie married her husband James in 2016 and lives in Central Texas where she joyfully embraces her vocation as wife and her role as homemaker, godmother, aunt, and math and physics tutor. Allie enjoys writing, reading, sewing, gardening, and volunteering at her parish. As Blog Manager, Allie is blessed to help cultivate the many beautiful submissions authored by Springs in the Desert writers.
Core Team Member
Stacey and her husband Phil married in 2015 and live in Fort Wayne, Indiana where Stacey works at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church as the youth and young adult ministry coordinator. Stacey holds a Master of Arts degree in Theology from the University of Notre Dame.
Social Media & Design Manager
Cassandra married her husband Michael in 2016. After several years living in Spain, the Taylors now reside in southern New Hampshire, where they work at a small Catholic college. In her free time, Cassandra loves to read, knit, spin flags, and talk about New Jersey. A cancer survivor, she is navigating life post-hysterectomy while enjoying opportunities to live out her spiritual motherhood with her niece and nephew, godchildren, and the young people in her community. As Social Media & Design Manager, Cassandra can usually be found creating all kinds of digital and print materials for the ministry.
Core Team Member
Cassi and her husband Ian live out their unique call to fruitfulness through radical availability to family, friends, and neighbors alike. They have been blessed to serve in their parish, diocese, and beyond through involvement with youth ministry, Catholic Engaged Encounter, and Springs in the Desert. Cassi is a speech-language pathologist who also holds degrees in Mental Health and Human Services and Theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Although she is a true introvert and a confessed “word-nerd,” Cassi loves having deep, meaningful conversations about matters of the mind and heart.
Abby lives in South Bend, Indiana with her husband Zachary and their corgi, Violet. She is an honest-to-goodness Iowan at heart who can’t imagine living anywhere but the Midwest. She spends most of her time discipling young women and equipping apostles at her parish, hanging with her crazy family, and horseback riding!
Alissa is the wife of Fr. Paul West. After years of treatments for infertility caused by PCOS, Alissa is mother to two children and one baby in Heaven. Alissa enjoyed a decade-long career as a Music Therapist, and is currently back in school studying graphic design. She enjoys making music, art, and food, especially the sweet kind.
Amy lives in Emmitsburg, Maryland, with her husband, Kyle, and daughter, Winnie. She and Kyle work together as photographers at Amy and Kyle Catholic Photography. The Springs in the Desert community has made her cross of secondary infertility feel less lonely to carry, and she’s working toward carrying it with great joy.
Annemarie and her husband, Brian, married in June 2020. Annemarie is a research scientist studying nutrition, gut bacteria, and gastrointestinal health. Annemarie loves to go hiking, read adventure and fantasy books, do puzzles, watch The Office, and play board games and card games with Brian. Annemarie discovered Springs in the Desert through their beautiful blog posts and also really enjoys the podcast.
Caroline Gindhart, CRNP
Caroline is a nurse practitioner at Divine Mercy Women’s Health in Camp Hill/Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She received her nursing degrees from Penn State University. Caroline uses her training in the Creighton Model and NaPro Technology to diagnose the root causes of infertility and treat them in a way that cooperates with the woman’s cycle. In her free time, she loves fashion, antiquing, hosting, and going on adventures with family and friends.
Christina was married in 2012 and lives in Michigan with her husband, Fredric. She works part-time for the Augustine Institute and also assists with the production of The Springs in the Desert Podcast. Christina and Fredric were blessed with two biological daughters and one adopted daughter from Bulgaria.
Edward Luersman, MA, LPC
Edward married his beloved wife Kate in 2018 and lives in Central Ohio. He has one little daughter lost in a miscarriage and has personally experienced the pain of primary infertility. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Spirit of Peace Clinical Counseling and a passionate Catholic. His clinical focus is supporting individuals and couples in Ohio experiencing grief, infertility, or miscarriage through online and in-person counseling. He is also proud to regularly contribute to the Springs in the Desert community as a Professional Contributor. You may find him online at griefcounselingohio.com.
Ian and his wife Cassi live out their unique call to fruitfulness through radical availability to family, friends, and neighbors alike. They have been blessed to serve in their parish, diocese, and beyond through involvement with youth ministry, Catholic Engaged Encounter, and Springs in the Desert. Ian is a true “people person” who loves to build authentic Catholic brotherhood wherever he goes. When he’s not trading investments at his day job, Ian can usually be found singing anything from choir music to karaoke.
Katie lives in Virginia with her husband, son, and dog. She holds a Master of Special Education and works as a virtual assistant for various Catholic ministries. In her free time, she enjoys being out in nature, baking yummy things for people she loves, and knitting.
Lenore and her husband Bobby were married in 2017 and are parents to one lost to miscarriage, living in a small town in Ohio with their Australian shepherd, Augie. Lenore cantors for her parish and loves to bake, read, dance, hike with their dog, and travel with her husband. She works in marketing alongside her husband at their family physical therapy business. Her favorite Springs in the Desert offerings are the blog posts sharing the hard-earned wisdom of Springs in the Desert community members and the “Weekly Well” prayer emails.
Sydnee lives in Pennsylvania with her husband Bren. She previously worked in special education for several years and is now focusing on her vocation as a wife. She also keeps busy helping family members of all ages, enjoying old-fashioned pursuits, and researching natural wellness.
Teresa is a nurse. Her favorite color is purple and she likes trying new things. She enjoys both outdoor (skiing, swimming) and indoor (reading, piano) activities. She married her husband in 2017. Together they enjoy traveling and tandem bicycling. She really likes the Springs in the Desert blog posts and is honored to be a Contributor.
Our Patron Saints
Springs in the Desert places itself under the patronage of Saints Anna and Joachim, parents of Mary and grandparents of Jesus. They experienced the grief of infertility, suffered isolation from their community, and, for a time, even separation from each other. Yet God blessed them in a way that was unexpected, brought them closer together, and made them sharers in His plan of salvation. We pray that they will walk with us as we move from grief and isolation to knowing that God has chosen us for a particular mission that He is fulfilling in unexpected but life-giving ways.
Saints Anna and Joachim, pray to God for us!