topR tiny empty


Paula practices in the Zen Bhuddhist tradition. Her background in Zen meditation, eco-feminist spirituality and Christianity supports her interfaith work.

Contact information:
Paula will continue support of our mission in her new Zen calling.

Graduate of The Spiritual Guidance Training Program, St. Paul, MN
Professor of Philosophy, Edgewood College, Madison, WI
Zen Buddhist Chaplain; practioner of Zen Buddhism for 25 years
Facilitator of retreats and interfaith workshops; meditation instructor for over 15 years
Teacher of Catholic mystical traditions,  the divine feminine, ecospirituality as well as Zen Buddhism
Member, Spiritual Directors International
Member, Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies



Meet Paula

Interfaith spirituality has been my path since my college years.  While a Dominican student sister at Rosary College (now Dominican University, River Forest IL), I discovered that the wisdom of Zen stirred my soul.  Zen supported the mystical yearnings which drew me to the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa WI in the first place.   Both of these spiritual lineages or ‘threads’ have guided me on the Way.  They are both woven within the celebration of a sacred, evolving Universe.  Recalling my childhood home in Milwaukee, I honor the early intertwining of these threads begun by my parents, Rosemary and John.  Memories of my father studying Teillard de Chardin while nearby by sat my mother reading Thomas Merton’s Asian Journal bring a grateful smile.

Now in my sixties, I see the patterning of these and other threadings revealing a life’s tapestry of study, teaching, contemplation and action in the world.  As a Professor of Philosophy at Edgewood College (Madison WI) and an interfaith educator I carry forward my graduate studies into diverse learning communities.  (MA., Humanities, Arizona State University, 1973; MA, Interdisciplinary Consciousness Studies, John F. Kennedy University, 1986; PhD, Philosophy, Religion and Women Studies, The Union Institute, 1992).

As a spiritual director (graduate of the Spiritual Guidance Training Program, St. Paul MN, 2006) I am blessed to be able to work closely with others as they unfold their unique spiritual path.  My training and practice of spiritual direction is based in the wisdom of a creative Universe awakening through human consciousness.   Since 2006, as co-director of Wisdom’s Well Interfaith Spirituality Center, I am privileged to expand this interspiritual ministry into the Midwest . After leaving religious life in 1989 it has been a great joy to rejoin the Sinsinawa Dominicans at Edgewood College and Wisdom’s Well.

After many years of study and practice I was lay ordained a Zen Buddhist in 2000 and joined the “Udumbara Order of Bodhisattva Chaplains” in 2001.  Many years of  practice in  wisdom and compassion  with my teacher, Diane Martin, Roshi, with the Udumbara Sangha in Evanston IL and with the Midwest Soto Zen Community in Madison are reaching a life’s culmination.  Currently I an studying for ordination as a Soto Zen priest in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and Danin Katagiri Roshi.  The anticipated date is April 4, 2010 which is exactly 40 years after my profession as a Dominican.  My Zen ministry blooms as an interspiritual tapestry, uniting contemplation and action for the liberation of all beings from suffering and the realization of our full humanity.

With gratitude unbounded,
I take refuge in the Universe. 
I take refuge in the teachings of the Universe.  
I take refuge with all who live within the teachings of the Universe.
                                    Paula Hirschboeck,
                                    April, 2009.