Joseph Sandman and Lee Yeazell have been close friends since 1961, when they met on the first day of class in the eighth grade at St. Teresa of Avila School on the West Side of Cincinnati, Ohio. They graduated from Elder High School and entered The Athenaeum of Ohio (the minor seminary of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati) with the intention of becoming Catholic diocesan priests. They graduated with honors (Yeazell, summa cum laude and Sandman cum laude) earning bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and minors in theology and English literature.  Both are married laymen with adult children, who have worked for Catholic educational institutions their entire 40+ year careers.

Lee P. Yeazell, MA, MA, is former Director of Campus Ministry and instructor of theology at St. Xavier, a Jesuit college preparatory secondary school in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He received his M.A. in philosophy and an M.A. in systematic theology from the Athenaeum of Ohio.  Yeazell collected and edited In All Things (Loyola Press 2003), a book of prayers written by students at more than 30 secondary schools throughout the U.S. and now used in many schools across the country.  

As head of the Campus Ministry Department for 22 years, he organized and led a wide range of retreats and prayer sessions from four-day retreats to single-day experiences of prayer and renewal for many diverse groups of students and adults. Music, film, ritual, journaling, quiet prayer time, recreation, small and large group discussion and sharing are all techniques he has employed in these experiences to develop themes, such as “Finding God in All Things”; “God’s Presence and Care for Us in our Personal Relationships”; “Recognizing God’s Gifts in the Mentally and Physically Challenged.”

Yeazell has taught a variety of theology courses, including World Religions, Social Justice, Introduction to Scripture, Prayer and Meditation, Sacraments, Liturgy (among others) to students of many grade levels in the course of a 40-year career in secondary education during which he realized the truth of the cliché about learning much more from his students and colleagues than he taught them.

For 10 years, Yeazell was part of a program designed to encourage progress in the spiritual life of students at St. Xavier.  It involves meeting in the summers for an hour session with 50-60 students and individually with each student’s parents to discuss their son’s spiritual growth and to set concrete action steps for his last two years of secondary school.  Having parents and their son together for such a session has been a powerful way to focus their attention on new directions for growth in intimacy with God.

For many years, Yeazell and his wife have has belonged to two adult prayer small groups, which meet regularly to share their growth (and, of course, the lack of it too) in the spiritual life.  Since one of these groups is comprised of his colleagues at work while the other consists of a group of friends mostly outside of his work life, he finds that the prayer and discussion shared in these groups challenge him in different ways to make real what he believes.

Yeazell and his wife, Carol Dreyer Yeazell, have two adult sons, Daniel and Michael, two daughters-in-law and four granddaughters.  He sees his time spent with them as a wonderful testimony to the goodness of God.

Joseph G. H. Sandman, PhD, recently completed a 43 year career in Catholic higher education, which included Director of Development at the University of Notre Dame and Vice President for Advancement at Xavier, Loyola Chicago, and Seton Hall Universities. He designed and led capital campaigns that delivered historic results. The campaign he led at Notre Dame raised more money than the university’s four previous campaigns combined. At the conclusion of the Ever Forward Campaign, Seton Hall University was ranked second among 723 four-year institutions for the most dramatic increase in cash gifts over a ten-year period. At Loyola University Chicago, Sandman proposed and secured the funding for the naming of the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center.

Sandman earned an MA in English literature from Xavier University and a PhD. in English literature from the University of Notre Dame.  His dissertation is entitled:  Sacramental Dimensions in the Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. He has taught composition and literature at Notre Dame and Xavier Universities.

Sandman has provided pro-bono consulting to more than 100 religiously affiliated institutions and served on the board of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, which is affiliated with Georgetown University and which undertakes the great majority of all research projects commissioned by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. His other board memberships include: Head Start (South Bend, Indiana), the American Heart Association (Cincinnati), Integrity House Drug Rehabilitation Center (Newark, New Jersey) and the Fountain Square Fools, a Christian-oriented performing company (Cincinnati).

He has been trained and certified as an instructor in Centering Prayer by Contemplative Outreach International Ltd. and has taught university courses in Centering Prayer and has led workshops and prayer groups.  Sandman published Centering Prayer: A Treasure for the Soul in America magazine and wrote a chapter on Centering Prayer in Catholic Spiritual Practices: a Treasury of Old and New, edited by Colleen Griffith and Thomas Groome and published by Paraclete Press (2012).

Sandman has practiced Centering Prayer daily and visited a spiritual director monthly since 1980, recording the wisdom of these sessions in more than 40 private journals.

Sandman and his wife, Tracey Robson Sandman, have three adult sons, Andrew, Peter and Mark, three daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.



Author of I Had Lunch with God, Kathleen Sullivan, PhD, created the University of Notre Dame’s prayer site in 2007 and in 2012 collaborated on the Jesuit’s prayer site, She teaches courses on leadership and learning at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University South Bend. Kathleen has received the Distinguished Teaching Award and has received  the Trustees Teaching Award three times from Indiana University South Bend.

Her book, I Had Lunch with God, offers penetrating, challenging and consoling meditations on Gospel events echoed in stories from our world today. This work awakens faith and applies it to the vexing questions of daily life. Each short reflection provides an uplifting and sometimes humorous story that hinges on a gospel passage. The brief commentary offers an honest  and hope filled message rooted in our Lord’s guarantee to walk the walk with us.

Selection from I Had Lunch from God

Expect It and Sidestep It

Winston Churchill exemplified integrity and respect in the face of opposition. During his last year in office, he attended an official ceremony. Several rows behind him two gentlemen began whispering. “That’s Winston Churchill. They say he is getting senile. They say he should step aside and leave the running of the nation to more dynamic and capable men.”  When the ceremony was over, Churchill turned to the men and said, “Gentlemen, they also say he is deaf!” (Barbara Hatcher, Vital Speeches)

No one is spared the sting of unwarranted criticism. Certainly not Jesus. Our Lord had brought optimal healing to the man whose hand was weak and twisted. It should have been a magnificent moment. One of gratitude and reverence. Instead, the scribes and Pharisees “were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.”

Jesus could not control what others’ thought of him; however, he could choose love over popularity. When you find yourself unfairly criticized, ask the Lord to protect you from the stress and anger that can accompany such treatment. “For if we live for peoples’ acceptance, we will die from their rejection.” — Lecrae

Like Jesus, you cannot control how others treat you. Nevertheless, you have total power over doing the right thing. Therein lies your refuge from slanderous comments.