Bridget Brennan, founder and president of The Cana Institute, holds Masters Degrees in both Human Relations and Religious Studies. She has more than twenty years experience as a Family Life Minister and is a Certified Family Life Educator and a Relationship Skills Master Coach. She has also served as adjunct instructor at Aquinas Institute School of Theology teaching graduate students the theology and spirituality of Marriage.

In a program hosted by St. Francis Xavier (College) Church in Saint Louis, Bridget developed and directed Marriage Prep seminars for first- and second-time marriages. Since 1997, when the program was implemented, Bridget has coached more than 5,000 couples preparing for marriage.

Author of The Marriage Connection, A Facilitator's Guide for Young Marrieds Retreats, Bridget, along with Jerry Shen, her husband of more than 30 years, frequently travels throughout the United States presenting retreats and workshops for married couples.


  • "Living Ignatian Spirituality in Marriage" at four Ignatian Conferences, St. Louis University, St.Louis, Missouri
  • "Smart Marriages" NACFLM; State of Missouri Human Services and U.S. Office of Health & Human Services


  • Bridget and Jerry have been to Bukoba, Tanzania where Jerry taught a group of women how to make soy milk and Bridget taught them personal development skills.




  • National Association of Lay Ministers
  • National Association of Catholic Family
    Life Ministers (NACFLM)
  • Coalition for Marriage, Family & Couples Education (Smart Marriages)
  • National Council on Family Relations (NCFR)
  • Spiritual Directors International
  • American Association of University Women (AAUW)


  • Falling in Love...Finding God, Marriage and the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, 2017
  • Your Marriage, Ligouri Press, 2015 (contributing author: "Intimacy")
  • Claiming Your Deepest Desires,
    The Power of an Intimate Marriage,
    Liturgical Press, 2004
  • The Marriage Connection, Wedding the Spiritual and Practical, The Cana Institute, 2001


  • Development of Peoples Award, July 2014, from National Christian Life Community
    of the U.S. Given in recognition of carrying
    out principles and ideals of Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical, Populorum Progressio.
  • Spiritual Guide Award, March 2000, from Archdiocese of St. Louis Woman's Award


© 2003-2017 The Cana Institute, LLC

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