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About Us

The mission of Companioning the Dying, Inc. is to encourage people to live more fully as they confront dying–their own and others’–and to deepen their capacity to be present to themselves, to the dying, and to all of life.

We live our mission and serve the community by:

  • providing companions for the dying and nurturing new and seasoned companions through contemplative training programs which support the integration of their service into their inner lives;
  • offering retreats, workshops and programs to support those who attend the dying in professional roles and collaborating with institutions that share this purpose;
  • reaching out to the general public through programs to assist in the exploration of the meaning of death and offer support for family care-givers.

Program Co-Directors and Faculty

Mary Aguilera-Titus, LMT is a licensed massage therapist in both D.C. and MD. who has been in practice since 2002. Knowing that skilled touch can be a powerful support to people impacted by a diagnosis of cancer, Mary has focused much of her work in the field of oncology massage. From 2009- 2019, Mary was a member of the interdisciplinary team of the Palliative Care Service at Suburban Hospital/Johns Hopkins Medicine providing massage for the inpatient service. She was also Lead Massage Therapist with the Integrative Medicine Department at Sibley Memorial Hospital/Johns Hopkins Medicine from 2017-2020. After several years of teaching oncology massage therapy with OMEA, Mary started an educational component to her business, Full Circle Health and Wellness where she offers an S4OM recognized foundational course. Mary is nationally certified by NCBTMB, a charter member of the Society for Oncology Massage and serves as chair of the Education Committee.

Diana Goroff, LMT is a graduate of Georgetown University with a PhD. in Immunology. She worked in the field of Biotechnology for 15 years. She left the field to give closer attention to her two children. She attended massage school with her son and supported her daughter through high school including being on the Bethesda Chevy Chase Crew Team board. After graduating from massage school, she became a volunteer in hospice care. This was followed by Diana taking a position with Montgomery Hospice as a coordinator of volunteers offering Comfort Touch to patients.  In 2022 she graduated from the Senior Leadership Montgomery Program offered by Montgomery County. Diana  has been a member of the Companioning the Dying Board for the last 3 years.

 

Sally Roberts

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Lee Anne Blank has worked and volunteered in end-of-life care for more than twenty-five years. For twenty of those years, before her recent retirement, she was a licensed massage therapist specializing in oncology and hospice massage, and a volunteer with Montgomery Hospice. Lee was honored by the Rockville Chamber of Commerce with their Citizen of the Year award for her volunteer work with hospice patients. Lee is a registered yoga teacher and has practiced yoga for over two decades. She is also a drum circle facilitator and believes in the healing power of both rhythm and yoga.

Emeritus Program Directors

Rose Mary Dougherty, SSND, (1939-2019) was the former Co-Director of Companioning the DyrosemaryHS2ing, which she co-founded in 2008 with her friend Amy Hoey. She ministered in the area of contemplative spirituality for over thirty years, and authored two books on group spiritual direction and one book on discernment. Rose Mary accompanied the dying as friend, daughter, sibling, spiritual director, and hospice volunteer. She graduated from the Metta Institute End-of-Life Counselor Program, an outgrowth of the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco. She was also a retired Senior Fellow of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation where for many years she directed Shalem’s program in Spiritual Guidance. Rose Mary stepped back from active teaching in 2015 as she continued to live with the challenges and invitations of Parkinson’s disease. Rose Mary died peacefully in March 2019.

norrisHS2Priscilla Norris was a registered nurse with a long history of hospice care, particularly of people with HIV. Most recently she worked for 13 years as clinical coordinator at Joseph’s House, a facility in Washington, DC offering comprehensive nursing and support services to homeless men and women with advanced HIV disease and terminal cancer, where Priscilla oversaw the care of the residents and served as teacher and mentor for the year-long interns. She has a nursing degree from Catholic University and is a graduate of the Metta Institute End-of-Life Counselor Program. She was a former Co-Program Director of Companioning the Dying. Priscilla died in March 2024 from complications of melanoma. Priscilla spent her last week at her home in the Petworth neighborhood, in hospice, surrounded by scores of the dear friends and family whom she had hosted there for more than three decades.

Read A Brief History of Companioning the Dying

Programs

Our Core Program, Companioning the Dying: Opening Fully to Living, was created to empower and support persons who feel called to companion the dying and desire to live fuller, more courageous lives.

Support Us

Please help us to support those who are committed to serving the dying.