Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

For Mary Krone, retreat center work has been ‘a labor of love’

Story and photo by Jami LeBrun, Inland Register staff

(From the Dec. 2, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)

Mary Krone (right), long-time staffer at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center in Spokane, is stepping back from her work there after the first of the year. Pictured with her are other IHRC staff members; from left are volunteer Helen Samsel, Ailene Fields (Development Director), Maribeth Eyraud (ecumenical programming, scheduling), Sandy Decker (Office Manager, Communications Coordinator), and Laura Whitney (programming, special Events). (IR photo)

Change is in the air at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center. Mary Krone, an integral member of the retreat center team, retired Dec. 2, and the retreat center staff is working hard to fill her not-so-small shoes.

Krone came to work for Immaculate Heart Retreat Center in 1989 as a bookkeeper. Since then, she has done everything from answering phones, to scheduling retreats, to development and communications, and even washing dishes and cleaning toilets.

Five years ago, Director Deacon John Ruscheinsky, IHRC’s Director, made Krone Associate Director.

Though her tasks continued to be eclectic, Krone’s main duties were maintaining the calendar, ensuring that retreatants and visitors to the retreat center had everything they needed, and planning various retreat center programs.

Krone describes her experience working at the retreat center as a “labor of love,” and despite her retirement status, Krone wanted to avoid any “disconnect” with Immaculate Heart Retreat Center. In January, she will return on a part-time basis in a non-administrative role, as hospitality coordinator and Deacon Ruscheinsky’s secretary.

“I really love this place,” said Krone. “When I came here I was looking for work and a paycheck, and what I found was a whole new world; a world of peace and love and I fell in love with the retreat ministry.”

In the months before Krone retired, the staff at the retreat center met several times to discuss how to best continue the mission of the retreat center without her loving guidance. After much discussion, Krone’s many duties have been divvied up and divided among the other staff.

Deacon Ruscheinsky will continue to direct the retreat center. Laura Whitney is in charge of programming and special events that Immaculate Heart Retreat Center hosts. Sandy Decker is the Office Manager and Communications Coordinator, and Maribeth Eyraud is in charge of ecumenical scheduling and programming.

The retreat center also hired a full-time Development Director in mid-November to take on aspects of fund-raising and grant-writing. Aileen Fields’s background includes a variety of experience, including small-business ownership, sales, development and social services. However, Fields recently felt that God was calling her to work in her faith, so she left Tactical Tools, the company she and her husband started nine years ago, and came to work at the retreat center.

“It’s a real mission for me to work in my faith,” she said.

Despite their sadness at losing Krone as an administrator, the staff at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center is excited about the new division of labor and looks forward to continuing to provide a peaceful and prayerful atmosphere where people can grow in their faith.

“Working here, you have to be a self-starter and a team player,” said Laura Whitney. “You have to be full of ideas and willing to put them into motion. And you have to be willing to count on others to help you. I’m really excited to have been given the task of in-house programming. I have lots of ideas to begin working on programs that are here, done by us.”

The staff at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center has many exciting programs already planned for the year 2005. For more information on the retreat center, its mission and the programs it offers, visit the website at or call (509) 448-1224.

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