Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
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Sister Mary Eucharista joins IHRC staff as program and guest manager
by Mitch Finley, Inland Register staff
(From the July 31, 2008 edition of the Inland Register)
Sister Mary Eucharista is the new Program and Guest Manager for Immaculate Heart Retreat Center. (IR photo courtesy of IHRC)
Recently, Sister Mary Eucharista, a member of the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church, was named the new Program and Guest Manager at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center (IHRC), Spokane. She replaces Deacon Dave Dudinsky, who retired recently from that position, though he continues to minister as a deacon.
Sister Mary Eucharista grew up in southern California, the second of five children. Her father was a nuclear engineer, her mother a teacher. While she and the other members of the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church were still members of the Tridentine Latin Rite Church, at Spokane’s Mount St. Michael’s, she attended Whitworth College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English Education and English Literature. She taught high school at Mount St. Michael’s Academy for 20 years.
She was also one of the soloists and the public relations person for the Singing Nuns at Mount St. Michael’s – the latter giving her experience that will come in handy in her new position.
With the other members of her community; Sister Mary Eucharista has been living at IHRC for about a year.
“Deacon John Ruscheinsky (director of IHRC) approached me with the position,” she said. “During the year I’ve been here I’ve had an interest in the programs, and I had spoken to different staff members about program ideas. I was already kind of jumping in and helping out with different areas. So when Deacon John came to me about this, I jumped on it because this is actually what I’ve always wanted to do.”
Looking ahead, she hopes to help restructure retreats to meet the needs of people today.
“We have one-day retreats that will be coming up,” in contrast to many previous retreats, which often lasted a weekend, or longer. “The traditional silent retreat is maybe not meeting many of the needs out there,” she said. “We want to start accommodating workshops, in a spiritual setting, for both the diocese and the community. We’re targeting special interest needs.”
One example is healing, she said. “There are so many needs for healing related not only to the disasters of ordinary life, but cancer, death and dying, parenting, parents who are embarking on college years who might need a little bit of help to get that focus before they launch their kids out there,” she said. “We’re thinking of women’s retreats, plans for youth, retreats for grandparents and grandchildren and for parents and children. We also want to have more Marian retreats. People are asking for these things. People want to be educated about prayer.”
Some also have contacted IHRC seeking spiritual direction, which is another of her areas of expertise.
She is enthusiastic about her new ministry.
“I’m extraordinarily excited about my work here,” she said. “I feel like I’m at home. The staff is fun and welcoming. The people who come here, I see their needs, or their anxiety, as they walk in the door, and I welcome them into the retreat family – because we are a family here. It’s just amazing to me, how much we are family. Then I see people when they leave, and there’s a joy and a freshness in their spirits. I love that. That feeds my soul. I wonder if this is what God has always wanted me to do.
“I’m thrilled,” she said. “I’m absolutely thrilled.”