Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Bishop Daly announces Holy Names Sister as diocese’s new Director of Development

by Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the August 18, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

Beginning Aug. 1, a Holy Names Sister with Spokane roots is in charge of the Spokane Diocese’s Development Office.

Sister Mary Tracy – sibling of Father Gene Tracy, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Spokane – comes to the diocese with a strong history of not just fundraising, but development for Catholic agencies. During a recent interview in the Chancery, she talked about the distinction.

More than just finding money, development is an invitation to a relationship, she said. “Development is inviting people to invest in the mission of our church,” said Sister Mary, “entering into a meaningful relationship.”

School was in Spokane – St. Aloysius, Marycliff High School, and then Fort Wright College. After two years of college she entered the Holy Names Community.

“I was influenced by the Sisters,” she said. “They took some really strong and Gospel-oriented stands on social issues at the time. And they were just really excellent religious educators in the academic disciplines that they taught me. It was their spirituality that touched me. And it was as simple as, I wanted to join them, I wanted to be part of what I saw. A simple realization that maybe that would be a life style that would work for me. And it took.”

She earned a master’s degree in American literature from the University of Washington and taught at the now-closed Holy Names Academy in Spokane. Twenty years were spent as dean of students and then principal at Holy Names Seattle. Development work there was a matter of necessity. In order to meet the needs of the school at the time, I really needed to learn how to raise money and build the enrollment. I learned about development quickly. I found that I really loved it. I decided to pursue it as a professional field.”

She also speaks of “advancement” – besides relationship, there is an aspect of philanthropy work that is mission-driven.

“Philanthropy is a meaningful profession,” she said. “It’s so much more than asking people for money. It involves strategic planning, board development, teamwork.

“What appeals to me is that it is so mission-driven,” said Sister Mary. She has come to believe that advancing the work of the Church through philanthropy is part of her call from God. And at the heart of that is development.

Money, of course, “is a large part of that,” she said. “I don’t mind talking about money, or asking people to invest in the mission of our church, our schools. It is relationship-oriented. I do love the relationship and community pieces of it.” Done properly, development – advancement – “builds the body of Christ. Together, we build the church at the local and global level.”

Her further professional work speaks well of that. She spent 15 years as the Director of Advancement Services for the National Catholic Educational Association in Washington, D.C., and most recently served as associate vice president of The Alford Group in Seattle, which provides advancement counsel primarily to Catholic schools.

In his letter announcing Sister Mary’s hire, Bishop Daly said that he looked forward to working with Sister Mary, not only in the diocese’s development efforts, but also in her role as Executive Director of The Catholic Foundation of Eastern Washington.

Sister Mary replaces Andy Robideaux, who for the past five years has served as the diocese’s Development Director, Executive Director of The Catholic Foundation of Eastern Washington, and worked extensively with The Nazareth Guild. As of Aug. 1, Robideaux became the full-time Executive Director of the Guild.

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