Jesuit Retreat House transitions include new registrar

Jesuit Retreat House transitions include new registrar

By Sam Lucero | The Compass October 5, 2021

OSHKOSH — The recent transitions at Jesuit Retreat House not only include retreat team members. Trish Neuman, who has served as administrative assistant and registrar at the facility since August 2010, has retired. Her successor, Tanya Hielke, started July 19.

Neuman said her desire to be with family, and the complications from the COVID-19 pandemic, were behind her decision to retire.

“My mom (June Olk) is 94 years old. I want to spend more time with her,” she said. “I have grandkids and want to spend time with them. Especially because of COVID, there’s been so many changes and disruptions, and it’s like, ‘This is the time to do it. It’s the right time.’”

Hielke, a member of St. Raphael the Archangel Parish, said working at Jesuit Retreat House is like an extension of her past parish ministry roles.

“While it’s not parish work, I feel it’s a part of church,” said Hielke, who served as a youth minister and religious education coordinator for high school and middle school youth for 15 years.

“Being part of a retreat center, it’s not a job,” she said. “We are ministering to people, even when we are registering people, when we listen to people on the phone. There’s just so many different personalities. We know that they are coming here to seek God and that’s a real treasure to be part of that. That’s the feeling I got right away when I was talking with staff.”

In addition to the friendly staff, Neuman said the retreat center’s setting on Lake Winnebago will be missed.

“When I started here, you drive through the gates and it was like, ‘Aah,’” she said. “It was this sense of peace. I loved working here. I’ve learned so much, I’ve grown so much. The people here are so unbelievable. The staff are amazing and the people who come for retreats are loving, caring and kind.”

Hielke, who previously worked in a corporate office setting, said the behind-the-scenes work of planning and scheduling retreats is surprising. “I don’t think people understand the amount of detail and work that a retreat staff does,” she said.

She was happy to learn that Neuman would continue on a part-time basis until the end of the year. Hielke lives in Pickett with her husband, Darryl. They have five children and eight grandchildren.

Neuman, who has three adult children, six grandchildren and two great-granddaughters, said she plans to get back into quilting and reading books. Lots of visits to Hortonville are also in her future. “That’s where my mom lives,” she added. “She watches Bishop (David) Ricken’s TV Mass every Sunday.”

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