For The Catholic Messenger
WHEATLAND — The Congregation of the Humility of Mary (CHM) recently announced the addition of Lori Freudenberg as program coordinator for Our Lady of the Prairie Retreat.
She joins current staff members Sister Margaret Kruse, OSF, retreat director, and Todd Seifert, property and operations manager. Our Lady of the Prairie Retreat, a CHM ministry, is located in rural east central Iowa on 200 acres of native grass prairie woodland along the Wapsipinicon River.
Freudenberg considers herself a longtime fan of Our Lady of the Prairie Retreat. “The energy I feel when I drive up the Prairie Retreat driveway is incredible. There’s no other word for it. The look of the Prairie, the way the earth is tended to and cared for here, the sound of the birds chirping and the peace and quiet — it is actually palpable. This is what a retreat center is all about. People come to quiet their mind, to pause and reflect, to listen to their inner voice.”
Freudenberg said she is excited to help the Prairie team build new and interesting retreat opportunities. “I have made many phone calls to past presenters as well as potential new ones, and everyone LOVES this place and can’t say enough good things about the people they have worked with in the past.”
Freudenberg is no stranger to working with religious communities on programming. From 2013-2021, she served the Clinton Franciscans as community outreach director. In that position, she focused on active nonviolence and peacemaking. “I organized and presented many programs.” She covered a variety of issues including human trafficking, care for people living in poverty, and nonviolent communication.
Prior to working with the Clinton Franciscans, she served as the executive director of the YWCA in Clinton, where she oversaw a fitness facility, childcare center, youth programming, domestic violence and sexual assault services and transitional housing for women and children. “It was an incredible job that taught me much about interpersonal communication, exposed me to the tragic lives that some people lead, and how to work with grants and the government.”
She remains passionate about social justice issues but looks forward to focusing on faith and spirituality in her new position. “My heart has always been in strengthening my own relationship with God, while helping others do the same. I bring this passion with me to the Prairie and am so honored I get to do this work.”
She invites the public to attend the “Little Open House on the Prairie” event Oct. 3 from 1-5 p.m. The open house will include live music, tours, refreshments and children’s activities. Visitors may explore the grounds, including the labyrinth, gardens, cosmic walk nature pond, prairie timber and trails, pollinator strips, retreat centers and the new Sunrise Shop.
“I thank the Sisters of the Humility of Mary for placing their faith and trust in me. It’s an exciting time at the Prairie,” Freudenberg said.
For more information about Our Lady of the Prairie Retreat, go to www.theprairieretreat.org.