Lisa Wattenhofer preparing the Holy Cross Chapel Altar.

If actions speak louder than words, then Lisa Wattenhofer says hospitality is the language spoken at Terra Sancta Retreat Center. “All are welcome at Terra Sancta. Reeny Wilson and her staff do a wonderful job of hospitality.”

As the music and liturgy director at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Rapid City, Lisa also serves on the parish’s Terra Sancta Annual Giving Society team, encouraging others to become donors. Also working part-time for the retreat center, Lisa serves as the lead sacristan, overseeing both chapels (Holy Cross Chapel and the Cenacle) and their sacristies since it opened in 2012. This involves tracking inventory and ordering supplies (candles, wine, communion hosts), as well as ensuring altar linens, candle stands and sacred vessels are all cared for and well maintained. Lisa will often stop in late night or early morning to make sure the chapels and sacristies are ready for the many liturgical happenings that take place at Terra Sancta – for both the retreat center and Rapid City Catholic Schools.

Lisa grew up in Faith, SD, and graduated from the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D., and spent 16 years in the medical field working as a Radiological Technologist. During that time she volunteered at Blessed Sacrament for 12 years as an assistant to the previous Director of Liturgy, Joan Petry, before taking the position five years ago when Petry retired. “I have a love for the church, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the priests and the parishioners of our parish and beyond,” she said of her mid-life career change.

Her varied duties give her many reasons to love Terra Sancta. “To me, it’s sacred ground. It’s a very holy place. I feel at peace when I walk through those doors … from generation to generation, it’s been a special place of prayer.”

For Wattenhofer, the small Resurrection Chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is kept in reserve, tucked into the southeast corner of Holy Cross Chapel, is especially beloved. “It’s a wonderful light-filled space to visit Jesus,” she said. “I feel people have to discover what Terra Sancta means for themselves,” she shared. “Actions speak louder than words. Come see what it has to offer. There’s a lot available out at Terra Sancta, and a variety of events. Check out the outdoor features: the Stations of the Cross, the hiking trails, the Challenge Course, the Children’s Memorial Garden, and the Christian Prayer Labyrinth. You have to come and experience it for yourself.”

The entire Terra Sancta campus is a wonderful resource for all of us – as individuals, as parishes, and through diocesan programs and events. Really, Terra Sancta is for all of God’s children, everyone who lives here, regardless of your faith affiliation,” Wattenhofer continued. “I love that Terra Sancta is for everyone, it brings us all together to share in God’s love.”