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Staff Members

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Executive Director

My first experience at The Martha Retreat Centre was while I worked at the YWCA. I learned about OASIS Days and began joining as I could. Helping other people through my work roles has always been important to me, thus recognizing that I needed to take time to fill my cup so that I could effectively serve people. My involvement at the Centre grew by attending weekend retreats, book clubs and week-long retreats. These opportunities kept me nourished. As I developed my relationships with the Sisters, they engaged me in a few volunteer opportunities to assist them with their work. Connecting people to community through volunteerism is something that I value and enjoy. Through Volunteer Lethbridge, I
offered my support to develop a Volunteer Management program for the Centre. My passion of service to God by serving other people brings me excitement as I pursue the opportunities ahead for our community and for Western Canada through Martha Retreat Centre. Speaking with the Sisters, we smile as we reminisce, they helped train me up to be the Executive Director of the Centre. Their continued support is invaluable as I learn to navigate through the work of the Centre.

Iryna Olas


Executive Assistant

Working at Martha Retreat Centre is deeply fulfilling due to its alignment with personal values and aspirations. The serene environment fosters inspiration and rejuvenation, with nature playing a significant role. Beyond the surroundings, the sense of community among colleagues, volunteers, and guests creates a supportive atmosphere focused on growth, healing, and connection. Assisting guests in their journeys toward self-discovery and inner peace is rewarding, as every interaction contributes to their well-being. Overall, being part of this organization is a privilege, and the opportunity to contribute to its mission

Board Members

Board Members


Lise Schmidt



The new Vision Statement created by the current Board of Directors reads as follows: “Creating a nurturing and inclusive Centre, offering stillness and peace”. As an introvert, many of my interests focus around the idea of stillness and peace. My daily prayer time, the meditation I like to do, reading books, being outdoors, spending time with family and friends, even golfing – all offer some sense of stillness and peace to my heart, my soul, my mind. The older I get, the more I am coming to understand the importance of being a nurturing and inclusive woman and the value which stillness and peace offer myself and others around me.

My involvement at the Centre began a few years ago as a book study and retreat participant. Seeing the value these programs brought to my life and the importance the Centre holds in my heart, I joined the Board of Directors (and am presently serving as Board President). Today, I am very happy to share my time, talents, and financial resources where these are required. I am an investor in the Centre because I believe in the Centre’s ministry and I have been a benefactor of the offerings at the Martha Retreat Centre.


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I was raised on a farm in northern Alberta on the unceded territory of the Cree and Metis
Peoples (Treaty 8 and Metis Region 5). That homeland brought peace, stillness, and solace
where I prayerfully spent time with nature and God. The Martha Retreat Centre brings me
home to that feeling. To hear God’s voice and reflect in the stillness and quiet of the Centre
nurtures my spiritual being. I enjoy being with others, hearing their stories, and learning
together. The practice of silent retreats and meditation, such as Oasis Days, allows me the
opportunity to deepen my stillness and quiet while being enriched by the wisdom of program facilitators and fellow participants. 

Through volunteering at the Centre, I am able to help and serve the many activities supporting both current and future needs of the Centre. It has been my privilege and honour to be a Board member for the past 5 years. I look forward to where God leads us on this collaborative, spirited journey.


Deb Tarnava



I have been involved with the Martha Retreat Centre for a number of years. It all started with spiritual direction and a unique friendship with Sister Loretta that began almost ten years ago.  Divine timing had me attend a seven-day silent retreat that coincided with my 50th birthday.  What a gift to actually discover who God says I am; for this I am forever grateful! World Class facilitators along with the profound, simple grace of the Sisters have been very influential in helping me find my spiritual roots through the programs and space offered at the Centre. I am involved with the Board because I value the importance of the Sisters mission and their desire to see the continuation of the programs and benefits the Centre offers.  It is an honor to hitch our wagon to their wisdom as we pursue a new frontier.  We are rooted in a solid foundation and plugged into the Sisters undaunted hope. This makes me excited for the future and I look forward to what God has in store.


Sr. Theresa Parker



The development of persons is a very important aspect of my life’s ministry.
My interest in Spiritual Development through retreats and programs was and is the motivation leading us (CSM) to call forth people from Lethbridge and area to continue this ministry at Martha Retreat Centre.

My involvement with Martha Retreat Centre began in November, 2009. My first two years involved Spiritual Direction and Program Development. From 2011 to 2019 I was the Director of the Centre. During 2018 to 2019, I shared the “Director’s Role” with Mark Nixon. I have served on the Martha Retreat Centre Society’s Board through all its “baby steps” till now. I belong to the Volunteer Prayer Team (East). We as a Congregation have financial commitment to Martha Retreat Centre as well.





I am a Sister of St. Martha of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and I am on the Leadership Team of our Congregation. My ministries over the years have been in finances – Director of Finance and Budget Manager in Hospitals in Cape Breton and Congregation Treasurer for the Sisters of St. Martha for many years. I am delighted to be serving on the Martha Retreat Centre Board from a distance through the marvels of technology! I will work to promote the mission of Martha Retreat Centre and help to ensure the Centre is sustainable well into the future.

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