New Director Hired for Bishop Lane Retreat Center
January 11, 2024
ROCKFORD—On the job for just under a month, new Bishop Lane Retreat Center Director Edith Navarro anticipates a future soon where she can say how exciting it is to see the diocesan retreat center “grow and flourish.”
Navarro is bilingual, having lived in Mexico until age 10 and then in Elgin where she attended St. Joseph Parish. She worked at her parish for seven years as an administrative assistant, then at a nonprofit agency that provided transitional foster care for unaccompanied immigrant minors. Now she is embracing the role of director of Bishop Lane and living in Belvidere with her husband and mini goldendoodle, Peanut.
“I would like to see (Bishop Lane) back to its best years."
—Edith Navarro
“I wanted to go back to work for the diocese,” she says in explanation of why she applied for the “very different work” at Bishop Lane, succeeding Kristen Sapoznik who served as director for between six and seven years. Weekends at the retreat center are booked nearly solid, and it looks like it will be a “very busy year,” Navarro says, adding that the center itself “needs some TLC.”
She names some of the more-regular coming-soon events as including priest retreats and some LiFE Office events such as Rachel’s Vineyard and marriage preparation retreats, and also Boylan Central Catholic High School retreats as well as those from other high schools.
The retreat center, dedicated in October 1966, has had its share of ups and downs, including a fire that destroyed a building a couple decades ago and a flood-prone creek that several times has swept away parts of walking paths. However, the more recent COVID pandemic dealt perhaps the most severe blow because of how much had to be cancelled and how many staffers were lost.
At present, BLRC staff consists of Navarro, a housekeeper, a kitchen manager, a grounds keeper and part time high school students who come to work as needed. The most pressing priority, Navarro says, is to hire a maintenance person.
“I would like to see (Bishop Lane) back to its best years, with a full staff and (to be) even busier,” she says, adding that she is “praying for that” and has a lot of ideas on how to get there.
But at the moment, Navarro is focused on welcoming attendees of already-booked retreats and events, noting that, “I think we’re going to do great this year.”
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