Encountering Christ Together

Our Staff

We are here to help each parish and its parishioners live out the mission of Jesus Christ!  
Pictures and bio's for staff are below.  Click to learn about our priests.  Please use the contact us page to email us! 

Sara AndersonAnderson, Sara - AFC Business Manager

My name is Sara Anderson and I’m the Business Manager for the Heart of Jesus Area Faith Community, overseeing the areas of finance, facilities, legal, strategic planning, human resources, and general administration. 

Daughter of Bob and Katie Haney, I grew up in Olivia, MN and graduated from BOLD in 2005.  I was a member of St. Aloysius church all my childhood and in 2009 my husband, Bryan Anderson, and I celebrated our marriage in St. Aloysius Church.

Between graduating from high school and marrying my wonderful husband, I attended the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul.  In 2009, I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Actuarial Science.  Not knowing what exactly I wanted to do after school, I started volunteering at Guardian Angels Catholic Church and School in Chaska, MN.  One thing led to another and within 2 years, I went from volunteering to working part-time, to working full-time, to becoming the Business Administrator for Guardian Angels Catholic Church and School.

I never dreamed in a million years that I would be a business administrator for a church but I LOVE IT!  That’s not to say every day is easy, in fact, it was during one particularly stressful day when I was asking myself “What am I doing here, how can I do this when I don’t know what I’m doing?” and in that moment the Lord spoke to me, "I’m exactly where God wants me to be".  I found great peace and joy in this moment and have recognized my job to be a vocation ever since.

I continued as the Business Administration at Guardian Angels until 2016 when the AFC Business Manager position opened up.  Again, I never imagined that I would be able to come home to Olivia and continue in my vocation of Church Business Management but you never really know what the Lord has in store for you!  Since I was hired, Bryan and I had two children a son, Colin, and a daughter, Amelia, who were baptized at St. Al's in 2020 and 2022.

Outside of work, I enjoy the outdoors and recently moved onto a small hobby farm where our family spends most of our time along with our great dane Augustus and our farm cats.  Both my husband and I participate in running competitions (but I’m not a skilled or competitive runner).   My husband and I enjoy traveling, so far, we have traveled to Ireland, England, France, Italy (Rome and Sicily), the Netherlands, and Belgium.  We have also visited family and friend in Alaska and Hawaii! My profile picture is from our visit to Amsterdam where we rented bikes and toured the city “like locals”!   Part of the reason we travel so much is because family is so important to us and all three of my siblings have been in the Navy and stationed all over the world! 

Being close to family is one of the biggest blessings of being back in the area where so much of our family lives.  I mean, my first week of work, my grandma stopped by to pick up a bulletin and I got a hug and a kiss!  Needless to say, I’m very happy and honored with my opportunity to serve this community! 

What’s the best meal you ever had?

The best meal I ever had was while we were in Sicily.  My oldest brother, Kade Haney, who was stationed in Sicily during this time, took us to a local's home who essentially operates their restaurant out of their house.  You must make a reservation as they are not open like a normal restaurant would be.  When you come to their home you sit down to a family meal.  It was a traditional nine course meal, made that day, with only local ingredient and with endless wine. It was delicious.  But what made this my best meal was more than the food it was the fact that I was able to share that moment with family and friends and I think all the best meals have family and friends!  

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

I would be a bluish-greenish color.  Kind of like teal but not quite teal.  It would be calming but bright and full of life!

 bj0cd0tbqzw4de0fgayo0iv4ynl.PNGBertrand, Tracy - St. Mary's School Principal

Greetings from Tracy Bertrand…

As I reflect upon my nine years of being your St. Mary’s School principal, I am grateful for the many years of Catholic education that St. Mary’s has been able to provide for the students of Bird Island and the surrounding communities and it has been an honor for me to carry on the tradition of offering quality, faith filled education to all students. 

Prior to coming to St. Mary’s, I was in the Sleepy Eye Public School District for 17 years.  Throughout this time, I pursued my Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction through St. Scholastica, Duluth and then continued to further my education which allowed me to receive my K-12 Administrative License through Minnesota State University, Mankato. 

My life has been blessed with three beautiful children Justin, Christopher and Brianna. My children have brought something so special to our family in their own individual way.  Each of them have grown into young successful adults.  Justin and Christopher humbly carry on their passion to farm the family farm which their father and grandfather would be more than proud of what these two young men have stepped up and done.  Brianna continues to pursue her college career along with being my inner strength … she is my rock! 

As a family we embrace our faith, embed our love for one another and continue to make memories that will last a lifetime. 

The quote below is a quote I reflect upon often and that I would like to share with you.  I encourage you to think about what the words to this quote are really saying. 

“Inhale faith ~ exhale fear and God will pave the path before you.”


Sue O'HalloranO'Halloran, Sue - AFC Administrative Assistant

Her Backstory – I have been a member of St. Mary’s until I married and joined St. Aloysius with my husband. We became members of St. Mary’s as a family before Will entered school at St. Mary’s.

Where She Grew Up: I grew up in Bird Island, attended St. Mary’s Grade School and Bird Island High School.

Education Background or Related Experience: : I grew up in Bird Island, moved away to the Twin Cities after completing 2 years of college in Sales & Marketing. I was employed with Herberger’s for approx. 5 years until moving back home, and then employed at Frandsen Bank of Hector for a few years and then Cenex of Hector for 5 years until the birth of our son Will. I was a daycare provider in my home for just shy of 12 years before being hired at the church.

Married/Family- I have been married to Paul O’Halloran of Olivia since April of 1999, we have 4 sons: Josh, who is married and lives in Redwood falls, Will who is in college at UMD Duluth, Joey who is in college at Minesota State Wadena and Jacob who is a student at St Mary's School. We also have 4 grandchildren.

Hobbies- my hobbies include my children and all their activities, I LOVE watching them in any activity they participate in and am their biggest fan! I also love to read and have been in a book club since August of 2005.

How long have you Work Here: I have worked for St. Mary’s Parish since June of 2013

Parish You Work For and Parish You Are a Member Of: I am a member of St. Mary’s Parish and am the Administrative Assistant for the Heart of Jesus AFC.

What do you like most about your job: I love the feeling of giving back to my parish and all the wonderful people I have been blessed with getting to know through my employment.

Who inspires you?:My children, I love watching them achieve their goals or try to be the best they can in whatever they do both academically and in all aspects of life.

Where’s your favorite place in the world?: With my husband and children at the lake as it is very calming in a stressful world we live in and this is somewhere we come together as a family and are able to remove the day to day interruptions.

O'Neill, Summer - Part-time AFC Bookkeeper8ihhpsgrdh6782pq305k2ixb9sl.jpg

My name is Summer O’Neill and I am one of the part time bookkeepers here at the AFC. I am excited to be part of the AFC finance team for I have always had a passion for accounting and being with people.

I am a native from North Dakota where I grew up on a farm with my two brothers and one sister where showing cattle and participating in 4-H activities was the norm. I left home and attended NDSU to study Horticulture and Business Administration in hopes to operate and own my own garden center someday. While in college I met my husband, Steve O’Neill. We got married in 2003 and moved back to his home roots in Bird Island, MN.

In May of 2003, I took on the position of the BOLD School Business Manager. It was here that I found my love for fund accounting. I worked with BOLD for 6 1/2 years and during that time my husband and I welcomed our oldest son, Grayson in May of 2007. Just shortly before our second son, Graham was born in December of 2008, I transitioned from BOLD School to the Southwest Service Cooperative (SWSC) doing similar work but servicing several school districts on the 212 corridor.

While beginning my work at the SWSC, my husband left his job at the Soil Service in Bird Island to pursue his dreams of owning his own company. For two years I successfully worked part time for both SWSC and our business, Corn Capital Innovations (CCI) but with the growth of our business it led me to part ways with SWSC and become full time at CCI. In 2015, I went back down to a part time status with our business to spend more time with my children at home.

In my free time, I am a crafter at heart where I enjoy repurposing old things and quilting. I absolutely love attending my children’s swimming events and spending time with family at our lake cabin. 

wochegte0tg8rpyudx510p6h9jl.jpgOlinger, Doug - AFC Facilities Manager

My parents and I moved to Lake Lillian from St. Paul to farm and raise livestock.  Both of my parents originated from the Bird Island and Hector areas.  I was confirmed at St. Thomas Church in Lake Lillian and I graduated from Atwater High School.

Growing up I enjoyed raising livestock and I stayed on the family farm to continue raising swine seed stock.  I married and have two children, Heather and Jordan.

My careers have varied in many fields including oil extraction, feed mill work and production, and building maintenance.  I now live in Bird Island and I enjoy greatly working with the Heart of Jesus Staff and St. Mary’s Staff.  I look forward to new projects for the organization.

When I’m not at one of the Heart of Jesus Locations, you can find me helping my son at Brookfield Collision and Restoration.  My hobbies include shooting pool in the winter and riding my Harley in the summer.


Peppel, Michelle - St. Aloysius & St. Mary DRE0an7wojjcdf8w5hn1nh6wxzpa2l.jpg

Hi my name is Michelle Peppel I am the Heart of Jesus AFC Director of Religious Education/Youth ministry.  I have been working for the AFC since 2017 and have truly enjoyed helping educate, form and lead young people to God and form disciples of God.
I grew up in Ada, MN and went to NDSU in Fargo, ND and studied Athletic Training and Family dynamics with an emphasis on Adolescents behavior.  In 2008 I returned to school and studied Youth Ministry at the Center of Ministry and Development out of WI. I feel that God has been knudgin me to share our Catholic faith to kids,parents, and adults and I enjoy sharing our beautiful Catholic faith.
I have been married to my husband Greg for 29 years. We have 6 children, 5 boys and 1 girl. We just celebrated our oldest son's wedding so now we have a daughter-in-law too.  I enjoy being involved in my children's activities and with the church community but most of all I just love spending time with family and then taking pictures of all of life's events.

wjg266qgos7t3vndg248zqh9tgl.jpgSchueller, Lynn - Holy Redeemer DRE

In May 1999, I was asked to consider becoming the DRE for Holy Redeemer-Renville. Thinking this was absolutely crazy, since I was a former Lutheran who joined the church back in 1977. I told them I would pray about it and give them an answer in 30 days. I remember asking God to let me know, without a doubt if this was His will. On the 30th day at Mass, the reading Matthews 5:14-16 was read by the lector. This spoke to me like God was sitting next to me whispering in my ear...Yes, I choose you...I believe in you. You see.. I had chosen this verse as my Confirmation verse to be in service to God wherever he needed me.

It has been a joy to serve this parish, our youth, & my God. The church has become my home, bringing me much peace & joy. In turn, I strive to make this church a home for all youth by being welcoming, loving, & forgiving. The work is not always easy, but my trust & faith in God gives me the strength & endurance that passes all my understanding. As years of youth go by,  I see the need for hope & faith in their lives increasing. The world they live in is confusing & their home life may be challenging or divided. We always need your support & prayers for our Faith Formation program. May God continue to bless all our Catechists as they give glory to His name!

I thank God for my husband James as we celebrate 50 years of marriage September 16, 2022 We together thank God for all Blessings he has bestowed on us our 4 daughters & 10 grandchildren.  I am reminded of the beauty & energy that youth have to offer. May God Bless all our families with His Peace, His Love, & His Presence!