Our People

Our Staff

Deacon Paul Treinen, Director


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Deacon Paul Treinen and his wife, Julie, are parents to six children and two “perfect” granddaughters. Deacon Paul grew up in South Dakota, but was educated in Minnesota (St. John’s University/The University of Minnesota). Deacon Paul has lived in Ortonville, MN the past 29 years with the last six years being ordained a permanent deacon of the New Ulm Catholic Diocese. He has worked in health care as a physical therapist and helped start and grow a rehabilitation company before he felt the call to become the Director of The Abbey of the Hills in 2014.

What does Deacon Paul love about working at The Abbey?

“Keeping the Abbey alive…and growing as a place of peace and holiness is both a privilege and exciting challenge, one that involves meeting so many wonderful, holy people that come from such different faith walks…all seeking God’s peace.”

Jill Adelman, Chief Development Officer


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Jill, and her husband, Stan, live on a farm in rural Bellingham, MN. They are parents of four children: Philip & daughter-in-law, Jacqueline, Carolyn, Isaac & Grace. Jill grew up near Clarkfield, MN and received a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from South Dakota State University. She and her family are members of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Rosen, MN where she is actively involved in music. Jill is the choir director and plays organ.  

What does Jill love about working at The Abbey?

Jill loves visiting with the many people who have had wonderful experiences/memories of this beautiful landmark of faith.  The stories of how our guests have “rediscovered peace” are truly inspirational.  Jill is often overwhelmed with joy from those who truly commit to stewardship in some way of time, talent or treasure. Whether large or small—all gifts of stewardship are so appreciated. Working in a faith-filled environment is a blessing that Jill is thankful for every day.

Valari Burts, Office Administration Specialist


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Valari recently moved up to SD from the beautiful Smokey Mountains of East Tennessee, and resides in Milbank.  She is the mother to 3 grown children, Joshua, Shane and Jenna.  She lived in the upper Midwest as a young child but had been in Tennessee since she was 15.   She made the decision to move to South Dakota to be closer to her extended family and heritage.  Valari spent a lot of time here as a young child and feels very much at home in SD.  She brings several years of hospitality industry and office management experience to The Abbey.  In her free time, Valari enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with friends and family playing cards and board games.  She attends American Lutheran Church in Milbank, and fell in love with the Abbey the first time she visited for the Fall Festival.


What does Valari love about working at The Abbey?

"I knew the Abbey was a special place the first time I drove up the driveway. I could see the beauty and feel the peace and serenity here. I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  I love greeting and welcoming our guests to The Abbey and learning where they are from and what brought them here.  What a huge blessing to be working here and be a part of this community of faith!”

Brenna Rausch, Events Coordinator

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Brenna grew up in Big Stone City, SD where she currently resides. Pursuing her education, she graduated as a summa cum laude from Northern State University with a Bachelor's in Music Education. However, Brenna knew God was calling her down a different path. Brenna is a member of Blessed is She, a ministry for Catholic women to speak of God together, and to strengthen and pray for one another in times of peace, happiness and pain. She also Judges Oral Interp and Debate when available.  When Brenna’s not at The Abbey, she enjoys comedy, history, eating, sleeping, hiking, walking, golfing, and traveling.


What does Brenna love about working at The Abbey?

"Working at any job, you tend to take for granted the people around you and your surroundings. I haven't felt that way about the Abbey. I work with AMAZING people and every day, I take a walk around the building so I can see my favorite room, my favorite artwork, my favorite window, and I appreciate the fact that I can call THIS my job. It's amazing, and sometimes overwhelming, to feel God's presence so vividly here, and I hope others feel it too!"

Bryan Anderson, Maintenance


Bryan and his wife, Brenda, have three children:  Sarah (25), Devin (23), and Jake (20).  They farm on the family farm in the rural Bellingham area.  Bryan brings 30 years of appliance repair and general maintenance experience to The Abbey.  Bryan attends St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Rosen, MN with his family.  He enjoys hunting with his boys and camping and fishing with his family.

What does Bryan love about working at The Abbey?

“I enjoy the peacefulness that The Abbey offers along with a great group of co-workers that make each day fun and entertaining.”

Sylvia Anne Marchetti, Caretaker


Sylvia has had the privilege of living in many places in the US, but settled in South Dakota 16 years ago because of her love of the prairie.  She has worked as a teacher, gardener, poet, writer, and transition specialist.  She has previous care-taking experience taking care of ranches and farms including the livestock, property and people.  In her free time Sylvia loves to hike, cross-country ski, ice skate and be outside one with nature during all seasons, even in the freezing cold! She also has a strong passion for helping people during their final weeks of life as they prepare to say goodbye.  The Abbey is excited to welcome Sylvia to our staff as she greets our guests and helps them feel at home.    

What does Sylvia love about working at The Abbey?
"I love helping the people who come here feel welcome and comfortable. I enjoy creating an ambiance in which healing and peace are natural extensions of the prairie and lakes, the night sky, the sunrises, turkeys, deer and birds that surround and grace the Abbey."

Eric Ternus, Caretaker


Eric grew up in Northeast Nebraska and graduated from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He shares a life with both the Abbey guests and his beautiful wife Kate and wonderful son Alyosha. He is a geriatric social worker by day and an Abbey Caretaker by night. He enjoys spending time with his family, outdoors and in the woodshop.

What does Eric love about working at The Abbey?
"I love working at the Abbey because it allows me to be an agent of peace in the lives of all those who walk through the doorway. I love coming to know all the different guests and joining them for a short while on their walk of life--each coming place so different, but all with one eternal destination ahead."

Shelly Anderson, Kitchen


Shelly and her husband, Arlo, live in Summit, SD where they raised their 6 children.  Shelly is currently employed at the Big Stone City Public School as head-cook and works at The Abbey evenings and weekends.  Shelly is a member of Hope Lutheran Church in Summit, SD.

Savannah Moe, Housekeeping


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Savannah was born and raised in Summit, SD and is a member of Hope Lutheran Church.  Savannah is engaged to Travis Benthin and has 2 small girls, Airianna and Allison.  She has always enjoyed visiting the Abbey with her church youth group, and now is happy to be part of the staff at Abbey of the Hills.  

Michalla Welberg, Housekeeping


Michalla is a recent graduate of Wilmot High School in Wilmot, SD.  She lives with her family just down the road in Marvin, SD.  She enjoys horseback riding with family & friends.

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