By Kyle Eller
The Northern Cross
Aubry Haben says she’s seen God’s generosity in her life when she is attentive to his will.
“We can never outdo God in our generosity, and I think that that’s really a message that . . . kind of needs to reach people’s ears more often,” she said.
She’ll get a chance to share it as the new director of development for the Diocese of Duluth, a role she took over last month after long-time director Mike Bilden retired this past summer.
Haben, a lifelong Catholic who grew up in Duluth, attended the University of Notre Dame with a double major in anthropology and peace studies. From there she went to New York City, where she worked for a nonprofit called World Youth Alliance, which promotes the dignity of the person at the United Nations.
After she left that job, she walked the Camino in Spain, a 500-mile pilgrimage to the bones of St. James, and then began a master’s degree in theology through the Augustine Institute in Denver.
“That got interrupted because I got engaged,” she said.
This past June she married “a Minnesota boy.”
“And God wanted us here, because we providentially both got jobs in Duluth,” she said. The job will also let her continue her studies.
Her new work will of course mean fund-raising and finding resources to support parishes around the diocese as well as ministries in the Pastoral Center.
She says it will also mean being a friendly face and a resource, building relationships with parishes and individuals. Because the diocese is a mission diocese, Haben says there are sometimes funding sources for projects like a leaky roof, and she can be a resource to help parishes find them.
But for the first few weeks, she said she’s getting acquainted with “the massive to-do list I have.”
Her faith is one of the biggest resources she has in the new role, keeping her grounded, but her life experience and resume have also prepared her. She worked in the Notre Dame development office as a student and worked with the development director at the organization where she worked in New York City.
“It’s kind of one of those things where you look back and see the thread of God, connecting everything to bring you to this point,” she said.
Among her goals? Bringing that awareness of God’s generosity and increasing the amount of giving that happens in the diocese.
“Because the more we give back to the church, the more the church can give back to us,” she said.