Editor’s note: JulieAnne Johnson, who lives in Rice Lake, joined the diocesan staff this summer.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is JulieAnne Johnson, and I was raised in Cumberland, where I went to school K-12. I have two awesome parents, Scott and Colleen, and two wonderful older siblings, Kayla and Kevin (who is married to his wife, Jessi).
In high school, I was very involved with the music department – concert band, choir and (my favorite) marching band. I also was an athlete (go Beavers!) and participated in cross country, basketball and track. Upon graduating from Cumberland High School in 2020, I went to Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, for one year. Because of my involvement with music in high school, I decided to pursue a degree in music education.
It was a crazy year with many highs and lows, but overall was rather stressful. I returned for my second year in August 2021, but discerned and followed the Lord’s call to return home. This was a super scary decision for me, as I was fully planning on doing the “normal” postsecondary education thing and following a four-year college track. Thankfully, the Lord blessed me with the gift of peace in that decision and to this day, I know it was the right one.
After some job hunting, I eventually applied for an activities assistant position at Care and Rehab in Cumberland and began working part-time there. As I became more acclimated to the medical field, and saw the need for more Certified Nursing Assistants at our facility, I decided to get my CNA license. Starting in March, I began working full-time at Care and Rehab as a CNA and activity assistant. I absolutely loved my job as a CNA and found it very fulfilling and satisfying.
I love music! I really enjoy listening to it, and I also enjoy creating it. I am a percussionist, I play piano and a bit of guitar, and I enjoy singing. I also like spending time outside: going for walks, kayaking, roller-blading, just being outside.
What has brought you to work for the Diocese of Superior?
I grew up here in the diocese, attending Our Lady of Lourdes in Dobie. Throughout middle and high school, I got involved in a few youth events that the diocese put on: Extreme Faith Camp, High School Discipleship Weekend, Totus Tuus. These events were very impactful in my life and hugely formative. It was through these events that I started to understand the diocese more, that my little parish in Dobie was a part of a greater community spread across northern Wisconsin.
In May of this year, I got a phone call from Chris Hurtubise (who I knew through these youth events, as well as from attending the same parish) letting me know that the former administrative assistant here at the Bishop Hammes Center was going to be having a baby and staying home full-time after baby’s arrival. He asked if her position would be something I’d be interested in. After discerning and praying about it, I wasn’t really hearing any clear direction from the Lord. I loved the CNA work that I was doing, but was attracted to working so closely with the church in a community of faith. It was a choice between two very good things! Eventually, I decided to take the position here. I am thankful that I am still on staff at Care and Rehab, and am able to pick up shifts here and there so I can continue to do that work!
What inspires you in your faith life?
Honestly, I think what inspires me most in my faith are those around me who are also striving for virtue and actively seeking to live out their faith well. I have been blessed to make so many connections with these people through my church, my time at college, and especially through camp. My closest friends are people I met at camp in high school and still continue to keep in touch with now.
One thing I find challenging about this diocese is how rural/spread out we are! The relationships that have been formed through camp help to make it just a bit “smaller” and more tight-knit, more accessible. I am super excited to continue to make those bigger-picture diocesan connections and keep on fostering that tight-knit feel through this position at the Bishop Hammes Center.
I also find my confirmation saint to be an inspiration to me, St. Therese of Lisieux. I chose her because I wanted to imitate her way of living and loving, and because I found her very relatable. Since being confirmed, I’ve gotten to know her better and find that we have so much in common! This is a huge comfort to me as I feel I have a friend in heaven who experienced similar joys and suffering that I am currently experiencing here in my life.
To piggyback off of that, one book that has inspired me in my faith is “The Way of Trust and Love” by Jacques Philippe. It helped me better understand God as father, the Lord’s mercy, and the sacrament of confession – all through the teachings and lens of my favorite saint, St. Therese of Lisieux!
What are your professional goals and interests?
Man, this is a tough one. There’s just been so much transition for me in this area recently! When I was in high school and had my heart set on becoming a music educator, I was really excited to get to college and start that career path. When I got there, and realized that that was not what I wanted to do, I kind of panicked. I am the type of person who loves making plans and following through with them, so that was a really tough season in my life. I do know that I would like to go back to school someday. But I don’t want to do that until I have a better understanding of what I want to do and what the Lord wants from me. Despite deviating from my original career path, this past year has been really good for me.
I will say that I know I want to do this new job well. It has been a gigantic learning curve, as I have no prior education or experience in this type of work. It’s already been so good to be here. People have been so welcoming and encouraging, and I genuinely enjoy the things I get to do here. I am very grateful to Peggy (Schoenfuss), Chris (Hurtubise) and Loree (Nauertz) (who I work for and with) for their patience and help as I have been adjusting to this new role. I am also very grateful for Grace Geisler (who held this position before me) for her awesome coaching and training during the month-and-a-half transition.
There are so many to choose from, I don’t think I can pick a singular favorite. I do enjoy this one, “God is a God of peace. He does not speak and does not operate except in peace, not in trouble and agitation.” From the book “Searching for a Maintaining Peace,” by Jacques Philippe.
Anything else you’d like to add?
This may sound like a cliché thing to say in this situation, but I am sincerely excited to be working in this diocese. I am looking forward to meeting people from across the diocese. It’s neat to work for a diocese that has given me so much, especially in the area of youth ministry.