March 16, 2018

‘God prepared me for this,’ says coordinator for new Office of Human Life and Dignity

By Natalie Hoefer

Brie Anne EichhornAfter working for 10 years as an intensive care nurse, Brie Anne Eichhorn was ready for a new job.

“I was burned out emotionally, and physically drained,” says the 32-year-old member of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Indianapolis. “I felt a deeper call to serve Christ’s Church. But I didn’t think I’d leave nursing.”

Yet that is ultimately what she felt called to do after interviewing for the position of coordinator for the archdiocese’s new Office of Human Life and Dignity, a role she started on Feb. 5.

Eichhorn submitted her résumé upon the suggestion of a friend. She was surprised when she was called for an interview. And she was surprised again by her desire for the job at the conclusion of the interview.

“It felt great to talk about God openly in the interview,” Eichhorn says enthusiastically. “And then I felt a passion for all of the ministries they wanted me to [manage].”

Those ministries include Birthline, assisting expecting mothers and mothers of small infants; Project Rachel post-abortion healing; parish nursing; substance addiction ministry (SAM); a developing mental health ministry; and all pro-life activities, such as Respect Life Sunday.

“My background really does extend the whole breadth of life from conception to natural death,” says Eichhorn. She is certified to teach the Creighton Method of natural family planning, and her decade of working in an intensive care unit exposed her to “adults who are chronically suffering and nearing the end of life.”

Add in Eichhorn’s nursing degree from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., her involvement with SAM through her late mother’s ministry in that area, and her journey with a family member suffering with mental illness, and it’s easy to see why she says, “I feel like God prepared me for this position, and I didn’t even know it.”

Eichhorn’s strong Catholic faith has also prepared her for the role.

“My love for Christ gives me a desire to serve as best as I can, and show that love to others,” she says.

“All life is important, and we should uphold its dignity from conception to natural death. When most people hear ‘pro-life,’ they think of anti-abortion. But [Christians] need to think of all life: the dying, homeless, men and women in human trafficking, in prison, the poor, those struggling with addiction and mental illness, as well as the unborn and those who suffer from the tragedy of abortion. We have to love them all.”

Rather than see herself as a manager of those leading the human life and dignity ministries, Eichhorn sees herself as a servant.

“We have a lot of powerful and passionate volunteers,” she notes. “My role is to support them, to be a minister to them. I’d like to serve those who are serving, … to listen and meet their needs and help them reach who they want to help.”

She also feels a responsibility to “filter down the USCCB [United States Conference of Catholic Bishops] plan of pastoral care, and make sure that’s being implemented, to help people understand what that is and help people carry it out in their own parishes and deaneries.”

Eichhorn is an Indianapolis native. She was raised in Christ the King Parish, attended the parish grade school and graduated from Bishop Chatard High School.

While passionate about human life and dignity, she is also passionate about singing. She is a cantor at St. Joan of Arc and sings with a praise and worship band that travels to parishes throughout central and southern Indiana. And when she’s not belting out hymns, she looks forward to pelting volleyballs on an archdiocesan young adult ministry intramural team.

“But right now, wedding planning is taking up most of my time,” says Eichhorn, who will marry on July 14.

In the meantime, she says she has “a lot to learn” for her new role as coordinator.

“But I have to say, I get excited about coming in to work!” †

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