The Duluth Bethel’s Longtime Chaplain Bonnie Pugleasa Retires

This November she made the difficult decision to retire after a decade and a half of impacting those who are fighting some of the hardest battles of their lives.

DULUTH, Minn. – For 15 years Bonnie Pugleasa has been the chaplain at The Duluth Bethel helping people who are struggling with addiction or have a criminal record.

This November she made the difficult decision to retire after a decade and a half of impacting those who are fighting some of the hardest battles of their lives.

“I’m not ready for retirement, I love working at The Bethel it’s just a new season in my life,” said Pugleasa (who goes by Bonnie around the office) ahead of her retirement.

A proud Iron Ranger, she spent 15 years driving from Aurora to Duluth to help those who are struggling find their way again.

“My area is sharing the lord with them whether they want to come to know him or not. My job is to give them hope and so I see every human being with a broken heart. and that broken heart needs to be mended,” says Bonnie.

Bonnie’s going away party featured plenty of tears from a packed room of coworkers as people had a hard time putting into words all that she’s done for the organization.

“Bonnie has been the core for a long time of what this organization represents and what it stands for. And sometimes someone might ask who’s listening, Bonnie’s listening,” says Dennis Cummings, the executive director of The Duluth Bethel.

In her time at The Bethel, Bonnie says treatment for addiction has started focusing a lot more on mental health which she believes is essential to help those affected get back to who they truly are deep down.

“When you’re addicted to something you don’t lose your personality, that’s a gift from god, but that gets hidden. And you see the drug,” says Bonnie.

For people who are not open to religious beliefs, Bonnie helped them through different mediums such as music, art, an ice cream snack, or even just having an open ear.

“That’s what Bonnie brings, a pure heart the absence of any judgement, often Bonnie is the connection cause they go in and feel safe with her,” says Cummings.

Bonnie says a chaplain is someone who cares for a person’s soul and spirit, and for 15 years she has worked tirelessly to do just that.

“They need to be heard and they need to know that they can get help, they can get better, and they will have a future,” said Bonnie.

Bonnie’s big shoes will be filled by an experienced chaplain and Episcopalian minister.

Bonnie will still be on hand to volunteer and fill-in when The Bethel calls on her.

 

 

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