Priest finds a peaceful place to retireEdgewood Vista Assisted Living in Hermantown has a retired priest in residence.
By: Esther Piszczek, For the Budgeteer News
Edgewood Vista Assisted Living in Hermantown has a retired priest in residence.
Father Lloyd Mudrak, 77, moved to Edgewood Vista in 2011 after completing 50 years of service as a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Duluth.
“It’s a very wonderful place to be. You don’t have to worry about anything,” said Mudrak.
A native of West Duluth, Mudrak attended St. James Catholic School where, he said, “There were a lot of wonderful priests who came through our parish and I was very impressed with that. Gradually, I said, ‘Yeah, I think I would like to be a priest.’”
He went on to Nazareth Hall High School and Preparatory Seminary in St. Paul and continued on to study at St. Paul Seminary.
Mudrak began his journey to the priesthood with Latin lessons when a nun taught him in a “class of one” after school during ninth grade.
Reflecting on his decision to become a priest, he said, “In all this time [in seminary], you had plenty of time to think about, ‘Did I want to do this or did I not?’ I said always ‘This is what I want for me.’”
Ordained in 1962, over a span of 50 years Mudrak served in 10 different parishes in the Northland, from St. Francis in Brainerd to St. Anthony in Ely.
For many years he was head of the Religious Education Department in the Diocese of Duluth.
During this time, he also made himself available to say Mass for priests who needed time away to attend special events with their loved ones. Without his assistance, priests had to arrange for someone from St. Paul to fill in for them.
“They were grateful. They could do things that they couldn’t otherwise do. I was popular with all the priests,” he laughed.
When it was time for Fr. Mudrak to retire,
another priest of the diocese told him “We’ve got a nice place for you,” and brought him to Edgewood Vista Assisted Living.
The diocese had chosen a one-bedroom apartment for him next to a large sunroom. The sunroom has a wall of windows, well-tended green plants, wicker furniture and a peaceful view of a field. Mudrak says of the space, “I love my room.”
Fr. Mudrak enjoys taking daily walks around the country-like setting of the Edgewood Vista grounds.
Mudrak says, “I’ve always been an outdoors person.”
During the summer when he was in seminary, Mudrak worked at Duluth’s Catholic cemetery where he was paid to cut the grass.
“I was glad to be out walking behind this mower because it was great exercise to be out in the fresh air,” he said.
As he ages, Mudrak remains active. “I very seldom get sick. I have a lot of stamina. I can go all over the place.”
The food at Edgewood Vista reminds him of growing up with his family in West Duluth. “The food is wonderful; it’s the kind of thing my mother cooked for my dad. That’s what we always had — meat, potatoes, a vegetable, dessert.”
Mudrak is the second of four boys. His older brother has passed on, his younger brother lives in Florida, and his youngest brother, Frank, resides in Proctor. Frank handles Mudrak’s finances and takes him into town from time to time. He visited his younger brother in Florida once, but being a native Duluthian, found it too hot there to return.
Although he does not yet need nursing care, he notices the care others receive from the staff at Edgewood Vista.
“I think the staff here is very attentive. If they see someone is having a problem, they really try to do the best they can. I would give them high marks here.”
Disappointed that he is no longer permitted to say Mass now that he has retired, Mudrak has found a new way to serve. “I watch some of the older people who sometimes need some help. They may need a little something and I can do that. That’s my ministry now.”