Tracy’s Sanctuary House
Providing sanctuary for families experiencing medical emergencies or a life-threatening crisis.
Who We Are
Filling The Gap
Tracy’s Sanctuary House is a non-profit organization located in the heart of Bismarck, North Dakota. Founded in 2005, Tracy’s Sanctuary House provides a one-of-a-kind, much-needed service to the community for those who find themselves in desperate need of a place offering privacy and solace during their medical crisis. Whether for staying close to a loved one being treated for cancer or for new parents who have a baby in Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU), Tracy’s Sanctuary House has been a home away from home for families in their time of need.
Tracy was born Jan. 17, 1960, in Elgin, to Donald and Peggy (Hillius) Arndt. She graduated from Flasher High School, obtained her associate’s degree in forestry from Bottineau College, and received a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from North Dakota State University. Tracy married Bruce Rittel on Sept. 4, 1982, in Mandan and went on to have two wonderful children, Kelsey and Mariah. Tracy was a loving and dedicated mother and wife. She was passionately involved with her daughters’ soccer and proud of their accomplishments. Tracy never seemed to have a bad day, always friendly, smiling, and ready to help. She was always providing little rays of sunshine with her generous giving.
On August 9, 2004, over 200 miles from home, Tracy, along with her husband, her eleven-year-old daughter, and another passenger were returning from a trip when their vehicle rolled. Tracy did not survive.
Creating Tracy’s Sanctuary House
While Tracy was fighting for her life far from home in an area hospital near the accident, Tracy’s husband and young daughter paced the cold hospital halls and waiting room. Distraught and overcome with waves of emotion, they desperately needed a private place to await the arrival of Tracy’s college-bound daughter and find sanctuary through their anguish. After Tracy’s passing, they also needed a place to make phone calls to family, make necessary immediate arrangements, and openly grieve.
So far from home, they needed a sanctuary – but there was no such place. Tracy’s family’s mission was to create one. In 2005, they made their vision come to life – a temporary home for families who find themselves in similar situations as Tracy’s husband and daughter.
How We Help
The Impact of Tracy’s Sanctuary House
Nights of Lodging in 2023
The home was so exceptionally clean!! We did really enjoy our stay – and it was nice to be able to just step outside for fresh air – and not to walk down a sterile hallway, down an elevator, and out into the world of business. It is a beautiful sanctuary and God Bless You for sharing your hearts with others.
The second time in a month we have stayed here and I am so thankful! A huge weight has been lifted and staying here has enabled us to even come at all! Thank you for everything you do here. I pray God would bless you and your work you are doing here!
- Robyn & Rachael
As our family is all from Ohio and this unexpected illness happened to me without warning, the fact that my mother had somewhere safer to stay was a great weight lifted from our shoulders. The good will and warm welcoming comfort that you offer to families in crisis are such a true blessing.
- Anonymous Guest
My great grandson was born at 26 weeks. He was airlifted from Williston to Bismarck, ND which is 4 hours by car from their home in Granora, ND. I came from New Mexico so my granddaughter would not be alone during this as her husband can only make the trip and be away from work on the weekends. It has been a blessing to be able to stay at the sanctuary. We are together and have a home here while our tiny guy grows and gets where he can go home. Being retired on a fixed income we weren’t in a position to rent an apartment or hotel for such a long stay. Tracy’s had made this possible. This ministry has been a gift I couldn’t have imagined.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciated being able to stay at Tracy’s house. It has truly been my sanctuary after my husband’s heart surgery.
- Anonymous Guest
My husband has been in and out of the hospital fighting Cancer. Since his diagnosis it has been financially straining. Brandon at the Cancer Center in Bismarck set us up with Kelsey, Tracy’s daughter. She is a great young lady. I am so glad that there is a place like this in North Dakota. Thank you all so much.
Thank you so much for allowing me to stay in your house. It was such a blessing to have a place so close to the hospital while my baby was in the NICU.