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Friday, 14 September 2012

Vocation Story: Sister Tina Heltsley OP

33 Years of Unplanned, Joyful Life
Sister Tina Heltsley, OP

Twenty years old, a student at the University of California, engaged to be married, and on top of the world-this is a description of a person who decided that it might be fun to go to a foreign place (Chicago, IL) to give a year of service before continuing on my planned path of marriage, children, enormous success, and happiness!

Who would have guessed that my volunteer year would allow me to live with 11 of the most amazing, self-actualized, educated, and service-oriented women one could imagine! In a way never expected, I fell in love; I fell in love with the idea that education was not for one’s self-aggrandizement, but to be offered in service of others. I fell in love with the idea of living in community and working in harmony with totally other-centered, politically versed, and globally aware Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters.

Though the Sisters in the house with whom I lived were actually more in love with my fiancé than I, they, who had walked their own decision-filled paths to Dominican life, understood and supported my decision to enter the Congregation. I was never an angel, and my childhood friends still think that perhaps this is a phase I am going through, but my year of volunteer service has turned into 33 years of unplanned (at least not by me), yet very joyful, years as a Dominican Sister.

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