Sister Beverly Heitke’s Birthday Reflection
In celebration of our sisters’ birthdays in 2023, we asked them to share an age they would like to go “back” to. On her birthday, Sister Beverly Heitke reflects on several ages that mark different phases of her life.
By Sister Beverly Heitke, SDS
There are several times in my life that are like new births – the beginning of an entirely new phase of life. Each time, a new world of life opened for me.
When I was 34, I was invited to take on the leadership of Marquette University’s School of Dentistry Clinical Dentistry program. This led to over 12 years of stimulating experience with faculty and students in the dental field that remain precious and memorable for me.
When I was 46 years old, our General Chapter elected me to a Generalate position. For the following 12 years, this ministry carried me around our Congregation on five continents: Africa, Asia, Europe, South and North America. It was a time of tremendous opportunity to grow in appreciation of our worldwide mission among people of many cultures. What a blessing!
When I was 59, I was invited to be Sponsorship Coordinator for our four institutional ministries in Wisconsin. This opened my heart and eyes to the dedication of so many of our lay collaborators who supported our Salvatorian ministry in healthcare, education, and housing for the disadvantaged. What enriching years these were, as we strove to bring the goodness and kindness of Jesus, our Savior, to people of all ages and with varying needs.
At age 77, the call to Provincial Leadership opened yet again another door and, for 7 years, I was privileged to serve with my U.S. sisters as we, together with our lay collaborators, sought to walk our path into a very challenging future.
In every period of my life, it’s the relationships among many good people that I especially treasure.
As I reflect, I wouldn’t say I’d want to go back to any particular age. I’m just deeply grateful for the joys, struggles, and blessings of all these times and ages.