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Sister Mary Joy to celebrate 60th jubilee

Sister Mary Joy to celebrate 60th jubilee - (10-07-2014)

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Photo: Sister Mary Joy Heinlein, OSB, who will celebrate her 60th jubilee of monastic profession on Saturday, July 12, considers art a “way of appreciating the beauty of God’s work and expressing what is in my heart and sharing it with my beloved Sisters.”

The idea of religious life was introduced to Sister Mary Joy Heinlein, OSB when she stumbled across a magazine left in the vestibule of a Yonkers-area church.

The New York City native had been out for a walk and decided to stop into the church one day. That’s where she found the magazine, an issue of “Tabernacle&Purgatory” (now called “Spirit&Life”), published by the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in rural Clyde, Missouri.

“I began subscribing to the magazine,” she said. “I was interested in its articles about convent life and became strongly attached to the idea.”

After graduating from the High School of Commerce in New York City, she spent five years in secretarial jobs. One of two daughters of German immigrants, she enjoyed traveling to upstate New York and throughout the New England area. 

However, God’s calling continued to grow louder within her heart. The Benedictine Sisters’ charism, which is devoted to adoration and the Eucharist, helped her realize her true vocation in life. She entered the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in 1953.

“After 23 years of city life, the change to fresh country air and the landscape was a tremendous adventure,” she said. “I thought I was in heaven the first time I walked into the Adoration Chapel as a postulant. It was such a sacred moment for me.”

She made her first monastic profession on July 12, 1954. Her first jobs included work in the cannery and the kitchen. She later moved to the community in San Diego, which helped reunite her with another great love.

“Being a child raised by the water, living by the Pacific Ocean was a great joy and a privilege for me,” she said. 

Then she went to the other extreme - a transfer to the desert, becoming a part of the community in Tucson, Arizona, where she helped make altar breads. She spent the next few decades sharing her gifts with the Benedictine Sisters’ various monasteries, including those in Kansas City and St. Louis. Today she is settled once again in Tucson, enjoying her contemplative life of prayer, painting and celebrating the 60th jubilee of her monastic profession.

“To praise God in all his creation is a great joy,” she said. “I am also thankful for the positive affirmations my Sisters have given me throughout the years and strength in difficult times. They are truly God’s gifts.”

The Tucson community will celebrate Sister Mary Joy’s jubilee and life of faithful monastic service on Saturday, July 12.