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"The Sisters have been an integral part of my life since 1968. They have enriched my spiritual life, nurtured me, laughed with me, and often given me the courage I needed to continue on my path. They make me proud to be a woman of faith." ~Monica Haupt

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Monday
Aug272012

Featured Sister in Ministry: Sr. Carol Selak

More than 15,000 people in California’s Alameda and Contra Costa counties are served by the Regional Center of the East Bay, a California agency that assists people diagnosed with developmental, mental health or physical disabilities.

Carol Selak, SNJM, a social worker, manages cases for 65 of those people— meeting with them regularly and working out plans for fulfilling their individual dreams and aspirations. She considers herself blessed to assist people who need extra help achieving things that many of us take for granted.

"They have such resilient spirit and are an inspiration to me," she says. "Life doesn’t always treat people with disabilities with the respect that they deserve, and they know that. They feel that. Being with them as they work to make their dreams come true— whether it is meeting friends and having fun, having their own place to live or getting the medical help they need— that is fulfilling."

On any given day, Sister Carol might help a client find a place to live, connect them with a day program for job or life skills training, help them arrange transportation, find work or access medical care. She may be encouraging a group home to conduct outings, such as taking residents on a wine tasting train in Sonoma or a visit to Hearst Castle. She might also be talking with providers to ensure they are meeting her clients’ needs.

Since childhood, Sister Carol aspired to be a social worker, volunteering at orphanages and other organizations— a vocation she attributes in part to the love and sensitivity her parents showed towards those less fortunate. At RCEB, the hours are long, the resources are tight and the paperwork is endless. There is always more to do. Yet Sister Carol finds satisfaction in setting the priorities and doing what she can—and joy in the grateful appreciation of her clients.

"This work makes a huge difference in people’s lives," she says. "In some cases, these people have been abandoned by their families and have few people in their lives. What I do means a lot to them and that means a lot to me. Loving and respecting them gives me a lot of pleasure."

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