Please share a little about yourself – feel free to include a fun fact!
Hi! I’m Angelina Heyse and I currently live in Conshohocken, PA with my Golden Retriever, Cricket. I have always lived in the Philadelphia area, so naturally I decided to give rowing a try, and I like to say it is what brought me to Jesus. Samantha Kelley, founder and president of FIERCE Athlete and a fellow GIVEN alumni, also happened to be training out of the same rowing club and we became fast friends. I had fallen away from my faith at the time, but the next thing I knew I ended up at my first Holy Hour hosted by the Sisters of Life and I never looked back. Sam and I currently train and compete in a double scull together and I recently completed my first Half Ironman 70.3.
Describe your professional work. How were you led to this? What are you passionate about?
Currently, I work as an ER nurse at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia. Empowering others, making a difference, and being part of a team is something I have always been passionate about, especially with my experience in sports from a young age. I was recruited to be on the rowing team at Bucknell University, but unfortunately during my freshman year, I was diagnosed with a heart condition, leaving me unable to compete at the same physical capacity as my teammates. Needless to say, I was devastated, but my coaches and teammates suggested I take on the new role as a coxswain. For those who are not familiar with rowing, a coxswain is the leader of the boat. They steer, give instructions on how to get from point A to B as fast as possible through technical changes, run workouts given by the coach, and most importantly, empower and motivate their rowers to push past whatever they thought was possible. A great coxswain has the trust of their crew, pays close attention to details, and knows their teammates inside and out. When I found myself in this role, I thrived due to the amount of passion I had for my teammates and my desire to make a difference. Once I finished my four years, I found myself searching for a career where I could continue to be part of a team, empower and motivate others, and make a difference. Nursing was the perfect fit!
What are the personal strengths that you’ve been given and how do you utilize them?
The Lord has provided me with the gift of compassion, receptivity, and communication. I find myself using these characteristics daily to serve and walk with others on their most difficult days while I am working as a nurse, but also with those I am closest with.
What women inspire you, and why?
Dr. Monique Ruberu is such an inspiration to me. Nothing I say could do her justice! I recently have gotten the opportunity to connect with her and shadow at her medical practice, Natural Women’s Health. The way in which she lives out her vocation as a physician is nothing short of exceptional, and I look to her as a mentor in how it is possible to incorporate your faith in your work as a medical professional. It is apparent Dr. Ruberu cares for the whole person, not just what brings them to her office. She sees every encounter with a woman as a gift from God, is not afraid to speak His truth, or stand up and be a voice for the unborn.
Are there friends and mentors that you depend upon? How do they support you?
Oh absolutely, I have many friends and mentors in which I depend on! Sr. Maura Therese, my mentor through the GIVEN Forum, and my friend Sam Kelley are two of my biggest supporters. I can always count on them to give me advice, a hug, and pray with or for me, depending on what I need. They constantly remind me that I am right where Jesus needs me to be.
Prayer is essential for everyone, but especially for women who are active in the life and mission of the Church. Do you have any favorite devotions or prayers?
Something I really enjoy doing each day is Morning Prayer. The Sisters of Life really inspired me to do this. Every so often I join them for Evening Prayer, and I found myself in awe of how beautiful it is, so I decided to get my own copy of Liturgy of the Hours to attempt to learn how to follow along with them. When I am off from work I use the physical book, but when I am working, I play Morning Prayer through the Divine Office app on my commute to the hospital. This always sets me up for a good day.
Two other prayers that have become essential for me are the Litany of Trust as well as the Litany of Humility. As I was praying one day I felt really called to recite both of these, and ever since then I pray them each day.
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?
The word Beloved is something I hold really close to me and every time I read it in the Bible it gives me great comfort and peace. It reminds me, not only, that my true identity lies in that I am a daughter of God, but that Jesus sees me, cherishes me, and I am worthy of His love regardless of what I have done or my greatest faults. This word inspires me to spread that message to others, especially other women.
What were your key takeaways from the GIVEN Forum?
As I was surrounded by so many talented and beautiful women, it really opened my eyes to the fact that each of us was designed with purpose and given specific gifts. The fact that each of us reveals something about God that no one else can gives me such appreciation for all of the women that I encountered and the work that they are doing to fulfill their action plans. The network of women through GIVEN is really something special and really excites me as to what will come in the future as action plans are realized and expanded.
What was your GIVEN action plan? Describe its mission, audience, and impact.
When I started my nursing career in Emergency Medicine, it was a decision I made with my head and not my heart or through prayer. Prior to the GIVEN Forum, the Lord made it really clear to me that I needed to listen to my heart’s greatest desire, and that is to provide care to families that integrates faith and assists women to having more positive pregnancies, births, and postpartum experiences. This led me to create an action plan tailored to creating a Birthing Center. Obviously, this is something that cannot be accomplished within a year, but thanks to GIVEN I have a much better idea of how I can start.
What I have accomplished this year may not look like a lot on paper, but the work I have done personally to grow in my faith life to make this all possible is the biggest fruit of my labor and will carry and sustain me throughout my entire life and career. My mentor, Sr. Maura Therese, helped me navigate next steps academically and professionally, encouraged me to network and create contacts, but ultimately helped me realize I am exactly where God needs me to be. I encourage anyone who may think their dream or action plan is “impossible” to not shy away from it. There is nothing “too big” for the Lord.
Currently, I am in the process of applying for jobs within Labor and Delivery to gain more experience in caring for women and newborns and I have started the process of applying to Midwifery School. I am so excited to see where I am in another year!