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Helping People to a Better Life

S. Carol Wester has been a Racine Dominican for almost 50 years. With great aunts and cousins in the Racine Dominican community, she grew up knowing the sisters as happy people. Their joy rubbed off on her, and she answered an inner call to spend her life giving to others.

This decision was “a no-brainer” for S. Carol since she knew the community fit her personality. Over the years she has been a part of many different ministries, including Assistant Director at Bethany Apartments, a sponsored ministry of the Racine Dominicans that provides transitional housing for women and children who have suffered domestic abuse. As she prepared to retire from this position earlier this year, S. Carol looked forward to getting involved with other ministries and volunteer activities. In the past few months, that has included serving as an interim co-director of the HOPES Center, another Racine Dominican sponsored ministry.

S. Carol’s early ministries include being a high school math teacher and administrator. Later, she went to law school and practiced civil law. Bethany Apartments was created during her term as president of the community, and she has always felt very strongly about its mission. “It was something I wanted to be a part of,” she recalled. She was drawn to Bethany Apartments because she felt it was a place where she could really use her gifts. Years later, as Assistant Director at Bethany, she was in charge of financial management, grant writing and reporting. She also helped out wherever she was needed with the women and children.

“My work at Bethany has been incredibly fulfilling,” said S. Carol. “Although not every woman succeeds, there are definitely plenty of results to see the positive impact of the program.” S. Carol loves to see the women and children being able to move and achieve independence to succeed in life after Bethany. “Whether it’s in earning good grades, completing their degree, or finding a job, those moments where the women succeed are incredibly rewarding.”

One example S. Carol recalled was of a woman with two children who had been at Bethany Apartments for a little over a year. When the woman got a job, she found such joy at being able to support herself and her kids. S. Carol loves the environment of this ministry, and she especially enjoyed working with Lynda Jackson, Director of Bethany Apartments. “It’s a joy to work with such a faith-filled, compassionate, and understanding woman.”

Earlier this year, S. Carol decided it would be a good time to retire from her position at Bethany Apartments and focus more on her volunteer activities. Since so many people in the country have lost their jobs, she wanted to make the position available to someone else. S. Carol was able to mentor the new assoiate director, and plans to continue to do some work with Bethany, such as collaborative grant-writing with the Homeless Assistance Coalition of Racine (HAC) and will take the minutes for Bethany Board Meetings. She also serves as a chair of the HOPES Center Board and of the Siena Retreat Center. She will continue with her involvement in Racine Dominican committees, such as the Socially Responsible Investment Committee and the Society Focus Group of the Justice and Rights Committee.

S. Carol feels grateful to be a part of the Racine Dominican community. Though she believes religious communities will change in the future, she hopes that they will still be able to give people the same satisfaction that she has felt. “This community, this group of women, inspires and nurtures my commitment to making life better for others.”