Meet Sandy Heinisch!
Sandy is our Nourish Coordinator for the Diocese of Oakland and she is a force to be reckoned with! Her passion for spreading the word about ministering to caregivers is fierce and contagious. Sandy joined our volunteer team in 2019 and we are blessed beyond words to have her and her deep knowledge about caregiving and the losses that go with caring for a loved one. Below is a glimpse into Sandy’s life, in her words.
I am a Grief Minister Trainer for the Diocese of Oakland, California and I’ve been an LVN (licensed vocational nurse) since 1976. I’m blessed to be married for 57 years, with two surviving children, 5 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.
During my years as a nurse, I worked in hospitals, nursing homes and hospice and spent time teaching others, as a nursing instructor, for more than 35 years.
Prior to 2005, I really had little experience working with the Catholic Church. But that year my son died and thus began the second chapter of my life. I felt first-hand the importance of grief counseling and support. It became so important to me that I became trained in counseling at the Contra Costa Crises Center, Grief Academy and the National Catholic Ministry for the Bereaved.
Today I am the Oakland Diocese Grief Minister Trainer and am honored to be named one of the top 15 most influential women in the Oakland Diocese. I’ve taught grief counseling throughout California and Phoenix and truly I see the importance that spirituality plays in counseling and caregiving. I believe in it so much that I counsel about 500 one-on-one sessions per year, facilitate three grief support groups—parents who have lost a child, widows/widowers, and a teen group.
I believe that God has called me to bring my nursing experience, grief support group experience, and my personal caregiving experience to bring Nourish for Caregivers to others. And why, you might ask? Well, even the strong who trust in the Lord need a hand or shoulder to lean on.