Servant-hearted sister joins university family, embraces community with joy


Photo by: Layna Corbett

Sister Teresa Reyes, a soft-spoken and strong TOR sister, arrived at Franciscan University of Steubenville’s main campus this semester ready to take on the unknown.

With heart ready to love and serve all those around her, she embraced her new life in the little town of Steubenville.

Reyes is new to Franciscan’s main campus this semester, and she arrived full of joy and excitement. She had previously worked on Franciscan’s Gaming campus for four semesters before taking a year to live at the TOR motherhouse, and now she has come to the main campus to serve students and faculty alike.

The switch between the two Franciscan campuses was a big change for Reyes, but a good one.

“I very much enjoy it,” said Reyes. “It’s definitely different and a lot bigger than Gaming is, but it’s been wonderful experiencing so much of what Franciscan and the main campus has to offer. … The university really cultivates faith formation; there’s just so many opportunities for students to grow in their faith and be supported in their faith and be challenged and equipped to live it out. It’s really amazing, it’s a really special place. … Where can you find another university campus where there’s a chapel in each of the dorms?”

Reyes is the advisor to the Women’s Ministry on campus and is completely and totally in love with its mission. “I’m very grateful to be in this position and ministry,” said Reyes, “and really try to help the women on the campus grow closer in their relationship with the Lord, to come to experience his love for them in a deeper, more profound, personal way. To be more firmly rooted in the truth of who they are, their identity, and to be freed from the obstacles that keep us from experiencing God’s love and his healing.”

Reyes is hopeful for what the Lord has in store for the Women’s Ministry, and she said that she has “already seen a lot of fruit come from Women’s Ministry events that have already occurred this year.”

Along with four other TOR sisters, Reyes lives in Assisi Heights, bringing her joy and gentleness to all the students who live around her. She enjoys the physical proximity to the students.

“We’re running into each other all the time,” said Reyes. “Students know there’s a sister, there’s someone I can talk to, there’s somebody I can ask for prayer. Definitely being so close to the students helps a lot with just being able to minister to the students and be available to the students and be pastoral in that way.”

Reyes is part of the TOR contemplative active community, so working at the university is not her full-time job. Along with her fellow TOR sisters, Reyes’ full-time job is prayer.

When she isn’t working with the Women’s Ministry or deep in prayer, Reyes enjoys going out for walks in nature and “just taking in the beauty of creation.” She also enjoys listening to Irish music, adult coloring and reading authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

Sitting around to talk and listen to people is another one of Reyes’ pastimes. She loves getting to know people better, such as her fellow sisters and students. “And making homemade greeting cards,” said Reyes with a small, excited voice, “I like that. People don’t do that anymore. Everyone just buys their card.”

Reyes describes herself as a Dominican Franciscan with a Carmelite heart. “I’m a Dominican, because my family is from the Dominican Republic,” said Reyes. “I’m Franciscan, because I’m a TOR sister, obviously, but I like to say I have a Carmelite heart because I’m named after St. Therese of Lisieux, and she has a very dear place in my heart.”