Editor’s note: Maria Heiman joined the Chancery team in September.
Q. Can you tell us about yourself?
A. I grew in Axtell, Kansas – a small town located in northeast Kansas. Most families in the area are farming families – my own included. I have three sisters and one brother and am very close to each of them.
My hometown parish community serves approximately 100 families and is very tight-knit. I was fortunate to attend grade school through my parish’s school alongside my siblings and closest friends. The grade school has since closed, but I became so proud of my Catholic education so much so that it became a priority of mine to complete my education from a Catholic college.
After high school, I completed my freshman year of college at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, before transferring to the University of Notre Dame to complete a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Although my studies focused on accounting, my favorite area of business to study was social business. Following my alma mater’s motto to “Ask More of Business,” the goal of social business is to address a social problem while also earning a profit. I love supporting businesses that tap into this model.
After graduating from college, I moved to Minneapolis to serve a nonprofit organization through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I mainly worked in client services and bookkeeping for a small nonprofit that provides individuals who are experiencing homelessness with work items for a new job. The overarching mission was to help eliminate the barriers around starting a new job to get back on their feet.
Q. What brings you to the Diocese of Superior?
A. I just moved from Minneapolis after completing my service year. After growing up in a rural area, I found the Cities were too overwhelming for a small-town girl like me, so I began searching for opportunity to move away. It seems providential that as I began to discern where my career path would go after a serving with JVC, I discovered an open accounting position with the diocese. The prospect for working for the church while growing in my profession was enough to convince me to apply and eventually accept the position.
Q. What inspires you in your faith life?
A. I have found that the people you spend most of your time with have the most influence in your life. So it comes as no surprise to me that I naturally gravitate towards individuals who are actively pursuing holiness and advancing the common good of society. I’m greatly inspired by the work of St. John Paul II and our Holy Father, Pope Francis. I’m not much of a reader, but I do enjoy listening to religious podcasts. Some of my favorites are the Word on Fire Show, Pints with Aquinas, and Catholic Stuff You Should Know.
Q. Who has most influenced your faith?
During high school, I became very involved with the youth group activities in my diocese. I attended the National Catholic Youth Conference, Catholic Heart Workcamp, Camp Kateri Tekakwitha, TEC retreats, and several youth rallies. However, my involvement with these activities (was) strongly encouraged by my parents – whom I give the most credit to for forming my faith during my teenage years. Not only did my parents bring my siblings and (me) to Mass every Sunday, but my family prayed often and actively volunteered in our parish through participation with the Knights of Columbus, Women’s Guild, etc. I truly believe that it was through the example set by my parents that I was able to fully lean into understanding the church and her teaching when I began living on my own during college.
Q. What is your favorite quote?
“A life not lived for others is not a life.” – St. Mother Teresa
Q. What are your professional goals and interests?
A. My hope for any professional career is to constantly grow in the various roles I hold with the diocese. I love taking on new challenges and discovering the new areas in which I can grow into – both professionally and spiritually. The several parish leaders whom I have the privilege of working alongside have known this diocese for years and years while I am just getting started. Thus, I look forward to working with and learning from the countless individuals who help our diocese run so smoothly.
After just being here for a few weeks, my short-term goal is to learn the geography of the diocese. Hopefully, that will include visiting each of the parishes someday soon.