On 30 January 2023 Sr Paula Hinxlage celebrated her 85th birthday together with the community of the Oakford Dominican Sisters in Pietermaritzburg (South Africa). About a year ago, Sr Paula celebrated her Diamond Jubilee there on 11 February 2022, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.
In the course of her long religious life Sr Paula has engaged in a wide range of ministries, including cooking in Osindisweni at a time when the hospital belonged to the Oakford Congregation. In addition, she studied and served as principal at St. Xavier's School in Oakford. She earned her doctorate in psychology in the U.S.A. and returned to South Africa to minister as a psycho-therapist.
Sr Paula also worked as a volunteer in the "Girls and Boys Town" in Magaliesburg
Although Sr Paula retired at least twice, that did not stop her from volunteering in "Girls and Boys Town, South Africa" in Magaliesburg. The campus in Magaliesburg houses only boys. Staff provide social work, counselling and sports activities. The boys attend regular classes in local schools as much as possible. In 2020, Sr Paula had to give up her voluntary support work there - due to Covid-19 restrictions - which she regretted very much.
Working with the boys also changed her own life, Sr Paula says. When she was first sent to Magaliesburg by the Oakford Congregation's leadership, it wasn't easy for her to get a foot in the door to volunteer her work with the boys. Today, times are different and the staff welcomed the contribution Sr Paula made to the overall well-being of the boys in her care.
A former student of Sr Paula donated a mobile classroom for the elementary school
Before becoming involved in “Girls and Boys Town”, Sr Paula volunteered for a time at a local elementary school in Magaliesburg, helping students who were having difficulty reading.
A former student of Sr Paula at "St. Xavier's School" in KwaZulu Natal, where she had previously taught, fulfilled a promise he had made to her many times before: he provided Jacqueline the local elementary school with a mobile classroom consisting of two rooms. She used one of them for several years for her tutoring sessions with students, which she stopped only when the Covid lockdown put an end to it.
Sr Paula enjoys her well-deserved retirement in our retirement community at Pietermaritzburg.