I am NRVC: Sister Jenny Zimmerman, S.N.D.

I am NRVC: Sister Jenny Zimmerman, S.N.D.


How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

Informally, I have helped with vocation talks and young adult events since I entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in 2004. Formally I have ministered as an assistant vocation director for the past three years and was appointed July 1 to my new ministry as national director of vocations and young adult outreach.

I'm also one of the member area coordinators for the Lake Erie/Ohio River area.

How has your community set up its vocation ministry?

Four of us are on the vocation team for the Sisters of Notre Dame in the United States. I work with three assistant vocation directors. We all have responsibilities for the regions where we reside, and we work closely together on our national program.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

I have appreciated the various professional training programs and workshops. In addition to the education received, I find the networking with other vocation directors to be invaluable.

What vocation ministry projects or ideas are you excited about?

My community here in the United States is launching a new spiritual mentoring program for young adults that I am very excited about. In vocation ministry we meet so many young adults who are simply looking for someone to talk to, someone willing to listen to them without judgment. We are working with our sisters, associates, and others on ways to reach out to the young adults they encounter on a daily basis to provide support and encouragement. There is such a need for this type of mutual relationship in our church and in our world—the vocations team is thrilled to be working together on this idea!

What do you find most rewarding—and most challenging—in vocation work?

For me the greatest gift in my ministry is definitely the relationships I have been blessed to have with young adults all over the United States. I am humbled by their willingness to share their joys and challenges with me. God placed people in my life who walked with me while I was discerning religious life, and I love that my ministry allows me to do the same for others.  

I am most challenged by the misconceptions about this ministry, that the work of vocation directors is about "recruitment" or that my community is in a "competition" with other religious communities on the number of new members. Vocation ministers today, like countless that I have met through NRVC, strive to serve whoever is in front of them, with the one goal of helping that young adult discover through prayer and conversation the amazing life that God has in store for them!

Would you like to share a fun fact about yourself?

People are often surprised to learn that my undergraduate degree is in exercise science. I was working as a certified athletic trainer when God started opening my heart to a call to the Sisters of Notre Dame. It’s been said that I might have a small addiction to sports . . . and I won’t disagree. God can reach us any time and any place! 



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