Sister Jean Marie Fernandez, R.G.S., Sisters of the Good Shepherd

Sister Jean Marie Fernandez, R.G.S., Sisters of the Good Shepherd


What roles do you play in vocation ministry?

I am the vocation director for the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in the Province of Mid North America. Our congregation has both lifestyles (apostolic and contemplative). I am also a member of the NRVC board.
 
How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

I have been recycled several times and have been involved in vocation ministry for the past 18 years. This ministry is truly a mystery, gift, and grace that has enriched my soul and those I accompany on their spiritual path. It’s not only what I do. It is who I have become in my encounter with others.
 
Are you part of a vocation team?

In our Mid North America Province, I am engaged with a team of partners in mission, both sisters and laity, called the Vocation Formation Conversation Circle. Most of us are doing part-time vocation work because we have other ministries as well. This grassroots group meets on a regular basis sharing insights/and stories on vocational call and religious life today. I also have a working relationship with the vocation ministers from our New York/Toronto and the Central South Provinces.


Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

I am inspired by NRVC’s collaboration, both nationally and internationally to engage and diversify multiple stakeholders, making visible the fire of God’s love. I have been spiritually renewed through NRVC’s educational workshops, programs, webinars, and recent engagement with technology and social media platforms. The COVID-19 pandemic has moved me beyond my comfort zone and expanded my understanding of global community. This profound connectedness from “I” to “We” is a call to re-imagine and be open to radical transformation.

I am also a member of the NRVC West Coast member area group. We participate in the NRVC programs and resources as best practices for ongoing formation and lifelong learning.

 

What ideas have you used in vocation ministry lately that you have been excited about?

Women in discernment know we work as a team. I’ve encouraged discerners to be on our Good Shepherd listserv. They can read our newsletters and items of interest through social media networks. I usually engage with them either with a phone call or text, and I use free software applications like Viber and WhatsApp. These are ways to develop relationships.

The best practice that I’ve used is collaborative teamwork—sisters and laity strengthening a partnership. We have encouraged women to ZOOM or have a phone call to meet or talk with Good Shepherd Sisters, both apostolic and contemplative. Inquirers and discerners can hear our sisters’ stories of call and ministry. I believe every sister is a vocation minister and by her witness brings forth the joy of the gospel

 

What do you find most rewarding in vocation work?

I am inspired by a shared vision, that together as one church we are widening our tents, taking risk, experimenting, and finding new ways to evolve as vocation ministers. I believe that any woman who crosses my path has a seed of possibility planted in her soul because I am only a catalyst for God’s “holy work.”  Vocation ministry is most rewarding as it is a prophetic joyful witness of deep listening to God’s call that sustains, renews, and nurtures all of life.  


Would you like to share any fun facts about yourself?

I am an Indian by blood, Malaysian by birth, Singaporean by nationality, American by choice, and a Good Shepherd Sister by call. I love to express my prayer in sacred movement and dance. I am a member of a worldwide network of participants in the dances of universal peace. This spiritual practice is fun, graceful, and effortless—it brings out the best in me.

 

View Sister Jean Marie in a video about her ministry with the homeless https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mswHevj5iZM&list=PLXc4XnH7dKqc24XHKV6tIiaRvReYqxRk_&t=22s



Published on: 2021-10-28


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