I was born in Legazpi City, Philippines, where the beautiful and magnificent Mayon Volcano is located. I have three siblings; I am the youngest in the family. My parents are loving, understanding but overly sensitive and protective. I grew up surrounded by conservative Catholic teachings and traditions. My maternal relatives are all very ‘religious’. Thus as a child I already developed a sense of reverence to God and devotion to Saints. While growing up in an urbanized village, I was exposed to the lives of women working in prostitution; wherein I got to see them passing by our house beautifully dressed and always smiling and friendly. Young as I am I do not know yet the nature of their ‘job’. What stuck to my mind was that they are beautiful and smell heavenly! Later on as I reflected on my religious life, the vocation to be a Good Shepherd sister started with my attraction and curiosity to the lives of the women.
When I was in college (1986-1990) a sister visited our class and talked about abuses, abortion and women’s situation. I was so touched that I shared to my friends that I wanted to be part of the work of the sisters in journeying with women reclaim their dignity. After a few years, I learned that the sister who spoke to our class was Sr. M. Pilar Versoza, a Good Shepherd Sister. At that time, the RGS were starting to build a community in our diocese.
I have a degree in Bachelor of Science in Social Work. After graduation, I went to Manila to look for a job. Idealistic as I am, I vow to myself that I will not work for any government offices because I want to serve sincerely. Fortunately, I was accepted as a social worker in Caritas Manila, where (again) the Good Shepherd sisters are conducting the children and women’s program. It was all providential. God led me to the Good Shepherd sisters; and God took seriously my wish of journeying with women and girls as they reclaim dignity and have fullness of life.
After five years working in Caritas Manila and assisting the sisters in their task, God gave me the inspiration and courage to take bolder steps…to enter the religious life. St. John Paul II was the instrument that God uses that I eventually say yes to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to enter Good Shepherd Sisters. The Pope’s theme of his visit to the Philippines in 1995 was “tell the world of God’s love”. I felt that the invitation was personally given to me by God. I was full of God’s love and gratitude; that in return I want to show the world how great and loving God is.
I had always been exposed to Good Shepherd ministries ; I admire the sisters' simplicity and down to earth attitude. Their prayer life and zeal to serve are admirable. But I wanted to be sure If God is really calling me to become a Good Shepherd sister. So I went to different congregations; spending time with the sisters to get to know their charism and ministry. But I cannot see myself growing old with them; I am not comfortable being with them. After a discernment process, God led me to the Good Shepherd convent in Quezon City, Philippines.
I entered RGS in 1995; I made my perpetual vows in 2003. From then on, I was assigned in different ministries: Education, Shelter Care Program, Pastoral work and others. I am always awed by how God’s grace worked for the healing of women and girls in our care. I encountered a lot of girls with very deep trauma and emotionally wounded. Professional training and expertise in therapeutic interventions can help, but what works best is the prayer and mercy of God to each of us.
Good Shepherd Sisters from South West India, CE India/Nepal and Philippines attended this session highlighting sexual exploitation of marginalised women and girls
Journeying with a parish community on Victory Island since the Typhoon, the Philippine Province contributes significantly to a successful Desalination Project
Comprehensive overview from the GSAPP team - how Good Shepherd Partnership for Mission is developing in this region