As part of her personal preparation for our Congregational Chapter 2021, Tess wrote this reflection which she wishes to share with us.
Click here - Deep Mystery
Tess was director of the Formation Programme for Sisters in the Philippines from 2008 to 2014. During that six years, she welcomed an additional 46 sisters from 13 countries to participate in different programmes. She also chaired the Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Formation Team.
In 2014 Tess began a new mission - she moved to Kenya to share her skills and vision with the sisters there. Her role in Kenya also provided an opportunity to further grow the Asian-Kenyan international experiences and intercultural co-learning. During her time in Kenya, Tess maintained strong connections, formal and informal, with the Asia Pacific region and she returned to Philippines in 2017.
In 2015 Tess was invited to the Mother House in Angers to present some sessions to the RIMOA Formation Core Team and the Unit Leaders. (RIMOA is the Africa/Middle East/Europe Region). Here Tess shares her personal learnings.
We are one! I had gotten deep into creation spirituality and I have come to believe that we are one. This led to my decision to volunteer to go to Kenya. I saw the needs in Kenya and I felt called to help. This has made me realize that the Generalate was not just a structure but a spirit. I came to understand why St. Mary Euphrasia had to start the Generalate: it is for us to help one another since we are one. It is a spirit of oneness!
Missionary life is the fullness of the Good Shepherd vocation. St. Mary Euphrasia had no plan of founding a new congregation. The call was for her to make the mission St. John Eudes started universal. So, to be a Good Shepherd Sister is to be a missionary. Now her words to the sisters on preparing for the demands and difficulties of the mission have greater meaning to me.
I went to Kenya without a single book except our constitution as I left behind all my books. To my surprise, I discovered that Kenya had so many nice books which I had not read. These books have nourished me so much. God indeed cannot be outdone in generosity!
'We are only canals through which the grace of God flows.' I see myself only as an instrument but it is through me that the grace of God flows. I marvel at how God is at work in the hearts of the prenovices and those whom I accompany.
'Grace is a fruit of the cross and only those who climb its height are able to gather the fruit.' I had climbed this tree which is proven by the fact that I had lost 10 lbs. in five months. Hence I was able to gather the fruits of grace!
I am still in process - God is very patient with me! I also recognize God at work in my heart to transform me. I am not finished, not perfect as St. Paul would say. And I appreciate how God has patiently waited for me. I marvel at God’s patience and I feel one with the publican in the gospel when he said, 'Be merciful to me, I am a sinner!'
After three challenging yet fruitful years in Kenya, Tess returned to Philippines in 2017. She works at St. Bridget College, Batangas as Finance Officer. This is a 108 year old institution and is the first Good Shepherd foundation in the Philippines. Tess is accountant by profession, though had not been engaged in this field due to her subsequent training and involvement in formation ministry. She is also involved in formation for lay mission partners, and counselling for students and their parents.
At present Tess is accompanying three sister formators of Burkina Faso and Vietnam through weekly zoom sessions. She enjoys working with an international group.
Click here to read Tess's Reflections on Cosmology - Coming Home to Mother Earth with the Good Shepherd
Historic first Formation and Partnership Session in Asia Pacific creates a distinct shift in the understanding of Partnership for Mission
Comprehensive overview from the GSAPP team - how Good Shepherd Partnership for Mission is developing in this region