Passion for contemplation and vocations

NRVC Board

I have a deep passion for contemplation and commitment to the full flourishing of religious life in the Church and for the ongoing transformation of the world. I am honored to serve on the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) board of directors.

I am discovering ever more deeply that religious life is a viable prophetic option for those persons seeking to discover God’s call in their lives. To me, it is God’s holy work. I am only a catalyst for vocation discernment. God’s call remains a mystery and a gift.

I was recently elected for a three-year term on the board, with the option to serve for two consecutive terms. The board meets at least twice a year. My first meeting took place by Zoom in August. I felt very welcomed at the meeting and experienced a sense of belonging in a diverse group of peers. The next Zoom meeting of the board will be in March 2021 by Zoom, followed by another meeting September 20-24th in New Orleans, which will include travel.

The vision of NRVC is to set the world ablaze with the fire of God’s love through the prophetic, joyful witness of religious sisters, brothers, and priests as radical disciples of Jesus.   

The board is currently preparing for the NRVC 2020 Virtual Convocation, which will run October 28–31.

Webinar feeds my passion for contemplation

passion for contemplation
Jean Marie Fernandez, RGS

I was one of some 1,200 Sisters who participated in a recent webinar titled “Tapping into the Power of Contemplation.” Gail de George, the editor of Global Sisters Report, conducted an hour-long online interview with Sr. Nancy Sylvester (Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Michigan) on the power of contemplation.

For nearly two decades, Sister Nancy has been drawing on her own passion for contemplation  — what she calls “contemplative power” — in her interactions as a leader and her social justice work — and teaching others how to do so — in workshops. In this current time of chaos and conflict, Sr. Nancy and her team at the Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue have developed a workshop to address how to integrate contemplative practice while engaging with others’ differences.

I found this conversation to be extremely helpful and enlightening because this practice aligns me with my deepest Good Shepherd values.  It brings me to a new awareness of being and acting in right relationships with God, mother nature, and all of life — especially the world’s suffering poor.

Contemplative Sitting Network

I am also a member of the virtual contemplative sitting network.  We have about 1,000 people all over the world who are committed to sit in meditation for 20 minutes each day.  This experience of being together is powerful because I experience God’s energy of love transforming and healing the world in profound new ways.

I am reminded again and again in the writings and wisdom of Constance FitzGerald, OCD:

“Our time and place in history bring us face to face with profound societal impasse…

We can find no escape from the world we’ve built….
Yet it is only in the process of bringing the impasse to prayer
to the perspective of the God who loves us that our society will be freed, healed, changed.”

Here is the link to the YouTube recording of the webinar: https://youtu.be/gEXibLraSyU

Read our newsletter Items of Interest for more stories about Good Shepherd Sisters and their passion for religious life.

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Jean Marie Fernandez

Jean Marie Fernandez

As Vocation Director for the Province of Mid-North America, Sister Jean Marie Fernandez helps young women discern their call to vocation. Sr. Jean Marie is driven by her vow of zeal and strives to model her life after the heart of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who left the flock of 99 to respond to the one sheep in special need.