I am Maria Cecilia D. Sevilla, born in Manila and a registered nurse by profession. I grew up knowing the Good Shepherd Sisters since my Aunt (Sr. Lourdes Sevilla) is part of this religious congregation. At a young age, I wanted to become a nun since I was always exposed to the Good Shepherd ministry whenever we visited my Aunt in her assigned community, especially in Heart of Mary Villa. This is a community of the Good Shepherd in Malabon City that offers dynamic care for women pregnant outside of marriage and to surrendered and abandoned children waiting for their adoptive families. I was drawn to the children who needed love and care for their healthy growth and development.
I came to work as a nurse in the nursery of Heart of Mary Villa in January 1997. I was then a lost sheep that needed shepherding. No life directions but desperately trying to look for my life’s purpose. The Good Shepherd was instrumental in moulding the person that I am today. I felt valued as a person which was very significant when you are taking care of women and children who are at a disadvantage. I learned to be more compassionate and merciful to others but the most important thing was how they empowered me to be the compassionate leader that I am today. Through the years working with the Good Shepherd sisters, I faced all the challenges of being their mission partner and each moment, good or bad helped me grow as a mature and confident person. It taught me compassion to extend my hand when it was needed the most, gratitude for everything, respect for each other’s individuality and the humility to forgive and accept my limitations. The sisters, staff, women and babies changed me to be a better version of myself.
I am at present the nursery supervisor, proud to say, the first lay person to occupy the position. Before me, it has been held by a Good Shepherd Sister. In 2014, I attended our unit's Open Chapter, and participated in the Intercontinental Assembly in Kuala Lumpur. Then I became part of the Partnership Team of the Province. I feel now that I belong and own what Good Shepherd charism stands for. My self-knowledge and relationship with God, valuing others, family and work has deepened. I have internalized my role as Mission Partner as I continue to experience progressively, shared responsibility, authority and decision making with the sisters in the program. The trust of sisters in the ministry builds up my confidence in performing my work, duties and responsibilities.
Being part of the Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Partnership (GSAPP) team is a new challenge to give back what was given to me – to motivate, inspire and empower other Good Shepherd lay mission partners to become future Leaders.
The many paths that we have to take in our life would always present us with so many choices yet God chooses what is BEST for us. The life I chose is the life I want to LIVE!
The Formation and Partnership Teams meet together, as an important step in an ongoing process of integration of Core Teams within the Asia Pacific region
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