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The Philipine Province and its Formation Program

Submitted by: regina
On: 13/02/2010

“When God calls a woman to religious life in the Congregation of the Good Shepherd, it is in her total context, her graced humanity, her life, story, her culture.”  

Such is the introduction of  the Philosophy of Formation of Good Shepherd Sisters in Philippine Province.  It continues that when one is “drawn to the Good Shepherd Congregation, it would have to be because she finds in it a coherence with her own experience of God as the compassionate one.”

The Vision of the  Philippine Province states: We envision authentic and integrated women religious, configured to Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who live by the mission of compassion and reconciliation, through an apostolic or a contemplative life.

The Formation Team helps to implement a formation program that is holistic, eco-feminist, interculturated and contextualized. These are the five stages of Formation: Vocation Ministry (Vocation Promotion, Vocation Accompaniment), Pre-Novitiate, Novitiate, Temporary Profession, and, Continuing Formation.

The Formation Team  (apostolic sisters) is composed of: Sr. Maria Teresa Mahinay, Vocation Directress; Sr. Emma Marzan, Pre-Novitiate Directress; Ma. Teresa Danganan, Novice Directress; Sr. Teresita Figueroa,  Juniorate (Temporary Professed) Directress and Srs. Patricia Perez, Corazon Demetillo and Guadalupe Bautista, Continuing Formation Directresses.

For the contemplatives: Formators include: Sr. Laarni Bongato, Josefina Stella, Betty Therese Ramos and Celeste Engutan.

Following are some updates from the Formation Team:


Vocation Ministry

Through Vocation Promotion and Vocation Accompaniment, the Vocation Directress and sisters in the different communities promote vocations to the religious life  as Good Shepherd Sisters, apostolic and contemplative, who are gifted with the charism of compassion/God’s merciful love. Through Search-in, Vocation Encounter, we invite young women who manifest interest in religious life and accompany them in clarifying the call and assessing their potential in living the Good Shepherd life and mission.

Young women interested to know more the congregation go through a live-in Aspirancy Program in a local community and with their peers. Sisters accompany them in the discernment.

At present, search-in is held every fourth Sunday of the Month. 

The 2010 Vocation Encounter is scheduled February 26-28, 2010 at the Good Shepherd Convent in Quezon City. Young ladies who are interested to join this activity may get in touch with Sr. Marites Mahinay RGS.

Four aspirants, three for apostolic and one for contemplative, joined the live-in aspirancy program that started January 9, 2010. They are Clara Lina Loilo, Emy Guardian, Faith Gustimbaste, Rose Marie Ayenandarmin.

View: Vocation Ministry Photo Gallery


This is the stage when the candidate discerns her attaracion and capacity to love the Good Shepherd apostolic and contemplative life and mission. Jesus and his transforming mission in the world are the focus of this stage of formation. The candidate is introduced to an understanding of the Church of the poor through immersion in the present social context which challenges her towards a sense of compassion and mission in our present world.

The pre-novices are Theresa Garcia and Marjory Visconde. They were accepted to the Pre-Novitiate in June 2009. They have been attending intercongregational classes for pre-novices and have been helping in the program for the poor in Bagong Silangan.

View: Pre-Novitiate Photo Gallery

The Novitiate is and must be an initiation to religious life. It is grounded on the awareness of God’s call and the irresistible need to respond to it. During this stage, the novice seeks to deepen her love for Jesus and her understanding of  His love for her. There are two essential parts in the Novitiate, the Canonical year and Second Year. The Canonical Year is a novice’s period of relative withdrawal and quiet solitude spent in intensive study, reflection and prayer under the guidance of the Novice Directress. During her Second Year, the novice further deepens what she learned during the canonical year. This stage also includes exposure of several months to formative mission in a local community and culminates in an intensive preparation for first commitment.

Sr. Lorraine Libres of  Marawi City was accepted to the Novitiate on February 2, 2010, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

The ceremony was held at the Christine Hall, Good Shepherd Provincialate in  Quezon City. After the acceptance ceremony led by Sr. Cecilia Torres, province leader and Sr. Teresa Danganan, novice directress, Sr. Lorraine and the sisters present proceeded to the Novitiate.

View: Novitiate Photo Gallery

Temporary Profession

The stage of Temporary Profession provides a movement from the religious experience in the Novitiate to the formation of religious attitudes which will define the young Sister’s religious identity: a religious woman who is deeply committed to the Person and Mission of the Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

This stage of formation follows the taking of the first vows and  comprises the years dedicated to spirtual, theological apostolic, socio-pastoral formation and professional studies or updating. The sister undergoes relevant international experience. It culminates in a two-month intensive preparation for Final Profession.

There are four  temporary professed apostolic sisters preparing for Final Profession: Srs. Loreen Granada, Angelita Clemen, Leah Ann Espina and Diana Madulara.

Other junior sisters are Srs. Cielo Matuloy, Arlene Guab, Ronafel de Leon CGS, Aimee Fuentes CGS, Amy Hendani CGS, Kristiana Prasetyo CGS. Two of the contemplatives in temporary vows are from Indonesia.

During this stage, Good Shepherd Sisters from other countries also come to the Philippines for their theological studies and international experience. Two sisters from Myanmar, Srs. Felix and Magdalena, and a sister from South Korea, Sr. Rufina Shim, are in the Philippines for studies.

This, year, five sisters from Korea (Northeast Asia Province) and one from the Sector of South Africa, will join the four Filipina RGS for the first part of  their intensification period. The joint intensification will be from February 15-March 15, 2010. The Sisters from Korea and South Africa will go back to their own countries after this period. The Sisters from the Philippines will go for their 30-day retreat in preparation for the Final Profession of Vows on April 23.

View: Juniorate Photo Gallery

Continuing Formation

This stage seeks to ensure the development of the sister of final vows towards wholeness so that she becomes more and more a person totally committed to God and to all creation.  Her own experience of God’s unconditional love should direct her vision and efforts at renewal.

The Directresses schedule Retreats and lectures for the sisters in this stage. Recently, Sr. Kathleen Coyle, SSC, gave a lecture on Vowed Life.

Schedule of Retreats for 2010 has also been announced to help Sisters prepare for this annual retreat.

Sr. Patricia of the Continuing Formation also said that a survey has been conducted among the sisters regarding needs assessment. The team hopes to know from those in continuing formation the needs that have to be addressed and given focus in the different stages of religious life. Sisters were asked to fill up questionnaires that ask about need for accompaniment, aspects of religious life/vocation and spirituality, updating and deepening the need and interest in information and knowledge, and the development and enhancement of skills and competencies. The results are being collated which will help the Formation Team as sisters plan the activities to meet the needs of those in Continuing Formation.

There are 143 apostolic and 22 contemplatives of Final Vows in the Philippine Province. Two of the contemplatives are from Indonesia and Malaysia. Some 33 Filipina Good Shepherd Sisters are in mission overseas.

There are 24 apostolic communities and four contemplative communities in the Philippines.

View: Continuing Formation Photo Gallery