Goodbye L.A., hello heartland: Profile of Sister Jessica Vitente, S.P.

Inspiration can come from unexpected places. By age 31, Jessica Vitente had earned a college degree and worked her way up in a Los Angeles company. She had never entertained the idea of becoming a sister. But then she met some Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in 2015. Impressed, she took them up on an invitation to attend a Come and See retreat 2,000 miles from her home. The more she discovered about them, the more she envisioned their life for herself. “God was tugging at my heart strongly,” she says. In 2018, she moved to Indiana to begin life as a Sister of Providence.

Sister Jessica Vitente, S.P.

(Photo: Amy Miranda, courtesy of Sisters of Providence, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN)

What first drew you to religious life?

I met sisters in their 80s and 90s who were so happy, just glowing, about the life they have lived and still are living.

How did friends and family respond to your becoming a sister?

My friends from a young adult ministry group were my anchor because they supported and prayed with me when others around me were against the idea—at first. My parents, all my cousins (who are like siblings because I’m an only child), my childhood girlfriends, and college friends were shocked at first. But eventually they supported me because they saw how happy I was.

What do you enjoy about your current work as a campus minister?

I like building relationships with students and faculty and collaborating with other ministers. I enjoy connecting with other campus ministers globally. And it is a gift to witness students who share their sacred faith journey.

Fun fact about yourself?

As a Filipino American, I’m fluent in Tagalog.

Your favorite ways to pray?

Centering prayer and art (such as water colors, knitting, mandalas, and word art).

Most fun you’ve had with your community?

Canoeing the Wabash River with sisters in formation and attending with my sisters a Simbang Gabi Mass and reception with the local Filipino community. [Simbang Gabi is a Filipino Christmas tradition.]




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