Camaraderie at its best: Profile of Sister Kristine Fernandes, C.S.J.

Tech advertising professional Kristine Fernandes had a good life already when she pulled up a chair in a Toronto pub one night, hoping to widen her circle of friends at a Theology on Tap event. “Instead I got picked up by a sister,” she jokes. The meeting triggered “an inexplicable curiosity about religious life and the Sisters of St. Joseph.” She kept meeting with the sisters, telling them each time: “Religious life is not for me and I’m not interested in becoming a sister, but . . .” And so it began.

Sister Kristine Fernandes, C.S.J.

(Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Fontbonne Ministries, Toronto, Ontario)

What were your growing-up years like?

I’m a cradle Catholic. I grew up in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood in Mumbai, India and immigrated to Toronto, Canada in my late 20s. I have a large, close-knit extended family that now lives in different parts of the world; however, growing up we all lived in the same neighborhood.

What’s your favorite part of your current ministry?

I’m a part of the mission integration team at Fontbonne Ministries in Toronto, a community service organization. We are supported by a large group of volunteers, and I love our camaraderie.

Any nicknames?

Friends have started calling me Sis Kris.

How did people respond when you entered?

My family and friends were astonished at first and had lots of questions. After we spoke, they were very supportive and encouraging.

What do you like about living in community?

There is a significant age difference between me and the sisters in my house, but we are aligned in our values and outlook. Our dinner conversations and their deep listening give me an opportunity to unpack my ministry experiences.

What gives you hope about religious life?

I find hope in how my unexpected vocation call unfolded. I was busy living my life, but God had other plans for me. Throughout my discernment, God reached out to me in unconventional ways.




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