MARYKNOLL, NY — Sister Jocelyn Fenix, MM, recently named co-formator of Maryknoll Sisters Formation Program in Chicago, IL, will celebrate 25 years with Maryknoll Sisters with a special Mass at 10:30 a.m. of June 22 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center.
Born in Manila, Philippines, Sister Joji, as she is familiarly known by others in her congregation, is a graduate of the University of East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, Philippines, where she received her degree as a Doctor of Medicine in 1985.
Sister Joji entered Maryknoll at their residence in Newburgh, NY, on August 26, 1989, and made her final vows in the Philippines on May 15, 1999. She is also a graduate of the University of the Philippines, Quezon City, where she received a BS in psychology in 1979.
Before entering Maryknoll, Sister Joji served from 1986-1987 as a consultant for the Philippines Ministry of Health on its one-year study/evaluation of its primary health care program. There she worked with a team of other physicians and social workers making recommendations to the then new president, Corazon Aquino, for better collaboration between governmental and non-governmental sectors in its’ program implementation.
In 1987, as part of her admissions process with the congregation, Sister Joji lived and worked with Maryknoll Sisters in the Diocese of Ipil, Zamboanga del Sur, in the southern part of the Philippines, in their Primary Health Care Program, training barefoot doctors and health promoters in very poor rural villages. On her return to the Manila in 1988, she was asked to join in the Jesuits’ Center for Community Services as one of the co-coordinators of the Likas (Lingap sa Kalusugan ng Sambayanan) or People’s Health Care Program Office. The office conducted trainings, both in rural and urban areas, of community-based health promoters and helped initiate a generic drugs promotion among various health non-governmental organizations.
Following a brief period spent working in the congregation’s direct mail office, Sister Joji was assigned to Panama, where she served 24 communities located within the vicariate of Darien. There she engaged in pastoral ministry, holistic health promotion and care as a support team member in the promotion of organic farming techniques, and small project administration at the Santa Fe Pastoral Center.
Sister Joji also started a small savings and loan association to help local farmers develop their own integrated family farms, including collecting and cultivating medicinal plants that later formed part of a project and a small group to process and commercialize some of them into herbal teas, soaps, salves, etc. that is now independent but still in existence.
Sister Joji was also involved in doing leadership training and sponsoring popular art and theatre workshops for children and youth in the area.
Founded in 1912, Maryknoll Sisters is the first US-based congregation of women religious dedicated to foreign mission. Working primarily among the poor and marginalized in 26 countries around the world, they now number nearly 500 members from both the US and overseas. (PR)