Whittaker, S.P.ministers as a medicaldoctor in Indianapolisand belongs to theSisters of Providence,Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.
agency. Sometimes the formationexperience itself illuminates newinterests or aptitudes throughopportunities for growth in self-knowledge.
Many occupations can be putto good use for the sake of theKingdom. What could God do withyours? =
A version of this article originallyappeared in VISION 2015. RELATEDARTICLE: VocationNetwork.org, “Thecreative spirit finds expression inreligious ministries.”
Sister Janet Gildea, S.C. first met he Sisters of Charity whenattending the College of MountSt. Joseph in Cincinnati in 1974.
During her years at the Mount, sheexperienced the hospitality of theSisters in sharing opportunitiesfor spiritual growth and friendshipwhile also discerning God’s call.
The [plan] was to continue herstudies in preparation for serviceas a physician, but hand-in-handcame the invitation to vowed lifeas a Sister of Charity. Janet enteredthe Congregation in 1982, and thatsame year graduated from IndianaUniversity’s School of Medicine.
Janet’s ministries included 35years of medical service to the poorin Kentucky, New Mexico, Texas,and Anapra, Mexico. In 1991 Janetbecame medical director at SanVicente Clinic near El Paso, Texas,and four years later she co-foundedLa Clinica Guadalupana for familiesliving in desperate poverty on bothsides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
This ministry expanded to providemuch-needed assistance for childrenwith special needs through the SantoNiño Project in Anapra, Mexico.
She would remain at the borderthe remainder of her life, learningfrom the people about perseverance,courage, creativity, and celebration.
As Janet explained, “They gave meOur Lady of Guadalupe and taughtme to experience the gospel fromthe perspective of God’s favoritepeople—the poor. Serving her mostbeloved children I am learninglessons of compassion, advocacy,accompaniment, and radicaldependence on God.”
Helping youngwomen pursue their call
Another aspect of the call to religiouslife for Janet was the desire to helpother young women pursue a call to
Remembering Sister Janet
A perfect blend of career and vocation
service that could also include a call
to vowed life. She saw great value
in the outreach-service component
that young people offer the world in
their desire to make it a better place.
To add to their contributions sheand initial formation/vocation teamsin the Sisters of Charity Federationeventually [established] a programfor young women returning fromvolunteer mission experiences aftercollege. The program, known as AVE(After Volunteer Experience) offersparticipants the opportunity tolive in community, receive spiritualdirection, career and individualcounseling, and take time to discernthe “what to do next” with their lives.
Learn more at srcharitycinti.org/join-our-mission/ave-2/.
Janet’s own words speak of thewoman she was and the passion shefelt for religious life today: “There areso many needs for which religiouswomen are uniquely positioned torespond. For those who desire toserve Jesus in the poor, to deepentheir relationship with God, and tolive in a community of faith, beinga sister is a wonderful option and agreat adventure.”
Excerpted with permission fromsrcharitycinti.org/2019/04/30/s-janet-gildea/.
GILDEA (right) provides medical careto a child with special needs at theclinic she founded in Anapra, Mexico.