Although Sr. Bernadette is now the only John Paul II sister, she said that she is in contact with several other women who are interested in joining the community.
Currently, Sr. Bernadette is living in Washington, D.C., where she has been sent to study at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences for two years. She explained that she is in a program that integrates psychology, philosophy and theology with the intent of gaining a fuller understanding of the human person in order to better evangelize and form people in the way that John Paul II did.
Sr. Bernadette said her own initial encounters with John Paul II took place through other people. She said that she was particularly struck by the stories and pictures of her friends who had gone to Rome for World Youth Day in 2000.
She was impressed by the Pope’s way of “personally relating to people and being present with them and bringing Christ to them in such a relevant, tangible way.”
At the time, Sr. Bernadette was returning to her faith. She said that her encounters with the Pope through her friends helped her to “experience Christ” and grow deeper in her faith.
As she learned more about John Paul II, she realized that she was drawn toward his “thought and his way of doing things” and wanted to spend her whole life shaping and forming people in the way that he did.
When Sr. Bernadette met John Paul II in 2004, her appreciation for him was already strong.
She spoke of the incredible experience of simply seeing “his way of being with others and with God.”
At the Pope’s beatification on May 1, 2011, Sr. Bernadette read the second reading.
She believes that the legacy of Pope John Paul II will reach far into the future of the Church.
“I think it will completely revolutionize the way the Church does everything,” she said.
“I know that’s a really bold statement,” she added, explaining that she believes that people have only begun to understand “the gift that the Church received through John Paul II.”
More information about the Missionaries of the Gospel can be found at: http://www.mg.org.au
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