Maryknoll, NY – Sisters Abby Avelino, Anastasia Lee and Julia Shideler will make their final vows as Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic at a Mass on Sunday, September 28, 2014, at Annunciation Chapel, Maryknoll Sisters Center. Watch the liturgy live beginning at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
A Filipina from the Los Angeles Archdiocese, Sister Abby was born in Tanauan City, Philippines. She holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Calamba, Philippines. She also received training as a Quality Assurance Auditor in Manila. She immigrated to the U.S. in 2000 and worked for JTL Precision Machining and Waltco Engineering, both in Gardena, CA.
Sister Abby entered the Maryknoll Sisters in NY in August 2006 from St. Philomena parish in Carson, CA, attracted, she said, by their down-to-earth, humble attitude of service in mission in many countries all over the world.
Prior to her choosing religious missionary life, Sister Abby was a member of the Los Angeles Maryknoll Affiliate chapter. She visited the Maryknoll Sisters retirement house in Monrovia, CA getting to know the Sisters with their rich experiences in mission.
Following her first vows in 2008, Sister Abby was sent to Japan where she has worked with migrant families from the Philippines for the past six years.
Born in Seoul, Korea, Sister Anastasia was attracted to Africa from an early age and dreamed of being a missionary there. After graduating from University, she taught English for 10 years. In 1999, she became a Catholic and began thinking of combining religious life with that of a missionary. While searching the internet for missionary groups, she came upon the Maryknoll Sisters website. The importance they placed on living in community, combined with the types of work they did and their openness to receiving women from many different nations into their congregation, stirred her to apply.
Sister Anastasia joined the Maryknoll Sisters in 2005 at Maryknoll, NY. After being trained in Chicago, she took her first vows at Maryknoll, August 12, 2007, and was sent to join the Maryknoll Sisters Peacebuilding Team in Kenya, in East Africa, where she has served for the past seven years.
Born in Oakland, CA, Sister Julia entered Maryknoll Sisters on August 14, 2005, from Assumption Roman Catholic Church in Bellingham, WA, and has spent the last six years of her life serving the economically poor in East Timor, a half-island nation just north of Darwin, Australia.
Baptized Catholic at the Newman Center in Berkeley, she spent her early years at St. Augustine’s Parish in Spokane. When she was in second grade, her parents left the Catholic Church and joined the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Spokane. She received Unitarian Religious Education throughout high school and integrated Unitarian values and a commitment to spirituality and justice.
Moving to Orcas Island, WA, in 1997, Julia began searching for deeper understanding and a more personal relationship with God. She went for a cultural “work-exchange” in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she gave English and French lessons in a private school and lived with a family. Her three-month live-in with a devoted Catholic family prompted her to reflect on her faith and the personal meaning of her baptism. It also gave her a greater desire for cross-cultural work.
In college, Julia realized she was not satisfied with the Unitarian Fellowship she had joined in Bellingham. At Western Washington University, she began exploring her Catholic roots. She attended some Campus Ministry masses at the Shalom Center that touched her deeply.
Within a year she decided to return to the Catholic Church and joined St. Anne’s Parish in Spokane in 2000. It was there she began to hear a call to Religious life. Sr. Alice Ann Byrne O.P., a Sister at the parish, was the only one she could talk to about her sense of calling. At the time she was preparing for a trip to Cote d’Ivoire with Whatcom College. The local parish she joined in Grand Bassam for three months gave her a wider sense of the universal Church and nurtured her desire for mission.
Graduating from WWU in 2002 with a degree in Spanish, she moved back to Orcas Island to continue discerning her call to Religious life. She joined St. Francis Church of the San Juan Islands. This grace-filled time helped her clarify the Spirit’s guidance of her life and she chose to join Maryknoll.
To further discern her call to Mission and to Maryknoll, Julia went to live in Korea. She taught English for a year in Suwon and got to know the Maryknoll Sisters community. In 2004, she spent four months with a Maryknoll Community in Majuro, Marshall Islands Republic (in the Pacific) for a live-in experience. Julia entered the Maryknoll Sisters in 2005, spending her Orientation Program in Chicago with a multicultural community. Her experience of prayer, community life and ministry during her novitiate was a powerful and transformative experience, which prepared her to live as a Sister in service to God’s mission.