Sister Nena Heramil

Current Ministry Location: Panama

Sister Nena was born November 27th, 1963 to Adelaida (Barriga) Heramil and Apolinar Dela Calzada Heramil. She and her three brothers and three sisters were born and raised in Island Garden City on the small island of Samal in the Southern Philippines. Sister Nena graduated from Assumption Academy High School in 1980.

In 1985, Sister Nena entered a local religious Congregation, the Teresian Daughters of Mary, where she enjoyed twenty five years of community and mission life; working mostly as a school administrator. Then she found herself heeding another call, one to work directly with people especially within a cross-cultural context. After meeting several Maryknoll Sisters, Sister Nena felt a particular attraction towards the Maryknoll Sisters missionary spirit – making God’s love visible everywhere and throughout all of creation. In 2010, after much discernment, experiencing joy and pain, loss and hopeful anticipation, she requested a transfer from the Teresian Daughters of Mary to the Maryknoll Sisters. She was accepted by the Congregation April 5th, 2011 in the Philippines.

At the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY, Sister Nena signed an Associate Maryknoll Sister contract January 5th, 2012 and began the Transfer process June 1st, 2013. The Transfer process was complete and she made her Final Incorporation of Vows June 14th, 2015. At that time she received her first overseas assignment to Bolivia, there she worked in an after-school program for at-risk children.

In 2016, Sister Nena was assigned to Panama. After several months of orientation to the new culture and people, she chose a ministry working with a social action group at a local parish. She is involved in several different “social action” projects the group performs to help those in need. Currently, Sister Nena is providing support and guidance to the parish volunteers who need help figuring out what “social action” tasks would be best for them to address. She is inspired by the dedication and commitment of the volunteers and considers it a privilege to engender trust among the people she helps.

Every week Sister Nena accompanies two health volunteers to visit home bound parishioners; she finds it heartwarming to mutually enjoy one another through prayer and song. Twice per month, Sister Nena helps with a food distribution program for families who depend on these supplies to survive. She also provides assistance with a housing project, she helps evaluate families in need of housing and provides material support.