Sister Virginia Fabella

Sister Virginia FabellaCurrent Ministry Location: Maryknoll Sisters Center-Maryknoll, NY

Sister Virginia is a well-respected theologian, writer and editor of various publications. Sister Virginia Fabella, was born to Carmen J. DeJesus Fabella and Vincente Fabella May 1st, 1928 in Manila, Philippines.

Sister Virginia graduated in 1946 from Assumption Convent in Manila and received a Bachelor of Science & Mathematics degree from Mt. St. Vincent College, New York in 1950. Sister Virginia was a high school teacher and college instructor at Jose Rizal College (now Jose Rizal University) in Mandaluyong, Philippines for two years before entering the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation in NY on September 2nd, 1952.

Sister Virginia’s first assignment was to the Philippines in 1955 where she taught at both high school and college levels as well as serving as Registrar at Maryknoll College (now Miriam College) in Quezon City. In 1963, she received her Master of Arts in Education from the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City. She was assigned to the Bolivia-Peru Region in 1965 and was catechetical supervisor of the parish school in Guayaramerin, Bolivia, and later Director of Santa Rosa School in Lima, Peru.

In 1970, she returned to NY and was named Director of the Maryknoll Mission Institute at the Sisters Center. In 1976, she was assigned to the Eastern U.S. Region where she helped prepare the Theology in the Americas conference in Detroit, and later served in New York as Program Coordinator for the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT).

She received her M.A. in Religious Studies in 1980 from the Maryknoll Society School of Theology. In 1982, Sister Virginia returned to the Philippines to become Secretary, and later as Asia Coordinator for EATWOT.

Returning to the US, Sister Virginia received a Certificate in Pastoral Studies from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago in 1988 and her Ph.D. as Doctor of Ministry in Women’s Studies in 1993 from the San Francisco Theological Seminary. Her dissertation was “The Development of Women’s Theological Consciousness within the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians,” which was later published as a book entitled “Beyond Bonding.”

Later, back in the Philippines, Sister served as Dean of the Institute of Formation and Religious Studies and was on the Editorial Advisory Committee of In God’s Image, the official journal of the Asian Women’s Resource Centre for Culture and Theology, published in Kuala Lumpur.  She also gave significant addresses and lectures regarding ecumenism, theology, culture and mission in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States.

Sister Virginia has worked to help women, many poor among them, to achieve something more in life than mere existence in inhuman circumstances. In recent years she has been actively engaged in addressing ecological-environmental issues, acting as Director of the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary in Baguio, Philippines. After serving as a global missioner for more than 60 years, Sister Virginia returned to Maryknoll Sisters Center in 2018, remaining dedicated to the work of whole-making and building the One Earth Community.