Sister Patricia Phillips, S.H.C.J.
Sr. Patricia Phillips, a Sister of the Holy Child Jesus, was born in Hannibal, Missouri—like Mark Twain! She received her education in Waukegan, Illinois, where she came to know the Sisters and was attracted to the Community by their joyful spirit and hospitality.
Professed in 1958, Sr. Pat has held many responsibilities in her religious order, all carried out faithfully, but also with a delight in life.
A quote that has guided her is “For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what you have done.” (Ps. 92:4)
Sr. Pat was an all-around educator. Her first teaching assignment was to St. Anastasia in Waukegan where she had graduated from Holy Child High School. She spent 12 years at Rye, New York teaching and serving as principal. At Connelly in Anaheim, Calif. Sr. Pat was again principal and then had a renewing year in Rome at Regina Mundi College.
For the next 15 years Sr. Pat served her Sisters—as province councilor and later as province treasurer. For the seven years after that, she was International Treasurer of the Order.
A movie buff, assessing current films for SHCJ, Sr. Pat officially entered the world of communications in 2007 when she moved back to California to become the Executive Director of Wordnet Productions, the TV ministry founded by the late Father Mike Manning, SVD. Wordnet produces many different types of shows that have been aired nationally and internationally.
Sr. Pat does a short reflection on the daily Mass readings about three times a month on Wordnet’s daily app—iGod today.
Sixty years ago, Sr. Pat says she never would have dreamed that she would be doing this ministry today.
Since coming to the San Bernardino Diocese, Sr. Pat has for several years been a member of the Council for Religious, always having the wellbeing of the Religious and the Vision of the Diocese in mind and heart, as well as the charism of her Order: “To rejoice in God’s presence and to help people believe that God lives and acts in them and in our world.”
Sister Philia Onkokwo, D.M.M.M.
“I rejoiced when I heard them say, Let us go to the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122).
As a child I grew up in a family of ten children. My parents, the late Sir Gabriel and Lady Grace Okonkwo (KSM), were very dedicated Catholics and raised us in the knowledge and love of God.
My mother always took me and my siblings to many church programs and activities like—daily Mass, the weekly program of St. Anthony of Padua’s Guild and Legion of Mary prayer meetings.
I was also privileged to attend Daughters of Divine Love Juniorate, a high school established by DDL Sisters of Nigeria at Enugu, Nigeria for the training and education of young girls who are discerning their vocation to a religious life.
My parents were also devoted to caring for the hungry, the abandoned, the sick and the very poorest of the poor in our local community. My siblings and I joined them in this ministry. We helped them fetch water, clean their houses and make their food.
The charism of my Congregation, the Daughters of Mary Mother of Mercy, is “Witnessing to the Mercy of God” in the spirit of charity, humility, prayer, penance and abandonment to the will of God.
I joined my community as a candidate in September 1990. I successfully passed through their training and professed my First Religious Vows on September 11, 1993 at Christ the King Catholic Cathedral Aba, Abia State of Nigeria. I professed my Perpetual Vows on June 21, 2000.
I continue to serve God through my Congregation in many capacities of Catholic education, including: Principal, St Theresa Catholic School Afara-Umuahia Nigeria; Principal, Daughters of Mary Mother of Mercy High School Sheria, Nigeria; Religious Education Teacher, St. John Vianney School (Wyoming, Michigan). I currently serve as Ethics Teacher at Aquinas High School.
To God be the glory for these 25 years of dedicated service in the Lord’s vineyard.