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Meet Sr. Jean Marie Guokas...

How do you summarize 60 years plus 3 years in formation as a Religious Sister? Many times I have been asked to describe my life. My answer has always been the same: "Would not want one thing to change." People that weave in & out of my life, all the ups & downs have, helped me experience a fullness of life. I hope they have made me a stronger, faithful servant of the Lord. I am all keyed up with the anticipation of Celebrating my 60th Anniversary of Religious Profession in July 2009. Come back and check our site for more details about it later.

My present ministry assignment is serving as the DRE (Director of Religious Education) at SVDP (St. Vincent de Paul) - now in my 12th year. This assignment has broadened my understanding of the church, both post and pre Vatican Council II. 

I served as the "CEO" (Superior General) of our Congregation for 8 yrs ('86-'94) and as a councilor for the 8 years previous. Being Superior offered opportunities to travel to several countries such as: Guatamela  where we had a Mission in the city of Huehuetenango; a Pilgrimage to Medjarogie; French cities such as Lyons, Belmont, Avignon & the Chateau where our Foundress, Venerable Jeanne de Matel was born (each have played a significant part in the founding roots of our Houston Community and especially our Incarnational Spirituality). I joined 3 other U.S. Superiors to travel the African cities of Kenya, Nairobi and even a Swahili Village. Finally, I attended two International Reunions of Major Superiors from all over the world in Rome. These two visits gave me the opportunity to actually meet Mother Teresa of Calcutta (who sat next to me & being the table moderator I had to ask her to let the other sisters give their input on the questions; and the group was privileged to have a private audience with His Holiness, Pope John Paul II.

My first experience with parish life started in LaPorte where I was the DRE & Assistant Pastoral Administrator for three years. I was there when the fatal NASA disaster occurred in 1986. I remember adapting some of the   material about the teacher who died, Krista McAuliffe, in my reflections when we had to address the community for the election of Superior in 1986. Before this my early years were involved in elementary education in Baytown, Bryan & Houston (1948-1955). In September 1955, I found myself teaching science and math at IWA; transferred to Port Arthur for my 1st experience of teaching boys in high school. In 1964 I returned to IWA, my Alma Mater, to serve as principal until 1978. I have set a few records there -- the longest serving principal (14yrs), first Sister to serve as President (1yr), and as Development Director (3yrs).

So what background was provided to me by the Congregation? BS & Masters of Religious Education - University of St.Thomas (UST); Masters of Education & Counselor Certification - University of Houston (UH), Spiritual Direction Institute - UST. As an update for my DRE work, I took the BFCL in '97; and I was a member of the 1st Graduating Class of the Catechetical Leadership Institute in 2002.

Now a little personal information about myself: A native Houstonian, youngest of three children, brother died when I was celebrating my 50th Profession - (I was not able to attend... guess the reason why I am looking forward to my 60th). I attended a Catholic High School for girls, entered the convent at the end of my 10th grade at age 15 going on 16 (this doesn't happen any more). High school graduation in the convent with my regular 1948 class - now celebrating our 61st year of graduation. I usually handle getting the group together for our annual noon luncheon.

Some extra activities very significant to me: Server as a counselor for the Foreign Study League for 4 yrs (responsible for 8 students spending the summer in Europe; became the Administrator of the program for 4 yrs.(responsible for the total group). This gave me the opportunity to visit London & other England towns; France & many surrounding cities; visited Holland/Austria/Germany; Italy with emphasis on Rome & other places of historical & religious interest; even to Spain for a Flamingo, Teresa of Avila & Greece to visit the Parthenon and the trip to Delphi for the famous Oracle.

Hope you have enjoyed letting me live my past 60 years with you. Really helped me to see how blessed I have been by my Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ. And I hope my story will in some small way serve as an Extension of the Incarnate Word. "Praised Be the Incarnate Word!"

  My favorite Scripture passage is...

   "God is love, and whoever remains in love
                  remains in God and God in him."

                                                                                        1 John 4:16



  60th Anniversary Celebration of Religious Profession
    July 25, 2009 at Annunciation Church



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