JUANITA, APOSTOLIC SISTER
name is Sr. Juanita Camacho Labato and I am a Good
Shepherd Sister from Guanajuato, Mexico. I am the second
youngest of five children, 3 sisters and 1 brother.
not quite sure what provoked me to think about becoming
a sister but I feel that my family and parish environment
had a lot to do with it.
my childhood, I witnessed my mother in her dedication
to serving those who were less fortunate and in particular
need. I grew up in a neighborhood in Guanajuato which
is very poor. My mother, a nurse, was very involved in
working with women in the neighborhood who were suffering
from various physical illnesses. My mother was also involved
in teaching people in poor rural areas first aid and catechism.
So service has always been a part of my experience. I
was taught, through the example of my mother, to care
for others. I was fortunate to sometimes accompany my
mother to these rural villages.
family was also very fortunate to be in a parish that
was vibrant and alive. There were about five priests
and seven or eight seminarians at my parish, La Compania
de Jesus. It is a Jesuit parish that is about two hundred
years old. There were young priests as well as older
priests there and they seemed so alive and happy. I
think that they really had an influence on me. Thatâ€™s
when I began to think about religious life. I was 14
Call To Religious Life
At age 17 I began to think about religious life again.
I decided to take a semester off from school. I would
accompany my mother who was visiting the sick. It was
at this time that I got to know Sr. Rose Virginia, a Good
Shepherd Sister. She invited me to attend a reflection
group for young girls who were trying to discover their
place in the world (their vocation). I did not feel obligated
to become a nun because I attended these meetings. In
fact the meetings were not focused on only becoming a
sister, but more importantly on discovering what it was
that God was calling you to do and to become.
There was something about Good Shepherd I found myself
being drawn toward. I would visit the sisters during the
summer and on vacation. I wanted to know how they lived
and what they did. I found them to be women who lived
in harmony with one another, and who really loved what
they did and their life-style. They were so happy. I had
many of my best times when I was visiting them. There
were 12 sisters who ran a school for farmers children.
I would pray with them, go to the market with them and
participate in their life.
sister in particular was a great help to me in my discernment
process regarding Good Shepherd. Sr. Aurora took an interest
in me, and my family. In my culture it is very important
to include the family in this process too. Sr. Aurora
was a very good listener. She helped me to get in touch
with my own deep desires. After two years of attending
the discernment meetings I felt like I really wanted to
find my place in this world. I wanted to commit myself
to something. I did not want to let life just go by. I
told Sr. Aurora all of this and she suggested that I participate
on a two week discernment retreat.
Call Gets Stronger
On Sr. Auroraâ€™s recommendation I participated in
the two-week vocation discernment retreat. This experience
was unforgettable. The focus was on ‘Where is God
calling you?â€™ We talked about the world reality
and learned that whatever your vocation in life, you need
to be part of the building up of Godâ€™s Kingdom.
This is everyoneâ€™s ultimate call. This really spoke
to my heart!
was during this retreat that I decided to enter Good
Shepherd. I put myself in Godâ€™s hands and was
totally open to whatever God wanted for me. I felt
this time was so special. A real gift. A desert experience.
God led me into the desert and it was there that God
spoke to my heart. I felt very free.
Sr. Juanita Today
Since entering the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in 1992,
I have been involved in various ministries in Mexico as
well as in El Paso, Texas. As a Good Shepherd Sister our
mission is to follow after Jesus, the Good Shepherd ~
leaving the 99 grazing on the hillside in search of the
one in need.
Juanita made her final vows on January 11, 2020 in Guanajuato,
Mexico - her home town at Compania Parish.