My Journey to the Columban Lay Mission

by Jenanydel Nola
Columban Lay Missionary

Before joining the Columban Lay Mission (CLM) I was working at the Notre Dame Business Resource Center (NDBRC) - Maitum as Daycare Worker and Community Organizer. I had a beautiful, inspiring, caring, understanding and loving family there.

It has always been my desire to serve God but in the other part of me I thought too about giving priority to the needs of my family, to be with my community and to be of help to my tribe because here in Maitum I am the first T’boli scholar of Bro. Robert B. McGovern to finish college. Yes, it has been my dream to finish my studies and to be with my people.  When my dream of finishing college was granted, I thought it was the end of my journey and I could already be with my family, community and my tribe. But I realized that there was a part of me which hinders me to laugh, talk about and face challenges freely and naturally.
With proud and beaming Bro. Robert McGovern
In December 2010, I was invited by a lovely nun named Pelenatita Petelo SMSM, a former Columban Lay Missionary, to attend an orientation about the Columban Lay Mission and I did. It was my first time to hear about the Columban Lay Missionaries. There were 5 of us who attended if I am not mistaken. This orientation reminded me again of my desire to give myself and to work with God’s mission. From then on, I discerned, listened to what I have been feeling and offered these to God through prayers. It took me 2 years before I decided to send my application. I started my journey with Columban Lay Missionary Ate Auring LuceƱo.  I joined weekend reflections and different workshops, and went through the CLM assessment exam and interview.
In April 2013, I was accepted to be part of the ten months Orientation Program but that doesn’t mean I was already accepted to go on mission. As part of the orientation program, my companions and I were sent to the Institute of Formation and Religious Studies, Cubao, Quezon City for formal studies. Along with this, I had my apostolate at Kuya Center Foundation working with street children and elderly women living under the Marikina Bridge. Once a week I went to visit them, to play, tutor and also to be with the elderly women. Aside from formal studies and apostolate, we had modular classes and exposures to different ministries.  The orientation also provided different support structures like personal companion and spiritual direction. On the first week of October 2013, we started with the ten weeks Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at National Kidney Hospital, Quezon City as Chaplains.  It was a challenging yet a wonderful journey within myself. It helped me to know better and go deeper within myself.  After the ten weeks journeying within myself,  midpoint assessment followed.
After 6 months, I went home for Christmas vacation.
Mindanao Exposure: Team mates Luda and Jenanydel
Before the final evaluation, we were sent to Mindanao and the Visayas for 45 days exposure. These were very beautiful, inspiring and sustaining experiences especially being with the people who are willing to give themselves for others even at the expense of their lives. It was a grace from God to be with the Subanen Tribe in Midsalip,  Zamboanga del Sur and in Ozamis, Misamis Oriental and experience life living with our Maranao brothers and sisters in Marawi City. My team mate Luda Egbalic and I also exchanged visit to our families. Aside from those places mentioned above, we also visited places where Columban priests and sisters work.  All these guided me to follow without hesitation and fear the way where I am suppose to be despite the challenges that came.  And the last part of the orientation was the final evaluation.
The ten months orientation was a big help in part for my discernment process. It was a way of God for me to be in this orientation. It helped me grow as His loving child. God has been continuously showering me with His love and graces. He never fails to send many good people to journey with me and be a better and blooming JENANYDEL NOLA.
Thank you very much to my family, to the NDBRCFI, Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, my Columban family, teachers and friends for having you in my life and for being part of my journey.

Jenanydel Nola (R) and family

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