I am Sr. Juana Gutierrez, the fourth child of Rafael Gutierrez and Rosa Mares. I have three brothers and six sisters, whom I dearly love. I grew up in Ocotlan, Mexico, and I came to the U.S.A. in 1992.
I was very involved with my friends in the youth group at St. Alexander Parish in Cornelius. Through one of my friends, I met Sr. Ina Marie Nosack, SSMO, who encouraged me to make a discernment retreat weekend at the Motherhouse.
In 1996, I moved into the Discernment House of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. During my time in the Discernment House, I began to focus more deeply on the call God was giving me. I became more active in community prayer and community life and also learned English. Gradually, my vocation became clear.
I officially became a novice in August of 1997. These two years were the best of my life up to this point because of the deep prayer life we lived together and the love that the Sisters shared with me.
In 2001, I volunteered with the Hispanic community at St. Anthony Parish in Forest Grove, in preparation for a full-time ministry there. During my eight years there I was blessed to form wonderful relationships with the people there and to understand how God was calling me into service.
After I left St. Anthony’s, I worked with the pre-school children at Valley Catholic Early Learning School and re-discovered my intense love for young children. This led me to go back to college and to get my bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
Presently, I teach third grade at St. John the Baptist. As I look back at my life, I am so very grateful for each of the steps along the way. I trust that the God who has led me thus far, will continue to take me by the hand and lead me wherever He wants.