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placeholder August 11, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 14   •   Oakland, CA

Sister Gloria, center, with Rev. Francisco Vicente, OP, and two members of her religious order, the Dominicans of Christian Doctrine.

When a vocation calls
Young woman from Antioch professes first vows

The Holy Rosary Parish community in Antioch could not be happier. One of its daughters, Gloria Karina Gutierrez, has decided to devote her life to the Lord.

On July 5, she professed her first vows of obedience, chastity and poverty to become a sister of the Dominicans of Christian Doctrine.

Sister Gloria realized her vocation was born after the Sisters of the parish invited her to experience a mission in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, during Easter 2011.

"The Lord opened my eyes to a world where there is much need. Its realities impacted me and God came into my life," said Sister Gloria through an interview call from a convent in Chaparral, New Mexico, where she is in her novitiate.

Sister Gloria was born in Los Angeles and moved to Antioch as a 3 year old. Thanks to the Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults, RCIA, program, her mother was baptized and confirmed here. Her parents were married in the church. Sister Gloria's first connection to Holy Rosary Parish was at the age of 9, when her mother enrolled her in catechism. She made her first Communion in 2000 and she has never left the parish.

She belonged to the parish youth group and was an altar server and a catechist.

"You will not get friends like the ones you make here anywhere else. I grew and they became my family. It is a close-knit and friendly community," said the 24-year-old novice.

She began her higher education at Los Medanos Community College in Pittsburg, taking classes in general education and art, because she likes to draw.

She was preparing to transfer to the university in summer 2011, but God had other plans for her – she went into the convent.

Three months after that first mission in Juarez, the Sisters invited her to experience another mission in Chihuahua, Mexico.

"There I felt something stronger, very big," Sister Gloria said.

While on this mission she got to know three girls who would be entering the novitiate. "I was emotional seeing them the night before my return. I told the Sisters I wanted to stay.

"It was an impulse and the Sisters asked me to call my parents and the superior provincial. I talked to my mom and told her I wanted to be a nun. She cried and told me: 'Child, be happy!'."

The charism of the Dominican Sisters of the Christian Doctrine is to evangelize and catechize the poorest families in missions and socio-educational work. It's what Sister Gloria loves.

"I love it because I will work with families to strengthen them and help them excel in life. My family is my pillar of human values and they motivate me to be better," she said.

Her mother, Oralia, recalled Gloria's commitment to the Church since childhood.

"She was a good girl, never interested in fashion or anything material. I see that this is her vocation."

Oralia Gutierrez comes from an evangelical Christian family and started attending the Catholic Church because someone asked her if her children attended catechism.

"I did not know what it was, but I decided to bring them to class. I was listening out of curiosity, and one day I asked if there were adult classes.

"So I fell in love with the word of God," said Oralia Gutierrez, who is now a catechist with her husband, Celso.

Sister Gloria traveled from New Mexico to Antioch for a day to profess vows in her home parish. In a ceremony described as beautiful and festive, Sister Gloria was accompanied by her parents to the altar.

Father Francisco Vicente, OP, was the principal celebrant and Father David Bello, OP, concelebrant.

"I am very happy!" Sister Gloria said. "Everything that is happening to me is the work of God."

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