Sister Jenada Fanetti, SDS was born one of ten children in Chippewa Falls, Wis. She recalls her faith-filled family life saying, “Being raised on a dairy farm, we relied on God for every aspect of our life. We had a close connection with our Church and the earth. God carried us through the hard times and gratitude for the simple things in life was fostered in our large family. We were taught by example to open our hearts and homes to others.”
Sr. Jenada has been opening her heart to others for many years. Witnessing her compassionate outreach to people in need, her pastor at St. Isidore Parish in Mt. Calvary, Wis. nominated her for Milwaukee’s Archdiocesan Vatican II Award for Service to the Church, which she received in 2014.
Sr. Jenada has been a member of the Sisters of the Divine Savior Congregation for 58 years, and has served 17 years at St. Isidore. She previously served as director of religious education there, and now as pastoral care minister, she reaches out to poor and homebound members of the community. She enjoys cooking and sharing a meal with them, and asking them to help her crochet prayer shawls for those who are near death. Many St. Isidore families have experienced Sr. Jenada’s compassion in their times of need.
Sr. Jenada formerly served as director of religious education for three parishes in the Mount Calvary area. She recalls her vibrant ministry preparing prayer services for the children and teens; organizing service experiences for youth; planning retreats; presenting Sacramental enrichment sessions for parents, children and teens in preparation for Eucharist, Reconciliation and Confirmation; and recruiting teachers and helping them to enrich their own ministry in religious education.
In every one of her ministries, Sr. Jenada says, she cherishes her connection to the people—in their joys and sorrows—as they face life with a strong faith. “My goal is to help people and families form deeper relationships with God.”
Sr. Jenada taught for thirty years in elementary schools in Maryland and Wisconsin, and later served as vocation director for the Sisters of the Divine Savior. She sums up her journey in religious life as an abundance of blessings.
“It has led me to paths I could never have dreamed. Being part of an international congregation has expanded my vision, and called me to use my gifts and talents in remarkable ways. My heart is filled with deep gratitude for God’s faithfulness and the abundant blessing I have experienced. I would advise anyone seriously considering a call to vowed life, ‘Take the leap of faith and abundance will overflow in your life.’ ”