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 | By Brittany DeHaan

The Office of Vocations is Growing!

October 24, 2023 | The Office of Vocations just welcomed Sister Sherly Vazhappilly, F.S.S.E. to their team.

Sister Sherly is the new Associate Director of Vocations for the Diocese of St. Petersburg. In addition, bishop Gregory Parkes appointed her to serve as the new Vicar for Religious, effective October, 9, 2023.

This new position as Associate Director of Vocations allows the Office of Vocations to grow in their service to the Diocese in aiding men and women to discern their vocational call. In this role, Sister Sherly will be journeying with women of our diocese who are discerning the religious life. She will also be coordinating discernment opportunities for women as well as being present to college students, young adults, and teens throughout the Diocese.

The Office of Vicar for Religious helps to keep a bond and connection between the Diocese of St. Petersburg and the various communities of men and women Religious within the Diocese. Her position as Vicar for Religious allows her to be a bridge, supporting the different Religious communities in their lives and ministries.

Sister Sherly was born in India and came to the U.S. to continue her religious formation. She first felt an encouragement to find her vocation at a young age.

"When I was in the third grade, my faith formation teacher was the person who planted the seed in my heart for vocations. She was a Carmelite nun and I always wanted to be like her. When I then heard about St. Francis, the Franciscan joy, I knew I wanted to be a sister," said Sister Sherly.  

"As soon as I entered the convent, I was able to say 'this is the place I'm going to be all my life,'" she continued.

She has been a member of her community, the Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, for 32 years. She also spent 25 years working in a variety of teaching capacities, as education is the main apostolate of her community.

Sister Sherly shared that she begins every day with God at the front of her mind.

"When I wake up, I say my Angelus and then I say 'Thank God for the beautiful day.' I say 'Thank you, Lord, for another day to see your beauty,' and then I go on throughout my day." 

She has a deep devotion to developing harmony among others, which was a driving force behind her stepping into these new roles. When asked why she wanted to work for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, she said that she wants “to extend God’s love and mercy as revealed in Jesus Christ to all people.”

The Diocese of St. Petersburg is happy to welcome Sister Sherly into her new positions!

To view a video of Sister Sherly and to learn three fun facts about her, watch the video below.