Sr. Jessica Kerber
Sr. Jessica Kerber is second from left.

“The only thing constant is change.” Heraclitus

Well, maybe not the only thing. Hope can be constant…desire for more can be constant (or at least we hope it is!). Yet that desire for more will demand change…in one form or another. The other way of thinking about this is this: in order for the good to remain good, it must develop…it must change.

There is a lot of consistency at St. Raphaela Center that spans back across 60 years of Handmaid ministry: essentially, the desire to do everything possible so that others may experience the Love of God. But this constant desire and mission requires that the hows develop.

Sr. Jessica Kerber, acj, the new director of the Center, hopes to help the hows of the ministry develop so that the good can remain good. She entered as a Handmaid 10 years ago after serving with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and meeting the Sisters on a mission trip in El Salvador. She comes to the retreat center after two years as DRE at the Handmaids’ school community, Ancillae-Assumpta Academy, and prior to that completed her theology degree at the Jesuit University in Madrid. Since returning to Philadelphia she has been involved with campus ministry at St. Joseph University, spiritual direction particularly among young adults, and is an adjunct theology professor at Villanova.

Together with the Sisters and staff of St. Raphaela Center, she looks to continue a long tradition: that the Center continue to be a “place and time to encounter God,” continuing to minister to long-time friends and retreatants, as well as reaching out to others desiring such an encounter. The “new” will be offered according to the “established” spirituality and charism of the Handmaids: the Eucharist (the place of inclusion) and Reparation (God’s healing work in ourselves and for the world). Watch for more to come regarding these dimensions!

St. Raphaela Retreat Center

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