Born in Seoul, Korea, Sister Juana Teresa grew in her Catholic faith by the help and encouragement of her mother and grandmother who were newly introduced to the faith. As new born babies in Christ they are filled with great zeal and love for God. Even as a little child she knew that God had a unique and special plan for her life. Her becoming a Sister was a response of love.
It all began at the family baptism. Helen Chung was three when she was baptized along with her mother, grandparents and infant brother. Even at this age she knew that God had a special and unique plan for her life. Later, when the family moved to Paraguay due to business, her father also sought to be baptized. Her mother’s involvement in the Legion of Mary, and her grandmother’s love for Jesus and Mary helped her to know that God could speak to her, and she could answer, ”I am His.” Following her baptism she developed a close relationship with Jesus.
Helen was ten when the family left Korea for Paraguay. There she attended a convent school. During her first year as a teen she desired to join the convent inspired by some of her friends who were novices. However, her mother saw her daughter’s desire as something that would have to wait, believing her to be too young for this.
Once again the family immigrated; this time to live closer to relatives in Canada. It was difficult for Helen to leave her good friends behind. She finished her last two years of high school at a Catholic school in Toronto, Canada where she received the sacrament of Confirmation. She had another deep and personal encounter with God through the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The loneliness she felt at leaving her friends helped her to seek God even more. Again she felt the desire to become a Sister. She got involved in a youth Charismatic prayer group in her parish and had friends who went to Pentecostal churches.
At age eighteen, Helen attended a Charismatic Conference when she asked the Lord to confirm if He was calling her to a religious vocation, because she felt so unworthy of it. The Lord honored her prayer when Bishop Sam Jacobs, the conference speaker, said in his talk, ”No one is worthy, but it is God who calls us.” When she heard this she wasted no time in responding to his altar call for vocations and knew that it was God who was calling her to be a Sister. She began to follow this call by visiting different religious communities in Canada and the U.S. During this process she learned about our community. In 1991 Helen attended a conference where Mother John Marie was speaking. She fell in love with the way of life she saw lived by our Sisters.
In October of 1992, she came to our community and received the name Sister Juana Teresa when she entered the novitiate in June of 1993. She made her perpetual profession of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in October 2000. She joyfully exclaims, ”It is worth it all to leave all for Him! We must courageously follow God’s will until He reveals Himself.”