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Zachary Stories

AAPI Stories: Sister Norma Nunez

Sister Norma Nunez was born in the Philippines into a life of service. As the oldest of eight children in a deeply Catholic family, it seems her vocation was official long before she took the formal vow. 

She was 18 years old, enrolled in a Catholic college near home, when she knew without a doubt she was called to a life of service. “There was a hole in my heart that wasn’t filled with my church and my home responsibilities,” Sister Norma explains. “I was yearning to serve the Lord fully and wholeheartedly, not fractionally,” she says. 

Sister Norma is one of the Hospitaller Sisters of Mercy who live among the girls at Metanoia Manor in Zachary and serve as “surrogate mothers” to the young victims of human trafficking. The safe haven was established in 2018, and Sister Norma and four others from her congregation relocated from New Jersey to serve in this mission. 

Over the past five years, Sister Norma and the other nuns have nurtured more than 77 girls, all victims of sex trafficking, on their journey of restoration. Metanoia is now recognized globally and by the Vatican as a gold standard for operating a successful shelter. 

“Diversity makes you rich. Exchange the culture and the ways you do things where you’re from. Have fun with each other. Celebrate your uniqueness. Expand your knowledge.” —Sister Norma Nunez

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