Xiomara Méndez-Hernández grew
up in a large, close family and had
no intention of joining a religious
community. She had a talent for
fashion design and launched a
career in that field. But after
meeting the Adrian Dominican
Sisters, she couldn’t shake the
thought of living as they did. “It
took me 13 years to listen to that
voice in my heart,” she says. “It
wasn’t easy, but I’m glad I did!”
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Ever had any nicknames?
The day I became a novice one of the
sisters in my community suggested
I change my name to “Sister Mary
Exuberant.” I embrace my “new name,”
as I am from the Dominican Republic,
and I’m an Adrian Dominican sister, so
I’m double Dominican and double joyful!
What first drew you
to religious life?
I heard an Adrian Dominican sister
talking about a close, personal
relationship with God, and her words
echoed in my heart. I met other sisters
from the same community who one day
invited me to their house.
What aspects of their
lives stood out?
They had a passion for truth; they
wanted to share the good news of the
gospel not just with words but through
their lives. I loved how they worked with
the vulnerable and disenfranchised.
What is your current ministry?
As a hospital chaplain in Las Vegas, I
see that every hospitalization is a crisis
of meaning. My main job is to listen,
to offer the compassionate, loving
presence of God to those who suffer.
Every encounter is sacred, and I feel
honored and privileged to be present
with people in this way.
Your favorite way to pray?
Early in the morning when I wake up, I
stay silent to greet God in the new day.
Most fun you’ve ever had
with your community?
Dominicans are well known for being
joyful, and in every major activity we
have in our community or with other
Dominican congregations, we love to
dance. We take it “very seriously”!
Do you have a favorite saint?
Many have inspired me; right now I am
fascinated with Saint Rose de Lima, the
first saint of the American continent. I
have studied her in order to perform her
life at Dominican preaching conferences
and other events.