Sister Mary Juliana (Suzanne) Devoy was born on February 7th 1937, the second of seven siblings. She had a desire to become a Sister in her later years of high school and, after graduation, entered the missionary novitiate of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Los Angeles, CA on 12 September 1954. She made her Final Vows on 20 October 20th, 1960 at the Motherhouse in Angers France.
Sister had always wanted to serve in China. In 1963, she was sent to Hong Kong to serve teenage girls. After completing her Master’s degree in Social Work in the U.S. in 1969, she became Co-ordinator of Pelletier Hall, Hong Kong. This was followed by a period of time as the Far East Province Leader from 1973-1982. At that time, the Far East Province included Hong Kong, Korea, Burma and Thailand
Sister came to Macau in 1988. From 1989 to 1995, she was the Good Shepherd Community Leader. In addition, for ten years, from 1988-98, she served as the Executive Secretary/Counselor for the Macau Catholic Marriage Advisory Council. Sister has also served as the Director of Good Shepherd Center from 1990 to the present.
Sister realized that dormitory service to young girls was no longer suitable to Macau’s needs, but she found that there was a need to care for women and children in different crises. Therefore, after discussing with her Province Leader and Bishop Domingos Lam Ka-tseung, in 1990, “Fatima’s Dormitory for Girls” was changed to Good Shepherd Centre for “women in crisis” – the first centre in Macau helping unmarried mothers, women victims of domestic violence, and women in distress and their children. For the past 30 years up to now, this service has been helping numerous women in need. In 1998, Sister decided to expand the service and set up a Mutual Assistance Centre for Women, helping to provide services for women and children in single-parent families. Sister Juliana has committed her life to advocating for the protection of women and children’s rights, and was awarded the Cameos Day Commemorative Badge in 1997 by the Portuguese Government of Macau, as well as the Medal of Merit – Philanthropy in 2012 by the Macau SAR Government.
In the past, Sister Juliana has been fighting for the legislation of a Domestic Violence Law in Macau. In 2014, she went to Geneva, Switzerland alone, to reflect to the United Nations the importance of Macau’s domestic violence law as a public crime. Since then, topics of domestic violence in Macau have generated concerns, and the Law on Preventing and Combating Domestic Violence came into effect on 5 October 2016.
Sister Juliana died on the morning of December 14, 2020 at Hospital Conde de São Januário, aged 83. A Requiem Mass will be held next Tuesday, December 22 at 8 pm at St. Lazarus Church with His Excellency Bishop Stephen Lee officiating. Mass of Christian Burial will be held next Wednesday, December 23 at St Miguel’s Chapel at St Michael the Archangel Cemetery.