Joke Hermsen

Joke Hermsen works and lives from a Christian and Buddhist background. She studied theology and social work and has much experience with processes of emancipation, group work and supervision. Today she studies the classical Buddhist teachings and supports retreats based on the Vipassana tradition in and outside the Netherlands. Wisdom and compassion are her leading principles.

In her big Catholic farmers family she was called Jo. By entering the Franciscan monastery at the age of 21 she was given the nuns name of sister Marie Louise. 24 Years later she left the monastery, had studied social work and became a teacher on the IVABO, the first official education in social work especially for women.

In Bangkok she was awarded by the United Nations with a price for her support for women in Buddhism. Now her name is Jotika. In 1995 she was the first Dutch female initiated Buddhist monk and she manages a meditation centre in Amsterdam.

After years of teaching and working with people, long after she left the monastery, she longed for something sacred. She attended meditation classes and slowly understood that her future belonged in Buddhism. It had been helpful that her teacher never had tried to convert her. As a monk you do not make people a Buddhist, you make them happy.