Christmas Letter 09


It’s Christmas season again. I celebrated it in Daughter of Carmel Monastery in Tumpang-Indonesia with my sister and friends. I was not recovered from my jet lag yet as I arrived Surabaya on Dec 23 evening and went to the monastery the next morning in five hours trip. It’s quiet and cool place with vegetarian meals and no internet connection. It’s a holy coincidence that Sr. Yohana, P.Karm gave reflection on Rom 8: 28 and 1 Cor 13. It’s my favourite passages especially during the last few weeks including getting chopsticks from Sr. Mary Diggins, MM with 1 Cor 13 on it.

Here are several of my activities during summer and fall in New York. I posted some of my experiences e.g. annual retreat, first profession of religious vows, vacation and orientation program Maryknoll Lay Missioners, in my blog

I attended an oath ceremony of the seminarians of Maryknoll Fathers, priesthood ordination of Fr. Stephen Taluja, MM and his thanksgiving mass upon arriving from Chicago at the end of May. Eventhough I already tried not to collect stuffs, I still had 8 luggages upon moving from Chicago.

One of my summer programs was attending Maryknoll Mission Institute: "Reign of God and/or Church: Task and Methods of Christian Mission in World Christianity" by Fr. Peter Pham who mentioned that the virtues of future missionary are self limitation (a willingness to receive not only to give), intelectual humility (my way of thinking is not the best way of thinking) and imagination (create something new). I also attended "Developing Adult Faith: A Challenge for Mission & Catechesis" by Fr. Diarmuid O'Murchu, MSC who mentioned about the evolutionary story, the power shift: peace through justice and Kingdom of God: companionship of empowerment.

Several sisters shared their experiences in Circle of Wisdom on Vows, Ministry and Community which gave an idea how they live the vows, ministry and community in mission.

Upon coming back from my vacation, I helped Sr. Miedal Stone, MM in the office of the coordinator of Chi Rho community, a community of our retired sisters, for three weeks. It’s my third time to help her as I learned about community life, simplicity, generosity and gratefulness.

I had several other activities during the second semester of 2009 e.g.: volunteering at our booth at Ossining Fair; watching “In The Silence of the Heart” which was created for the inmates in Sing Sing Correctional Facility and was first produced there by Rehabilitation Through The Arts; attending Indonesian masses at Ascencion Resurrection Church New York, charismatic prayer meetings and intercession prayer meetings at Holy Rosary Church, Hawthorne-New York, Marian Conference at Catskill-New York; visiting our sisters at Maryknoll Residential Care to announce our first mission assignment and say good bye, New York Botanical Garden and Tea Town; had supper with the Filipina sisters and sisters who worked in China region.

I usually fed and had lunch with one or two sisters at Maryknoll Residential Care during the week end after attending the mass and pushing their wheel chairs. After questioning myself about it, I helped five sisters, my highest number, in pushing their wheel chairs. It’s a confirmation of my little acts.

As I was going home and China region, I should take four thypoid tablets in every other day.

I finalized my packing, slept at 2 a.m. and woke up at 5 a.m. on Dec 15, 2009. We (the newly assigned sisters) had a thanksgiving intention for the mass. I couldn’t hold my tears after communion. I said to myself that I wanted to say good bye well with these great women, all my sisters, so I would let whatever happen. After breakfast, I went to our Out Patient Clinic and kitchen to say good bye with the staffs. I couldn’t hold my tears when Edith, our baker, hugged me. I went to our main door to meet my sisters who rang our departure bells. I could only say thank you especially as I couldn’t hold my tears again.

Srs. Norie Mojado, MM and Catherine Rowe, MM accompanied us to LaGuardia airport. Unfortunately, I forgot where I placed my passport and e-ticket when I was ready to go to security line. Fortunately, Sr. Laura remembered that it’s on the back of the bag. Thanks to St. Anthony! Tommy Huang and Nila Karta met me at airport. I slept on the plane to Los Angeles. I couldn’t hold my tears when I woke up and remembered all the supports, generosity, and love of my sisters and friends.

I enjoyed my visit to Maryknoll Sisters Monrovia-California including going to Universal Studio, watching movie about Nelson Mandela “Invictus”, visiting San Juan Capistrano Mission and Cathedral. I was moved when the sisters rang the bells on our departure day. I was glad that I could bring all of my stuffs except one light jacket.

Srs. Maureen Corr, MM and Joan Ling, MM picked me up at Hong Kong airport on Dec 21 midnight. I stayed in Maryknoll Sisters Boundary Street Convent for two days, mostly for getting to know the sisters, repacking and resting. Upon arrived, I said to myself that it’s home. Sr. Susan Nchubiri, MM gave a tour around Maryknoll Convent School. Srs. Joan Ling, MM and Agnes Chou, MM accompanied me to airport on Dec 23.

Thank you very much again for all your supports, encouragements, challenges, blessings, love, gifts, monetary gift, and especially your prayers. I do appreciate it as I realized that God holds me through you.

Merry Christmas


Happy New Year

May you have the gladness of Christmas, which is HOPE

The spirit of Christmas, which is PEACE

The heart of Christmas, which is LOVE

in 2010

Surabaya, 28 December 2009

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.

Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: Maryknoll Lay Missioners Orientation Program

As a newly professed sister, I joined the orientation program of Maryknoll Lay Missioners for 13 weeks during Fall 2009. All of candidates of the lay missioners lived in Bethany, the head office of Maryknoll Lay Missioners, as a community. Our general activities were daily morning prayers, workshops/presentations, retreats, and weekly Eucharist. Sometimes I joined their community meal, house meeting and social. We had a meal with Maryknoll Society or Maryknoll Sisters once a week.
I was moved during the first two weeks, either because of the songs during Eucharist or stories including during the life lines. I was burst in tears during the presentation of saying good bye well.
I will mention the title of the presentations/workshops to give the idea how was the orientation program and only write a highlight for several of the presentation/workshops. I posted the sharing about our trip to Washington DC in

There were introduction to group prayer, vaccination, Scripture Study, Conversation on Racism and White Privilege, Spirituality of Fundraising for Mission, Non Violence Communication Workshop, Mission Theology, SOA Watch, Spirituality on Mission, Faith-based Social Analysis, Cross Cultural Preparation, Occupational Hazard of Missioners: Exposure to Trauma, Holistic Health in Mission, Dialogue Education, Relationship, Intimacy and Sexuality, and Saying Goodbye Well. There were two days retreat and reflection day in the middle of the program and one day retreat at the end of the program.
We weaved ribbons of our life lines in the beginning of the program and removed it at the end of the program.

Collaborative Effort
The collaborative effort with Society for Mission in Africa and Fransiscan Mission Service was continued in Bethany for four days by sharing the community live with additional members from Comboni Lay Missioners.

Mission Statement
I had a chance to write down my own mission statement “As I experience how God has blessed and loved me in so many ways, I want to share those experiences by doing simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible in our broken world through my commitment as a Maryknoll Sister.” I couldn't hold my tears when I read it in front of the group.

Closing Retreat
It became a two days retreat as I had a Maryknoll Sisters Sunday retreat. I couldn’t hold my tears when I reflected on “Who am I, Lord” and love as 1 Cor 13 during adoration on Dec 6, 2009.
I was moved during the introduction of the closing retreat on Dec 7, 2009 and the question of “Who am I?” As Sr. Janet Hockman, MM asked to make a heart, I was burst in tears. I made a simple heart and then I wrote 1 Cor 13 on it.

Joint Mission Sending CeremonyThere was joint mission sending ceremony on Dec 12, 2009 which is a collaborative work of Maryknoll Society, Maryknol Sisters and Maryknoll Lay Missioners. Fr. Jim Noonan, MM gave the reflection. The elements of the liturgy were call forth the new missioners with the language of the mission country, blessing of the water and mission crosses, receiving the mission cross, commitment prayer by new missioners and blessing from the community. There was ringing the bell which is a tradition of Maryknoll in sending the new missioners. Here are the link of the video:,!/video/video.php?v=379544866555 and the press release:
I said to myself in the night before the ceremony that God knew how I wished that I would not cry during the ceremony. I didn’t cry during ceremony till reception. Thanks be to God! I felt light, joyful and peace. It’s a conviction (again) of my journey as a Maryknoll Sister.
I was in entrance procession with bamboo and pink rose. Sr. Marie Ann Lipetzky, MM was my caller forth and Sr. Janet Caroll, MM read the prayer in Mandarin.
I had several Indonesian guests from Virginia, Ossining and Chicago.
It’s time to say good bye with the lay missioners as all of them would leave Bethany on Dec 13, 2009 and I will leave Maryknoll Sisters Center on Dec 15, 2009.

ParticipantsThere were nine lay missioners in the beginning of the program and only seven stayed till the end of the program and three newly professed sisters including myself.
I learn a lot from the participants who have rich experiences including their mission works in another countries and so grateful for their participation in the program. I am grateful for Rena especially for her joyful spirit, for Stephen especially for his commitment for non direct-non violence action, for John especially for the holy coincidences, for Cindy especially for her motherly love, for Mary especially for her helping hands, for Nan especially for her hospitality, for Lindsay especially for her questions, for Erica especially for her easy going spirit, for Minh especially for her cooking, for Laura especially for her good eye, for Genie especially for her aviability.
I was moved during the commitment ceremony for the lay missioners as I admire their willingness to leave behind their personal life in USA for 3.5 years as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner.

ReflectionI was called to reflect on my own personal call in missionary works. I realize that how little I can do in service to the universal mission of the Church but how big I am encouraged to keep move forward because mission is not just a matter of doing things for people, it is first of all a matter of being with people, of listening to, sharing and praying with them. Missionary works became a more real thing as my mission phase is getting closer.
I learn simple things e.g. how to make the group in silent by raising our hand, how to give a feed back and how to do a non-violence communication. It’s time to practice it in my daily life.

Thank you very much for all the presentations, workshops, sharings, collaborative works, supports, love, gifts, monetary gift and especially prayers to all of the participants, presenters, staffs of Maryknoll Lay Missioners especially Joe Regotti, Joe Loney, Michelle Born and Cecilia Espinoza, guests, leadership team of three Maryknoll entities, volunteers including Fr. Mike Duggan, MM and Sr. Norie Mojado, MM and also employees of Maryknoll Sisters who helped for Joint Mission Sending Ceremony.

This vocation of ours is a precious, priceless gift freely given us by God to help make God’s Kingdom come, and we should definitely be marked by it, so that no one may take us for anything but missioners (Mother Mary Joseph, 1943)
Monrovia- Los Angeles, Dec 19, 2009

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: Trip to Chicago

There was a break on my orientation program with Maryknoll Lay Missioner during the Thanksgiving week, so I accepted Fr. Lukas Batmomolin, SVD’s invitation to visit Chicago. We needed to work on the final draft of our collaborative book “Kasih Sahabat” (Love of Friends).
I went to Chicago Nov 20, 2009 morning and stayed at St. Arnold Hall, Techny. I started to work on the (draft of) book, right away. The book is about friendship that has its origin in God’s relationship with us through Jesus; and how we live this friendship among us. I contribute with my own life’s sharing to the reflection based on Jesus’ experience of suffering and resurrection. I had supper with SVD novitiate community and several priests.
The next day, I attended farewell party for Indonesian Ambassador at Indonesian Consulate General’s house and then went to an Indonesian gathering at SVD Theologate in Chicago. There I met some friends, including Fr. Roger Schroeder, SVD.
I moved from Techny to Lisa Arman-Mira Halim-Irene Wicaksana’s apartment on Sunday afternoon. Lisa and I went to downtown to have ice cream at Ghirardeli. We, unexpectedly, met Mbak Wigati and Pak Budi, who are doing their studies at Loyola University, so we went to Chinatown for supper.
On Monday, after attending mass at St. Therese, where I helped as Eucharistic Minister, Fr. Anniello, SX invited to have breakfast then I met with Sr. Dora, MM. I went to Truman College to meet Elizabeth Li and then Br. Tom. There, I couldn’t hold my tears. Before leaving New York, I suddenly felt sad imagining I would have to say good bye again to my friends in Chicago. That kind of feeling made me asking myself whether visiting Chicago again was a right decision, for I didn’t have the same experience when I left Chicago last May. Later that day, I met Fr. Leo Tinkatumire and then had meat ball and siomay Bandung at drg. Budi-drg Rina-Vivian’s house.
After attending mass and having breakfast at SVD Theologate on Tuesday, I visited Greg-Charito and then went to Catholic Theological Union. I met several friends including Fr. Robin Ryan, CP and then went to library for some more work on the book as we plan to submit it to the publisher on Nov 24, 2009. Fr. Eddie, SVD, Fr. Abdon, SVD and I had lunch together. Fulan offered Indonesian soup and peanut sauce salad and then I went to Harriet’s apartment to have supper with charismatic prayer group of St. Thomas of the Apostle Church. I moved to our Orientation House, where I had lived for 16 months.
On Wednesday, Sr. Genie, MM and I visited Scalabrinian Theologate, our neighbour. After that, Harno, SX and I went to Chinatown for lunch and visited Edy-Dimitri-Connor, then went to Indonesian Consulate in downtown. Later, while walking in front of the old building of CTU, I remembered that I didn’t informed Sr. Julia, FSPA about my visit. When I looked at the new building of CTU, I saw her. What a holy coincidence! She moved to the old building of CTU last Sept. I also met Carmela at CTU before the mass and both of us served as Eucharistic Ministers. Sr. Genie, MM and I had supper with Maryknoll Society Formation and Promotion. Mark, MM invited us to have ice cream at north side of Chicago around 9.00 p.m. and then stayed for a while at Maryknoll Society’s house.
On Thanksgiving day, I attended Mass at St. Thomas of the Apostle Church where I met several friends. Back home, I helped in preparing the turkey. I had a very nice thanksgiving day celebration with orientation community, Sr. Sue, MM, Sr. Jeanne, MM, Sr. Genie, MM and several Filipina friends. It’s my third time to celebrate thanksgiving day in our orientation house.
On Friday, after attending Mass at St. Thomas of the Apostle Church, Tita Mildred invited Sr. Genie, MM and I for breakfast and then I visited Br. Daryl, O.Carm. He was in the parking lot, when I saw him. A holy coincidence as I was not sure that he was home because I didn’t inform him that I was in Chicago. Tita Mildred came to our house with pink gifts for my mission in China. That morning, I couldn’t hold my tears when saying good bye to Jareen and praying with Isabel. When Sr. Hedwig, CSCM and Fr. Tibur, SVD visited our house, I burst into tears again. I decided to pray in our chapel while waiting for Fr. Lukas to pick me up. I already calmed down when I said good bye to my sisters before leaving our orientation house. We visited Arlene at the nursing home and then went to Pak Budi’s apartment to taste his Magelang fried rice with mbak Wigati who prepared Indonesian chicken soup and ice. I moved back to St. Arnold Hall, Techny and went on to sleep early since my eyes were tired of crying.
On Saturday, Sr. Lia, SSpS visited me. We chatted during the whole morning and we had lunch with Fr. Lukas, and then I had some video recording sessions about my vocation story.
I left for Newark early morning of Nov 29 and then attended mass at St. John the Baptist Church in front of Penn Station New York. I went around with my small luggage and then met Rudy before going home in the evening.
I am so grateful that I could visit Chicago before leaving for my mission in China region even with doubt and tears.
Thank you very much to all of you for all your warm welcome, hospitality, time, stories, wishes, gifts, monetary gift, and especially your prayers and friendships. May God continue to bless all of you in your life and missionary journey.

No love or friendship can ever cross our path without affecting us in some way forever. (Mauriac)

Ossining-New York, Dec 10, 2009

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: Trip to Philadelphia and Washington DC

I started my trip by going to New York city to meet Nila Karta on Oct 2, 2009. We had lunch at Chinatown and then I went to Philadelphia by bus. Nila gave me a pink batik shawl and a batik bag. It’s batik day as batik is recognized by UNESCO as a cultural heritage of Indonesia.
Tante Nina and Pak Tomo picked me up at bus station and we went to Love Park. The water at the fountain was pink. It’s a holy coincidence to have such a special welcome! I met several Indonesians and ate Indonesian foods at tante Nina-om Yo’s home. Tante Nina prepared my room including the snacks and drinks.

Oct 3, 2009
I attended mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Church and then went to Shrine of St. Rita with om Yo.
Fr. Ignatius Suparno, CM, Mariani, Lewis, Frans and I went to Liberty Bell and several old buildings in the area. We ate at a Malaysian restaurant Banana Leaf and the servers wore batik. Mariani, Lewis, Tatiana and I went to Shrine of St. John Neumann where his incorruptible remain is laying below the altar and then attended evening prayer at Pink Sisters (SSpSAP).
Mariani, Lewis, tante Nina, om Yo and I went to Penns Landing and then attended the rosary at Bu Sari’s house. I shared my vocation story as a Maryknoll Sister. We had Indonesian meals afterwards. Here is the link of the pictures: There were around 40 persons. Mariani, Lewis and I went to the Geno’s to have cheese steak.

Oct 4, 2009
Lily and I attended mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Church and then went to Chinatown to catch the bus to Washington DC for orientation with Maryknoll Lay Missioners (
I couldn’t refill my cellphone before left Philadephia. I saw a T-mobile store near Chinatown Washington DC so I decided to ask them to refill it because I should to contact Society for Mission in Africa (SMA). They had a pink chair and finally I found out that it’s their first day. A Divine Providence. Rachel and Tom of SMA picked me up at Takoma train station. We had dinner including tofu fish and durian jelly at SMA. I slept in the floor with mattress at TV room with Rena Mendez, MKLM. There were two pink blankets so I got it. A Divine Providence.

Oct 5, 2009
We had a retreat with Fr. Mike, OFM including watching the movie of St. Francis Assisi the Reluctant Saint. There were lay missioners of SMA and Fransiscan Mission Service (FMS) too.

Oct 6, 2009
There were presentations Chris Promis of Catholic Relief Service ( and Peter O’Driscoll of Action Aid ( on how they identify where will they work, projects they will implement and how they measure success.
Marty Shupack of Church World Service ( gave presentation on the importance of advocacy to poverty eradication.
I had lunch in front of Capitol Hill with Minh, MKLM as it’s only walking distance from Methodist Building.
Representative from Tanzanian and Bolivian Embassies shared about the impact of US foreign aid and/or US based NGOs on eradicating poverty in their country.
It’s the last day of the collaborative days with SMA and FMS.
While relaxing in the TV room, I saw a VHS of St. Therese Lisieux. I wished to watch a movie about her as I didn’t watched the whole movie in Chicago. A Divine Providence.

7 Oct 09
The Maryknoll Lay Missioners and Maryknoll Sisters including myself had introduction to mandate and methodology of Maryknoll Office of Global Concern ( including watching the movie “The Story of Stuff”
I decided to watch the movie St. Therese of Lisieux upon arriving home even though mass will be started in 30 minutes. I watched for around 20 minutes and then attended mass at 6.00 p.m. Fr. Dan Lynch, SMA gave a long homily about St. Therese of Lisieux. A holy coincidence!
I continued to watch the movie after supper with Rena. As I had orientation about Global Concern, I was reminded to my mission statement “...doing simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible.”

8 Oct 09
As I will go o Asian countries, I joined the group who were going to meet Virginia Farris of Foreign Policy Advisor for Eurasia and Human Rights of US Conference of Catholic Bishops (
We went to meet T. Kumar the Advocacy Director for Asia and Pacific of Amnesty International (
After lunch, all the participants meet Sr. Maria Riley of Center of Concern (
We met Neil Watkins of Jubilee USA ( for the last presentation.
Rena and I watched a documentary movie of reconciliation of Rwanda genocide “As we forgive” ( after supper.

9 Oct 09
I joined Rena, MKLM and Judy Coode of MOGC to meet the aide of Senator Olympia Snowe from Maine after visiting Library of Congress. Then I joined Nancy Tyrolt, MKLM, Marie Dennis and Michelle Born, MKLM to meet the aide of Senator Richard Durbin from Illinois.
We had an evaluation at Methodist Building and then I went to see an exhibit “The Art of Can” at Union Station. I saw a woman in pink drove a pink car on the way to SMA’s house. A holy coincidence. Fr. Marianus, SVD picked me up and then we had supper at Chinatown for his 5th anniversary of ordination. I stayed at SVD house.

10 Oct 09
Om Hoo, Fr. Lukas Batmomolin, SVD and I went around DC area and then going to om Hoo’tante Betty’s house. We had supper with Pak Irawan-tante Karmi, om Hoo-tante Betty, Nico-Julien-Lissy-Bernie at a Thai restaurant.

11 Oct 09
I attended the Indonesian mass celebrated by Fr. Lukas and Fr. Armada Riyanto, CM. I shared my vocation story after the homily (
There were Indonesian foods after mass. Bu Jinny Kusumo gave 60 pink rosaries for my mission.

Thank you very much to all of you for the opportunity to share my vocation story and enjoyed the beauty of the cities, for warm welcome and hospitality, for all the gifts including monetary gift, and also for all hard works of Maryknoll Office of Global Concern in preparing all the presentations and meetings.

Ossining-New York, Nov 1, 2009

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: First Mission Assignment

I started to discern for first mission assignment on January 2009 by submitting four preference regions (China, Central Pacific, Philippines, and Taiwan) to our Personnel Director Sr. Norie Mojado.
There were presentation from seven regions (Bolivia, Cambodia-Myanmar, China, Namibia, Panama, Philippines, and Tanzania) for our area study and I submitted my discernment paper with two preference regions (China and Philippines) on Jul 6, 2009.
I had a meeting with our Leadership Team Srs. Bitrina Kirway and Rebecca Macugay on Sep 23, 2009. I couldn’t hold my tears during the meeting and the whole afternoon. I submitted my re-discernment paper on Sep 28, 2009 (It means it’s my second time to re-write my discernment paper). Sr. Norie and Fr. Lukas Batmomolin, SVD helped me in re-discerning process.
Here is part of my discernment paper for my first mission assignment.
...“As I experience how God has blessed and loved me in so many ways, I want to share those experiences by doing simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible in our broken world through my commitment as a Maryknoll Sister.” (I composed this mission statement during the workshop on “Spirituality of Fundraising for Mission” by Dr. Michael Gable on Sep 25, 2009 and I couldn’t hold my tears when I read it.)
I realize that how little I can do in service to the universal mission of the Church but how big I am encouraged to keep move forward because mission is not just a matter of doing things for people, it is first of all a matter of being with people, of listening to, sharing and praying with them.
My experience in discerning to religious life was built up from my preferences and then I am called to learn, grow and transform through my daily experiences. I am called to do the same way of discernment for my first mission assignment as several regions welcome newly professed sisters.
This discernment process has contributed in such a way that I also come to know myself better, my weaknesses and strengths. My personal preferences that I mentioned in the earlier discernment paper truly reflect my own self. Those preferences such as, starting my mission from my comfort zone, embracing my Chinese root and giving a bit of comfort to parents by working in a place near Indonesia, may not resound the Maryknoll spirituality of mission, yet they are the real conditions of those two countries. However, my commitment to mission as a Maryknoll sister is clear, offer my simple self to people, whom I eventually will work with. I also realize that my spiritual life which is very important to my missionary work can be enriched by the way Christians in both China and the Philippines express their faith through religious celebrations.
Reflecting on all the above, here are my personal preferences:
1. China Region because…
I was surprised to know that the first mission of Maryknoll and the summer program of Maryknoll Lay Missioners were in mainland China. There are still many needs in mainland China so China Region very much encourage to explore these opportunities and especially as they are giving a strong invitation and warm welcome to China region (mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau) since summer 2008.
I am willing to look for the ministry possibilities as I did during my orientation in Chicago including working among the immigrants.
As I have a little basic knowledge of passive Mandarin, I think it would be an advantage to start with.
As I am called to be a simple missionary instead of heroic missionary, I think to start it from my comfort zone (warm weather, near Indonesia, Mandarin, and having rice) and to come and see what God has in store for me.

While having dinner on Oct 15, 2009, Sr. Genie Natividad said that there was an announcement in the bulletin board that our Leadership Team would share good news on Mission Sunday Oct 18, 2009 and it might be our first mission assignment. I said “God give me the grace to accept whatever their decision.” I couldn’t hold my tears at the end of talks of Sr. Helen Phillips who acted as St. Teresa of Avila.
Let nothing disturb you
Let nothing affright you
All things are passing
God never changes
The one who has God wants for nothing
God alone suffices. Amen.
In the evening, I received an invitation card from our Leadership Team to join them in the main dining room on Oct 18, 2009 5.00 p.m.
World Mission Sunday which was originally promulgated by Pope Pius XI on April 1926 to remind us all of our participation in mission by reason of our Baptism and of both our privilege and obligation to spread the Good News wherever we are. I wore my pink Indonesian kabaya as I would bring the offertory. After Mass, Laura informed me that Minh, MKLM offered to give a hair cut in the afternoon. I planned to have hair cut this week but I didn’t ask her yet. She cut my hair as I planned for free. I was wondering was this a sign that I would be assigned to China region as my wish? One of the passages during our retreat “The Historic Jesus and Discernment of Mission Today” by Fr. Simon Harak, SJ and Carol was one of my favourite verse Luk 11: 9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you...”
Our main dining room were full with our sisters. The main menu was pizza. Srs. Ellen McDonald, Sue Rech, Norie, Genie, Laura and I sat together. Sr. Janice McLaughlin gave an introduction including quotation of our foundress Mother Mary Joseph in our Constitutions: "Assignments have a much deeper significance than we usually bother to observe. They do not mean merely the naming of Sisters to serve in this mission or that. When we make assignments we are acknowledging growth and needs. Our work has been blessed and expanded. New fields are offered to us and we are eager to develop them." Sr. Bitrina Kirway announced my first mission assignment: China region (Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China). Thanks be to God! It’s the best first mission assignment that I can get. Then, my sisters were in line to give congratulations to three of us. Srs. Sue Glass and Marilu Limgenco from China region called around 9.00 p.m. to welcome me.
The next day, several of my sisters asked whether I couldn’t sleep. Yes, I couldn’t really sleep since Oct 15, 2009 as I am coughing in the middle of the night. Upon arrived from my orientation with Maryknoll Lay Missioner, there were pink carnations in a beautiful vase, welcome notes including by email from my China region and a book “What’s in a Chinese Character” from Sr. Betty Ann Maheu.
Thank you very much for all your prayers. I do appreciate it.

“Be very simple in the beginning of your religious life. If you are patient with yourself and do not aspire to lofty things in the beginning, just build up a good strong foundation, you will have a very happy life.” (Mother Mary Joseph: 1925)
Ossining-New York, Oct 25, 2009

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: Discernment with Maryknoll Sisters

When starting my discernment, I never heard about Maryknoll Sisters as they didn’t have any convent in Indonesia since the independence of East Timor. Here is the story of how God prepares my way to Maryknoll Sisters which is quoted from my answers for applying to Maryknoll Sisters.
I visited Fr. Agustinus Surianto and he suggested joining Maryknoll. He looked for Maryknoll’s website at the Catholic Directory of Indonesian Church, opened the website and asked me to send the preliminary form from his computer at that time. The next day, I met Fr. Ridwan Amo who also suggested joining Maryknoll. Both of them were taught by Maryknoll Sisters during their formation as seminarians in Bandung. I had not met both of them for more than ten years and yet they sounded so sure about me for Maryknoll.
I started to communicate with Sr. Leonila Bermisa, MM through email. In replying the question in Initial Discernment Form “What about Maryknoll Sisters do I find myself resonating with...”, I replied “After reading the website about Maryknoll Sisters, I find myself resonating with their spirituality and ministries. In Nov 2005, I wanted to join a contemplative, active and missionary congregation. That I find in Maryknoll. God has blessed and loved me for 35 years so I want to share it with others and the charism of Maryknoll is making God’s Love visible. I wrote my faith experiences in a book “Menghitung Berkat” (=Counting My Blessings).
Here are excerpt from Form A. How do I see myself participating in mission, and living in community with women of varied backgrounds, culture, races, ages? I will participate in pastoral work such as visiting the sick and abandoned persons, help families to have a better life financially and socially, contribute my writing and organizing skills to the community. I enjoy living in a multi-cultural and multi-generational communities as I can share my experience and I can learn from them.
Upon arriving the Philippines for live in, I answered the Form B. What is it about Mother Mary Joseph, the foundress of the Maryknoll Sisters, inspires me? She is intelligent, ready to take a challenge, open minded, motherly, loving, joyful, and an easy-to-be-with person. She was the first smiling foundress of an Order that I saw. I connected with her when she said “Each of us has seen her own star and had the grace to follow it. That is the secret foundation and growth of our Congregation, for our stars – a vocation to the foreign mission apostolate – led us to Maryknoll.” I also connected with her when she said “…the longer you live and the more you see, the more you will become aware of the finger of God in the guidance of this work and your own spiritual development.” I was inspired by her when she smiled and said to Margaret Shea, “Let’s just go together and see what God has in store for us.”
Which aspects on the history/story of the Maryknoll Sisters impress me the most? Sending the first missioners to China, which was far away, with different language, and culture, and still have zeal even though facing so many problems there including imprisonment, war, disease, etc. I wish I know as much as the Maryknoll Sisters.
Here are excerpts from Form C. During my discernment process, I have come to understand the Maryknoll Sisters as …
· What I find challenging are the different types of personalities among the Sisters, different types of community life, and different types of ministries.
· What gives me hope is that we have the same journey to the Father, to be a missionary and holy person, no matter our culture, personalities and talents.
After two months in the Philippines, I couldn’t see any reason to turn back from this discernment. On March 23, 2007 I choose to seek membership in the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation because I think the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation is the most suitable Congregation for me in spirituality, in the way of expressing opinion/ideas, the way of living out the vows, the way of appreciating God’s personal call and talents, and the acronym (M.M.) has a meaning for me. Even though my English is still not good enough, I believe God will give me grace to speak my words to foreign men and they will understand (cf. Song “Be not Afraid”).
Sr. Leonila called me on May 24, 2007 to inform that I am accepted as a candidate and Maryknoll Sisters would send all the paperwork for the religious visa.
After facing computer problem at Surabaya Consulate General of USA so I should come back the next day for the interview, waiting the communication between the interviewer and Leadership of Maryknoll Sisters, I got one year religious visa.
I left my family and friends in Indonesia on Jul 26, 2009, arrived in Newark airport on Jul 27, 2009 and got 3 years I94.
I stayed in Chicago during Fall 07 and Spring 08 and in New York during winter 08/09. Here is the excerpt for my discernment paper for canonical year: “I am grateful for my first year of orientation as God gives me more than I ask or imagine in my relationship with God, community, personal, study and ministry life, therefore I, Anastasia Birgitta Lindawati, M.M. (Linda AB, M.M.), desire and wish to continue my journey to the canonical year of Orientation Phase in the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic Congregation.” I received the acceptance letter to enter canonical year from Congregational Leadership Team before leaving for New York on summer 09.
Here is the excerpt for my discernment paper for first profession of religious vows: “Finally, I am grateful for my second year of orientation as my school of knowledge, love and humility and also growth in self knowledge, and I desire and wish for first profession. Therefore I, Anastasia Birgitta Lindawati, M.M. request to make my first profession of vows in the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic Congregation.“
I moved to Ossining-New York since May 28, 2009. Our Congregational Leadership Team invited to attend their morning prayer on Jun 1, 2009. I was moved when we read the Magnificat to the God of Dawn and couldn't hold my tears when I said “Thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness...” I couldn’t continue my sentence. Sr. Bitrina Kirway gave an introduction and then Sr. Ann Hayden gave the acceptance letter for first profession of religious vows. It’s the answer of my discernment to religious life. No turning back.

“How does one find God’s will? We believe that we discover the will of God within ourselves. When we most clearly know ourselves, we best know where and how God speaks to us...We believe that God’s will is found in doing what we want at the very best and deepest level of who we understand ourselves to be.” (Inviting the Mystic, Supporting the Prophet, Dykman and Caroll).

Ossining-New York, Oct 18, 2009

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing Panggilan untuk Misa KKI DC area Oktober 2009

Selamat siang Bapak/Ibu/Saudara/Saudari sekalian. Pertama-tama saya ingin mengucapkan banyak terima kasih kepada pengurus KKI DC dan Romo Lukas Batmomolin, SVD, yang telah memberi kesempatan untuk membagikan pengalaman panggilan saya sebagai seorang biarawati dan misi dari Maryknoll Sisters.
Nama saya Anastasia Birgitta Lindawati. Saya dilahirkan di Jombang Jawa Timur dan menempuh pendidikan di sekolah katolik sejak taman kanak-kanak sampai SMA. Saya dibaptis sewaktu kelas tiga SMA.
Saya berkeinginan menjadi seorang biarawati ketika kuliah tingkat satu tetapi kemudian saya berpikir bahwa saya dapat melakukan pelayanan meskipun menikah. Setelah bekerja sekitar sepuluh tahun saya tidak melakukan pelayanan apapun. Saya sibuk dengan kehidupan pribadi terutama ketika menjadi seorang kepala cabang sebuah perusahaan kargo di Surabaya.
Ketika sedang duduk di depan gua Maria di Pertapaan Karmel Tumpang, di bulan Oktober 2005, saya mulai menangis ketika menyadari betapa Tuhan sangat memberkati saya dan mulai berpikir tentang panggilan hidup saya. Saya memutuskan untuk mengundurkan diri dari pekerjaan empat bulan kemudian agar bisa berkonsentrasi dalam mencari kehendak Tuhan. Saya mulai mengunjungi beberapa komunitas biarawati, mengikuti beberapa retret dan Sekolah Evangelisasi se-Asia Pasifik di Australia.
Saya mengenal Maryknoll Sisters pada bulan Juni 2006, melalui Rm. Agust Surianto dan Rm. Ridwan Amo, yang pernah menjadi murid Maryknoll Sisters sewaktu masih frater di Bandung. Komunikasi saya dengan Direktur Panggilan Maryknoll Sisters berlangsung melalui email, mengingat tidak ada biara Maryknoll Sisters di Indonesia sejak kemerdekaan Timor Leste.
Saya menjalani “live in” di Maryknoll Sisters selama empat bulan termasuk mengajukan surat lamaran. Saya diterima untuk menjalani masa orientasi sebagai calon Maryknoll Sisters sehingga saya berangkat ke USA pada bulan Juli 2007. Selama masa orientasi di Chicago, saya tinggal bersama tiga orang calon yang lain dan dua orang suster direktur, bergiliran memasak, membersihkan rumah, memimpin ibadat pagi dan sore, menjalani pendidikan di Catholic Theological Union Chicago, mengunjungi pasien di University of Chicago Hospital, mengunjungi penderita HIV/AIDS di Bonaventure House, menjadi volunteer di pusat kehamilan Aid for Women, dll.
Saya mengucapkan kaul kemurnian, kemiskinan dan ketaatan untuk tiga tahun pada tanggal 9 Agustus 2009 di Maryknoll Sisters Center New York, dimana saya berjanji untuk hidup sederhana dan dengan ketaatan sebagai wanita selibat dalam komunitas, mengikuti Injil dan berkomitmen untuk melayani misi universal Gereja.
Komitmen untuk hidup sederhana, dengan ketaatan kepada kehendak Allah, dan hidup berkomunitas merupakan panggilan setiap umat Katolik, apalagi hidup berkomunitas merupakan ciri khas Gereja perdana. Karenanya upaya untuk mengumpulkan umat Katolik di DC area dalam wadah KKI menjadi suatu sarana untuk menampakkan komitmen untuk hidup berkomunitas.
Meskipun saya sudah pernah memutuskan untuk tidak menjadi biarawati tetapi ternyata Tuhan memberi kesempatan kedua dan saya percaya ini adalah kehendak Tuhan. Selama dua tahun di USA, saya merasakan betapa Tuhan selalu hadir dalam peristiwa sehari-hari, melalui begitu banyak orang yang hadir dalam hidup saya diantaranya Romo Lukas dan termasuk melalui kebiasaan memakai pink, sehingga saya maju terus dalam menjalani masa orientasi sampai selesai.
Kalau dalam bacaan Injil hari Ini, Tuhan Yesus mengatakan sesungguhnya setiap orang, yang karena Aku dan karena Injil meninggalkan rumahnya, saudaranya laki-laki atau saudaranya perempuan, ibunya atau bapanya, anak-anaknya atau ladangnya, orang itu sekarang pada masa ini juga akan menerima kembali seratus kali lipat: rumah, saudara laki-laki, saudara perempuan, ibu, anak dan ladang, sekalipun disertai berbagai penganiayaan, dan pada zaman yang akan datang ia akan menerima hidup yang kekal, maka saya menerima bahkan lebih dari seratus kali lipat saudara laki-laki dan saudara perempuan dalam keluarga besar Maryknoll.
Yang menjadi tanda sebagai seorang Maryknoll Sister adalah cincin dengan logo Chi Rho, yaitu dua huruf pertama dalam bahasa Yunani yang artinya Kristus, dan lingkaran yang melambangkan dunia.
Motto Maryknoll Sisters adalah Membuat Cinta Allah Kelihatan, yang menjadi inspirasi motto saya, Mari kita melakukan hal sederhana dengan cinta yang sederhana untuk membuat Cinta Allah Kelihatan.
Sebagai seorang Maryknoll Sister, saya akan melakukan pelayanan misi di luar Indonesia kecuali ketika sedang melakukan pelayanan keluarga. Setelah menyerahkan sebagian besar sekolah, rumah sakit dan lembaga lain kepada awam, kami melakukan berbagai jenis pelayanan di Afrika, Asia, Amerika dan Kepulauan Pasifik, diantaranya mengadakan latihan kepemimpinan, mengajar, merintis proyek penambah penghasilan, dan melayani penderita HIV/AIDS. Kami juga mempunyai kantor yang memperhatikan masalah-masalah global di Washington DC, yang baru saja saya kunjungi dalam minggu ini bersama misionaris awam Maryknoll.
Semua karya kami ini tentunya sejalan dengan pesan Bapa Paus Benediktus XVI dalam rangka Hari Minggu Misi Sedunia 2009, yang menyatakan bahwa Gereja ingin mengubah dunia dengan mewartakan Injil Cinta kasih, "yang dapat selalu menerangi dunia yang semakin suram dan memberi kita keberanian yang dibutuhkan untuk hidup dan berkarya ... dan dengan cara ini membuat terang Allah masuk ke dalam dunia" (Deus Caritas Est, 39).
Bapa Paus juga mengimbau, agar semua umat dan lembaga Gereja untuk berpartisipasi sekaligus "menegaskan sekali lagi bahwa tugas untuk mewartakan Injil kepada semua umat manusia merupakan perutusan hakiki Gereja" (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14), suatu tugas dan misi yang semakin mendesak dalam masyarakat dewasa ini yang mengalami perubahan yang meluas dan mendalam. Karenanya saya akan mengakhiri sharing ini dengan kutipan dari Mother Mary Joseph pendiri Maryknoll Sisters “Setiap orang, dengan pekerjaannya masing-masing, dengan daya tariknya masing-masing, dipakai oleh Allah sebagai sarana khusus untuk melakukan pekerjaan tertentu untuk menyelamatkan jiwa tertentu.”
Silakan mengambil kartu dan booklet tentang Maryknoll Sisters di bagian belakang Gereja. Bagi yang berminat untuk membaca pengalaman-pengalaman saya, bisa membacanya di website Maryknoll Sisters, blog serta facebook saya.
Saya juga mohon bantuan doanya agar dapat menjalankan komitmen saya sebagai seorang Maryknoll Sister.
Sekali lagi terima kasih banyak kesempatan ini dan terutama untuk doanya. Semoga Tuhan memberkati Bapak/Ibu/Saudara/Saudari sekalian dalam perjalanan misionaris kita masing-masing.

Washington DC, Okt 11, 2009

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: My Vocation Journey

As several friends were asking about my vocation journey, here is my vocation journey which was compressed from 11 pages of my autobiography for applying Maryknoll Sisters.
I studied in a Catholic school from kindergarten and was baptized in my third year of senior high school.
I discussed with a priest regarding my intention to become a sister when I was in the university but he said, it was better for me to remain as a lay person, to have children who will become a priest or a sister. Finally I gave up my intention to become a sister because I thought I could do ministries even though married.
My short fiction story was published in HIDUP magazine in 1990 about a young woman who decided to become a sister even though she had a serious relationship with her boyfriend (Please read “Cerpen: Maafkan Aku, Theo...”).
I submitted three vocation prayers for writing vocation prayer competition held by my parish in which one of them won the first prize.
I cried during Pentacost 2004 when a Daughter of Carmel sister pronounced a prophetic word that there was a woman who got a special call from God. I started to ask God whether it for was me but according to my close friends, the prophetic word was not for me.
I was in the grotto of the Daughter of Carmel Monastery in October 2005 when I cried because I realized how good God is and started to think about my vocation. I cried three times that day and for approximately one month, I always cried when thinking about it. One day a child sang one of his songs after the Eucharist in my parish and I cried when thought that even still just a child, he had a ministry already but I didn’t even have one at 35 years old.
I told my friend that I would follow God’s will whatever my vocation, but I didn’t know my vocation yet. I asked Holy Spirit’s guidance to find my vocation as my special intention in the Eucharist celebrated by Fr. Yohanes Indrakusuma, O.Carm. His homily was about the obedience of Mary and the Wedding in Cana. I stopped to cry during lunch even though I thought about my vocation. I had two hours counselling with Sr. Stefani, P.Karm and informed her that I was looking for a contemplative active missionary congregation. I started to think to discern my vocation seriously.
I had personal retreat under Sr. Stefani’s guidance and I started to know about the Daughter of Carmel. I was not sure what to do, so I had a general medical check up since to be a Daughter of Carmel, I should be free of Hepatitis B. Fortunately, I am free of Hepatitis B.
Then, I really thought seriously of giving up my job. It was not an easy decision because it was a good job. Finally I informed the management that I wanted to make a personal retreat for several months and I decided to resign starting February 28, 2006. One of my staffs asked me whether I wanted to be a sister, I asked why she thought that and she replied because I had made several retreats and reminded her of her friend who used to be a seminarian.
Several days before my last day in the office, I was in front of my computer and thought “Why was I?” Suddenly there was a voice but it was not in my ear and not my own mind but it was very clear, “It is because I received a lot”. It was really God’s blessing that I could be a branch manager for almost five years and accomplish a better performance even with smaller team. That’s why I was ready to give it up.
I had an interviewed as a required step for living in. Since there was a family consideration, Sr. Immaculata, P.Karm decided to postpone the live in schedule. I believe that it was a God’s will even though I had already prepared for living in by wearing skirt as requested.
I visited RGS convent for one week and I still was not sure about my calling to RGS.
I thought a congregation which follows Ignatian spirituality might fit me because I kept in touch with a Jesuit priest when I was in the university. Fr. A. Soetanta, SJ informed me that FCJ Congregation is using the Ignatian Constitution. I attended a recollection for young women held by FCJ sisters. I met SS.CC sisters at that time but did not have an interest to visit them yet.
I attended the Asia Pacific School of Evangelization 2006 in Canberra. I could not hold back my tears many times at different occasions - including on the last day, when Sr. Therese, MGL reminded us that we are called to mission forever. (Please read “Sharing: Asia Pacific School of Evangelization”). I also attended school of personal evangelization in Surabaya once a week for 16 months prior to that.
My friend Mrs. Tuty, who gave me a book “Religious Life: The Meaning and Challenge” by Tom Jacobs, SJ when I graduated in 1994, suggested that I had a counselling with Sr. Elizabeth, FMM. I met her and I did not color the human since I did not know what was the color should be used. According to her, human is the symbol of spirituality and it means I did not know my spirituality yet.
After that, I visited SS.CC convent for three days and I realized that I resonated with a Love Spirituality because my favourite color is pink.
I visited Fr. Agustinus Surianto and he suggested joining Maryknoll. He looked for Maryknoll’s website at the Catholic Directory of Indonesian Church, opened the website and asked me to send the preliminary form at that time. The next day, I met Fr. Ridwan Amo who also suggested joining Maryknoll. I had not met both of them for more than ten years and yet they sounded so sure about me for Maryknoll.
I continued my counselling with Sr. Elizabeth, FMM and then lived in SS.CC convent for ten days as part of my getting to know them. At the last day of morning’s prayer, I cried when we read the opening prayer. The theme was “Journey” and ended with a poem “Counting the Blessings”. The reading was taken from Hebrews regarding the calling of Abraham, and the day before, I read the book “Following God’s Call” by Judette A Gallares regarding the same topic.
I had a chance to attend perpetual vows of FMM sisters that made me touched when the entrance song began. I was also touched when one of the sisters took the perpetual vows and heard that she would be sent to South Africa.
There was a quote of II Cor 12 : 9 : “My grace is enough for you: my strength is revealed in weakness” in a bulletin board in the dormitory room of FMM and in the ordination card of SS.CC priest that encouraged me to surrender to God totally even though it is not easy.
I went to the OCSO Monastery Rawaseneng to have a one-week personal retreat with Fr. Frans Harjawiyata, OCSO. He told me that the important thing in a Religious Life is my relationship with God. If I was not brave enough to commit to one of the congregations that I knew, it meant my vocation is not for religious life. I should decide when I will commit to one congregation since I already had visited several congregations. I read the book sent by Sr. Leonila Bermisa, MM: “Mother Mary Joseph: Maryknoll’s First Lady” which mentioned the Dominican Constitution adapted by the Maryknoll sisters. I decided to visit Dominican Sisters and asked to read the Dominican Constitution. Several priests said I should make a decision as soon as possible since I had enough time to discern but I felt it was not the time to make a decision because I did not visit Maryknoll yet.
I visited the Divine Providence convent and OCSO Monastery in Gedono. I read the Divine Providence, SS.CC and FMM constitutions.
I read the book “Hearts on Fire” by Penny Lernoux which made me cry especially the part about our martyrs in El Salvador Sr. Ita Ford, MM and Sr. Maura Clarke, MM; smiled especially when I read about the earrings of our first President Sr. Barbara Hendriks, MM and thinking about the habit and its role for the religious person. I decided I did not want to wear a habit and to be called by own name to minimize any privilege as a sister. (Please read “Sharing: Pink Habit” and “Sharing: “Why will I have a “Religious Name”?)
I passed the final examination on Master’s degree so I could use the title M.M. after my name. It is one of the signs, why I thought about Maryknoll.
In celebration of Epiphany, I thought that it was great that I would go to Maryknoll Philippines after Epiphany to realize that my star is there. (Please read “Sharing: Kegiatan “Live in” di Filipina”).
I went home upon finishing the live in for 4 months and received acceptance letter to be a candidate of Maryknoll Sisters in June 2007. I left Indonesia for USA on July 2007 (Please read “Sharing: Summer 07 in New York). For several reasons, I told my friends that I was in orientation as a candidate of missionary and only few of them knew that I was a candidate (=novice) of Maryknoll Sisters.
How beautiful that my discerning with Daughter of Carmel led me to RGS as a priest said that I should look for more than one congregation before making a decision. RGS led me to FCJ which led me to SS.CC. The trip back from SS.CC led me to Maryknoll which I heard for the first time but made me think seriously about it.
I usually pray “Say a word Lord, I am listening” but I did not hear anything as I wished like Samuel, but I know that God prepared all the way to make me understand His will. In the beginning I do not know what would be happened in my discernment. I started my journey by bringing a candle which only can give light to walk step by step, opened my heart to the Holy Spirit to lead me to wherever He wants me to go, learned from Mother Mary to treasure all these experiences and continually ponder over them (cf. Luke 2: 19).
And after almost three and half years of discernment, I can see where my star is and here I am Lord, I come to do Your will as a Maryknoll Sister.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I will do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone. (Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude)

Ossining-New York, Sep 9, 2009

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: My Two Weeks Vacation

After the first profession of vows party, I was packing my luggage as I would leave home on August 10, 2009 afternoon for vacation. I placed all the cards and gifts in my closet as it was 2.30 a.m. when I went to bed. Fr. Lukas Batmomolin, SVD, Leonardus Suharno, SX, and I went to New York city accompanied by Fransiskus Santoso as I began my vacation, first to Philadelphia. We went to Atlantic City after supper. Fr. Lukas and I stayed at tante Fina Welikin’s home and Harno stayed at tante Nina-om Yo’s home.
We picked up Fr. Abdon Mansurdi, SVD at airport and then went to SVD Bordertown on August 11, 2009. We met Br. Pat Hoggan, SVD who knew Sr. Mary Therese Connolly, MM in Taiwan. After that, we went to Princeton University, and then we had supper with several Indonesians including Fr. Ignatius Suparno, CM in a Chinese restaurant at my request. I got quotations “you will go to many places” and “you will go to many parties and gatherings” from the fortune cookies.
Since I never went to Niagara Falls, I quickly accepted tante Nina’s offering to go to Niagara Falls on August 12, 2009. We left on 3.30 a.m. and arrived at Niagara Falls around 11.30 a.m. There was a rainbow at Niagara Falls. A rainbow always reminds me that God keeps His promise. It’s my first time to see a rainbow again after 2 years in USA (Please read “Sharing: Summer 07 in New York”). We visited National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima which has a memorial for the unborn baby, on our way back home.
We went to “Love” park and going around downtown Philadelphia including the Cathedral before having an Indonesian meal on August 13, 2009. At first I asked Chinese food, as usual, but then I changed my mind since it’s easy to get an Indonesian meal in Philadelphia. After that we headed for Washington, DC area, ready for other adventures. We stayed at Nico-Julian-Lissy-Bernie’s home in Virginia.
We visited George Washington’s house at Mount Vernon, had a Chinese meal with Pak Irwan-tante Karmi and om Ho-tante Betty and then visited om Ho-tante Betty’s home for a cup of tea on August 14, 2009.
We ride a cruise from Georgetown-Alexandria-Georgetown and then had an Indonesian meal at Pak Irwan-tante Karmin’s home, where I met some Indonesians, on August 15, 2009.
National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes and picnic area of Cunningham Falls were our destination on August 16, 2009. I was asked to share about myself after attending Sunday mass with Indonesian Catholic Community of Washington DC area at Pak Tiesan-Bu Pipi’s home. Later, we went to Pak Nico-Bu Jinny-Elis-Monica-Patrick’s home, where we stayed for couple of days.
There was celebration of 64th Indonesian Independence Day at Indonesian Embassy with an Indonesian meal on August 17, 2009. I met my college-mate Ina Nasution and her baby after more than 15 years coincidencely. We went for a Holy Land of America tour at Franciscan Monastery and then visited National Shrine of Immaculate Conception, as well.
We had a Lancaster County PA's original Amish Farm Feast by eating made-from-scratch golden fried chicken, baked ham, real mashedpotatoes, chicken pot pie, etc. We had a tour in an Amish’s house, went around the market in Lancaster and then had supper at inner Harbor of Baltimore, on August 18, 2009.
Lurray Caverns, and then Car and Carriage Caravan Museum were our destination after the mass at St. Elizabeth Seton Church on August 19, 2009. I enjoyed another Asian food at Blue Pearl Buffet, and then we visited Gan Shu Sia, my senior high school friend, and also Pak Anton-Bu Erika Handono.
We visited Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Indonesian Embassy, National Cathedral, Arlington National Cemetery including watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and then had an Indonesian meal at Satay Sarinah on August 20, 2009.
We visited US National Arboretum, United States Botanic Garden, Capitol Hill, Javawood USA, The Bureau of Engraving and Printing and then we ended the day with dinner at Peking Duck restaurant on August 21, 2009. There was a rainbow on our way to Peking Duck restaurant.
I couldn’t hold my tears when I left Washington DC on 22 August 2009. Saying goodbye always does not an easy thing to do. I arrived in New York City 2 hours late due to two accidents on the way so I couldn’t attend farewell party of Fransiskus Santoso. I had a nice conversation with a young pro lifer Anglican who used to work in China. I stayed at Jenny’s home.
We attended Sunday mass at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs and then went to La Guardia airport as Fransiskus will go to SVD College Epworth. Here is the link of the photos: We had an Indonesian meal at Queens and then went to Street Market at Manhattan as ko Jongky had a booth of batik and t-shirt. I went by train from Grand Central Station to Ossining and arrived home around 9.15 p.m.
I visited so many new places and met so many generous Indonesians for the first time. It’s really a privilege to have such a very nice and memorable two weeks of vacation. I enjoyed it very much as I was spoiled by so many people. As the rainbows appeared, I recalled that God keeps His promise “And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life” (Mat 19: 29) through so many generous people in my life. I am enriched by all of them and the experiences.
The quotation in a book mark of my breviary “There is nothing more astonishing than life, just as it is, nothing more miraculous than growth and change, just as revealed to us. And as happens so often when we stop to regard God’s work, there is nothing to do but wonder and thank God.” (Mother Mary Joseph, 1936) drew my attention as I ended my vacation.
Thank you very much for Fr. Lukas, Harno, Br. Pat Hoggan, tante Fina, tante Nina-om Yo, Fr. Suparno, Nico-Julian-Lissy-Bernie, tante Yani, Pak Irwan-tante Karmin, om Ho-tante Betty, Pak Tiesan-Bu Pipi-Stacey-Calvin-Justin-Chelsea, Pak Nico-Bu Jinny-Elis-Monica-Patrick, Sonny, Jenny, Fransiskus, Gisela-Pieter, Rini, Julianita, Agnes, Donna, and many others for your generosity. May God always continue to bless you.

Ossining-New York, September 1, 2009

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: First Profession of Religious Vows

Upon returning home from retreat, my sisters asked how I am. My answer usually “I am ok now but I don’t know on Sunday. I don’t think that I will change my mind.” I am easily to cry so I will stop to recite the profession of vows if I cry. Only God knows how long I cry. I asked my sisters to pray if I start to cry. According to Sr. Sue Rech, if I stop to recite the profession of vows, I can continue to recite the next words instead of repeat it from the beginning.
I tried the Chi Rho ring once again to make sure it’s fit my left ring finger.
Luis Ortiz and Joanne Pivak finished the booklet of the liturgy on Tuesday afternoon. Here is the quotation in our booklet: The dominant factor in our lives is love – love of God and love of neighbor, as we love ourselves for love of God. I have thought very much of this love of God, and its qualities in the life of a missioner. This love is a very personal thing. The more we know God, the more do we love God. The missioner’s portion is a special consciousness of God’s thirst and hunger for the love of all. It was to satisfy this love that we came here. Mother Mary Joseph: 1947.
We had a rite of profession rehearsal with Srs. Janice McLaughlin, Bitrina Kirway, Sue Rech and Jean Maloney on wednesday afternoon. During the rehearsal, I could recite the profession of vows well.
Our guests from Chicago were starting to come on Thursday including Harriet Spieth who was my prayer team in Chicago.
Laura Adams gave a surprise by decorating kitchen bulletin board with “Pink Food” including candies and pictures of pink housewares.
We had a liturgy rehearsal on Saturday afternoon excluding the rite of profession.
In three days before profession of vows, I had contradictive experiences. After the liturgy rehearsal, I walked uphill to Regina Caeli and holding a guitar for Leonardus Suharno, SX while reflecting the experiences. I started to ask myself, “Do I really call to live in a community?” and “Did I mis-interpret all the signs leading to community life?” Suddenly a car was coming from down the hill and Sr. Martha Bourne offered a ride to the Regina Caeli. It’s a sign of God’s helping hand while I was in doubt. It’s was a consolation and I know that I didn’t mis-interpret all the signs leading to community life. Through these experiences, I was reminded (again) to love my sisters and brothers as they are instead of my own projections. It’s really not easy. (Please read “Sharing: Annual Retreat 09”)
In the night, I felt powerless and concerned about the possibility to cry. I really don’t want to cry but I know I can’t control it. Finally, I said to God “If You want me to be a Maryknoll Sister, please don’t let me cry. It’s ok if I cry after reciting the profession of vows but not during the profession.” I asked another sign from God for my decision to be a Maryknoll Sister.

First Profession of Religious Vows Ceremony
Several sisters sang “This is the day” around 6.15 a.m. in front my room. It’s our tradition to sing in the morning for the celebrants. After that, I went to chapel near my room to pray Jesus prayer. Then several sisters started to sing in front of my room so I could hear them from chapel. They asked me to go back to my room and went out after they started to sing again. The choir plan to sing too but it’s cancelled because there were two groups already.
I prepared myself including wearing a pink long skirt made by Sr. Stephanie Nakagawa and pink modern Indonesian kabaya. Ayoeng sent the material for the long skirt from Indonesia. Harriet prayed over me before the ceremony.
Srs. Louise Bullis, Shu Chen Wu, and Joji Fenix decorated the altar. There were picture of our foundress Mother Mary Joseph who inspires us to say “yes” to Christ’s call to be a missioner, candid picture of myself in front of a grotto when I started to reflect what is my vocation in life, bamboo symbolizes our strength and sturdiness, candle symbolizes the light of Jesus Christ in our journey.
Jareen Aquino, Hyun Jung, Isabel Araujo, Laetitia Simon, and Gloria Agnes blessed the place. Here is the link of the video: Then the entrance procession began with entrance song “Table of Plenty.” It was started with the ring bearer accompanied by Srs. Sue Rech and Jean Maloney. I walked with Harriet Spieth. Fr. Lukas Batmomolin, SVD and Fr. Leo Distor, SSC were the presiders of the Eucharist.
Sr. Bitrina Kirway introduced our guests including my cousin Tommy from Long Island. My guests were coming from Chicago, New York, Ohio, and Mississipi. Several of them are member of Indonesian Catholic Community, students of Catholic Theological Union, and member of Charismatic Prayer Group. Srs. Sue Rech and Jean Maloney gave introduction about Laura, Genie and myself. Several guests were in Indonesian clothes or pink as my dress code and several sisters were in pink.
First reading from Isaiah 42: 6-9, Psalm 116 I Love the Lord composed by Fr. Arnel Aquino, SJ, second reading from 1 John 4: 11-16 read by Prima Wilson in Indonesian, the Gospel from John 6: 41-51 read by Fr. Lukas in English and our former President, Sr. Sue Moore gave the homily. You can read her homily at our vocation blog:
Rite of Profession was started with presentation of candidates by Srs. Sue Rech and Jean Maloney. Sr. Janice blessed the Chi Rho rings. We lighted candles and then we knelt during Litany of Saints. Here is the link of the video:
After call and dialogue with Sr. Janice, we recite our first profession of religious vows in English. I was not sure whether I could finish in reciting the profession of religious vows in English so I didn’t think to recite it again in Indonesian.
When I finished the first sentence of the profession of religious vows, I said to myself “It’s still long sentence” and my legs started to shake even though it didn’t really influence my voice. Thank God I didn’t cry at all during the ceremony. God keeps His promise. Here was my profession of religious vows: “I, Sister Anastasia Birgitta Lindawati Padmadewi, Oei in the presence of Sister Janice McLaughlin, President of the Maryknoll Sisters, vow chastity, poverty, and obedience to God for three years, according to the Constitutions of the Congregation of the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic. I promise to live simply and obediently as a celibate woman in community, striving to follow the Gospel and committing my life in service to the universal mission of the Church.” As I wanted to made my private vows, I used to recite it “…for today, …” instead of “…for three years, …” so it helped me too. Sr. Janice put the Chi Rho ring in my left ring finger. Here is the link of the video:
I signed the vows form, followed by Sr. Janice and Fr. Lukas. I asked Fr. Lukas to sign the vows form so he will accompany my religious life journey. There were responses from Maryknoll Sisters, Family and Friends as the closing of the rite of profession of vows.
Isabel Araujo read the prayer for religious vocation in Indonesian and Sr. Joanna Chan read the prayer for world peace in Mandarin. There were prayers for Universal Church in Tagalog, for Maryknoll Family in Ifugao, for Beloved Dead in Ilocano and for Community in English.
Our offertory song was “We Have Been Told” and there was a plant which is symbolizing our commitment as we will plant it on Maryknoll’s ground brought by Sr. Marisa Lichauco, bread brought by Sr. Ellen McDonald and wine brought by Sr. Leonila Bermisa.
The Indonesians sang one of my favorite songs “JanjiMu Sperti Fajar” during Communion lead by Harno, SX. Here is the link of video during the rehearsal: and the translation of the lyric:
When I face this life,
Which way should I choose
I know I can not do
I know I am not capable
Only You God, my answer

I know I am never alone
Since You are God who carries me
Your hand caresses me
Your love satisfies me
You raise me up to high places

Your promise is like the dawn in the morning
and never late to shine
Your love is like a flowing river
And I know how deep is Your love

There was Post Comunion song “Sa Yo Lamang” in Tagalog. The liturgy was ended with blessing and recessional song “We are Called.”
We had lunch at main dining room and party in the evening at Rogers basement. The MCs of the party were Sr. Marvie Misolas, MM as Sr. Abs in pink and Jareen Aquino as a guy. Jareen played a video of Srs. Sue Rech, Jean, Laura, Genie and I as five of us left orientation community since our first profession of religious vows. I couldn’t hold my tears. Here are the links of the video of the party:,,
I received so many e-cards, cards and gifts from my sisters, brothers and friends. I am so blessed with so many generous sisters, brothers and friends.
Here is the link of the pictures during the ceremony only due to limited space in flickr by Fr. Eddie Doren, SVD:
I thank God for all of you who walked with me in my journey to be a Maryknoll Sister and have worked hard to make the celebration beautiful and joyful. I feel relieve after the ceremony. Finally, I wear the Chi Rho ring as a sign of my consecration to God as a Maryknoll Sister.

Ossining-New York, Aug 26, 2009

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible
P.S. All videos were done by Fr. Tarsisius Sigho, SVD

Sharing: Annual Retreat 09

As part of Orientation program, I attended a directed retreat on Jul 25 – Aug 1, 2009 at Carmelite Retreat Center, Mahwah – New Jersey. Here are my experiences during the retreat.

First Day
I walked around chapel before opening prayer and I said “God, I don’t know what kind of surprise will You give me during this retreat.”
Fr. Michael J. Wastag, O. Carm called me “Anastasia” on our first meeting. All my sisters called me “Linda.” I decided to introduce myself as “Anastasia” since my profession of vows is coming.

Second Day
After meeting with Fr. Michael, I just realized that I should pray with Psalm 139, Mat 11: 28-30, and 1 Kings 19: 8-14a. I only prayed with Psalm 139 and I wasn’t moved by it.
The menu for supper was pasta so I decided to eat fried rice which I brought from home. I asked God “why should I become a sister in the place where I don’t really like the food?” And I couldn’t hold my tears.
I prayed about Prayer using with Luk 6: 12 and Mat 6: 5-15.

Third Day
I woke up in morning because I cried and felt powerless. I continued to pray about Prayer using Mark 14; 32-42 and Eph 6: 18-19. I prayed in tongue and my hands were trembling.
I know exactly that I attended the retreat to have deeper relationship with God.
I prayed about Community using Acts 2: 42-47 and Acts 4:32-35. I prayed in tongue continuously.

Forth Day
I woke up and remembered that Fr. Armand M. Nigro, SJ said “If…nothing seems to happen, … do not be discouraged or judge this as a sign of failure.”
During breakfast I thought that I knew God’s long loving looked at me even though I was not moved during formal prayer. My eyes were in tears. I know that people who fall in love will look at each others and that’s enough. I prayed formal prayer and I know God loves me, it’s enough. I have so many experiences of God’s love in my daily life. My heart beat was faster than usual for quiet a long time. I know that people who fall in love may have faster heart beat too.
I continue to pray about Community using Eph 4: 1-6 (“…live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.”). One of my challenges is loving my brothers and sisters as they are.
Here is my prayer regarding Community: Thank you Lord for the gift of life of my sisters and our journey together in Maryknoll. Thank you for all the blessings upon our community. You know how different each one of us. We follow our own star to be in service to the universal mission of the Church. Give us the grace to live out our commitment to lve one another as a celibate woman in community and to be a witness of Christian’s life by sharing resources. May we remain faithful to the Sacraments and the teaching of the Church. This we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.
I prayed about Poverty using Luk 2: 1-21 (“Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”), and Mat 5: 42 (“Give to the one who asks of you…”).
The supper was yellow rice, pork and Irish Soda Bread. It’s the best meal during retreat.

Fifth Day
I continued to pray about Poverty using 2 Cor 8: 1-15 (“Your surplus at the present time should supply their need, so that their surplus may also supply your needs, that there may be equality.”).
The first reading was 1 John 4: 7-16 which will be the second reading on our first profession ceremony. What’s a holy coincidence!
I prayed about Chastity using Mat 5:8.
During supper, I thought that God’s love never changes and I started to cry. Then the quotation from “Letter to Contemplatives” by William Johnston popped up in my mind “I am loved therefore I am.” I cried again. I looked through the window because I didn’t want to make eye contact with anybody. I continued to eat because I wanted to stay with the experience even though I felt inconvinience because everybody was in silence. Sr. Vilma stood up and then she said “God loves you. You have beautiful face.” I cried again when she said “God loves you.” I say “thank you” to her. Fr. Brice said “Cheer up. Everything will be all right.” One of my sisters tapped my shoulder twice and looked at me. The kitchen’s staff asked me “Are you ok?” I said “I am ok, thank you,” then she said “sometimes I experience the same.” My body was warmer so I decided to lay down.
I prayed about Chastity using Mat 19: 10-12 and listened to the talk at Inter-Community Novitiate (ICN) about “Theology of Celibacy” by Fr. Keith Clark, OFM.Cap

Sixth Day
I continued to pray about Chastity using 1 John 4: 11-16 and 1 Cor 7: 23-35.
The first reading for the Holy Spirit mass was Is 61: 1-3abcd, 6ab, 8c-9.
I prayed about Obedience using Mat 7: 21-27 and John 14: 20-26. My stomach was tense during the prayer. I still felt the tension even though I prayed the Jesus prayer.
I listened to the talks at ICN about Obedience by Fr. Ed Peklo, SVD and Sr. Joyce Shanabarger, OSF.

Seventh Day
I continued to pray about Obedience using Luk 1: 26-38 and I felt tense again. Fr. Michael helped me to look for the reason of my tension. Finally on the last minutes of spiritual direction he asked me that do I think that obedience will be my struggle in religious life. At that moment I knew that the insight of my retreat. I know from Sr. Sandra Sneider, IHM that vow of obedience is the most difficult for women religious and vow of chastity is the most difficult for men religious. But at that time, I could really feel the tension even though I was not in a real encounter.
I prayed using Eph 4: 22-24 and Eph 5: 1-2 as closing reflection and still felt in tension.
I listened to the talks at ICN about Poverty by Fr. Lawrence Jadgfeld, OFM and Fr. Anthony Gittins, CSsP.

Eighth Day
I prayed using John 21: 15-19 as closing reflection. I thanked very much to Fr. Michael for his patience, insight and clarification during the retreat. I know it’s not easy for him to accompany me during the retreat.

I experienced again that I got the insight of the retreat on the last days of retreat.

I got “Letter to Contemplatives” from free shelves of Rogers library during the break of “Reign of God and or Church: Tasks and Methods by Fr. Peter Phan, Ph.D at Maryknoll Mission Institute. I think it’s God’s providence because there is a quotation “…I put my roots more and more deeply in the Bible and the Christian tradition while remaining open to the dharma and wisdom of eastern teachers. And at the same time I wish to share the treasures of the Gospel with anyone who is willing to listen.” On the second day of retreat, I found this book in the library so I borrowed it. I really enjoyed reading it.

After Retreat
I try to reflect on all my experiences during retreat. Complaining about food, felt powerless, being loved by God, and being in tension about Obedience. And it brings me back to the question “Why do I want to be a Maryknoll Sister?”
Sr. Sue Moore, MM-President of Maryknoll Sisters- asked all the candidates during the welcome ceremony on Aug 11, 2007, “Why is it that you want to become a Maryknoll Sister?” I prepared a short answer so I will not stop in the middle of my answer. I replied “I want to save my soul according to the Constitutions of Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic.”
I never thought that I will have the same question on preparing my first profession of vows. The answer of the question is “being a Maryknoll Sister will not be easy so I should surrender to God who loves me. Since God’s love will never change, I get a conviction to continue this journey because I believe that it’s God’s will.” On November 2005, I told my friend that I would follow God’s will whatever my vocation, but I didn’t know my vocation yet. It’s a reminder that I am doing God’s will. I wrote “Closing sermon of Fr. Bob Galbert, MM at main chapel on Aug 22, 2007 was an affirmation for me that God’s will finally is our will because God put the desire in our heart.” (Please read “Sharing: Summer 07 in New York”).
As Fr. Michael said on his homily that “We are not the same as the day we arrived at Carmel. God’s Spirit has been active and what God has done is never undone.” I am grateful for all the experiences: the tears, the tension, the insight, and the clarification because I found “the pearl” of my 2009 annual retreat.

Ossining-New York, Aug 25, 2009

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible