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

Sharing: Why will I have a "Religious Name"?

My name in my Indonesian ID was “A.B. Lindawati Padmadewi.” Since 1997, I always introduce myself as “Linda AB” because there were two “Linda” in the office.
My name was written as “Anastasia (Linda) Lindawati” in Maryknoll’s database as my name in passport is “Anastasia Birgitta Lindawati.” In my sharing “Summer 07 in New York” I wrote that “I want to be called Linda AB as previously and also as there are three “Anastasia” in Maryknoll.” Later on several sisters wrote my name “Linda Lindawati”
I always asked to be called “Linda” on the first day of classes at Catholic Theological Union Chicago, because I would be called by my first name. One of the professors on my last semester always called me “Anastasia.”
There was a police in front of the alley to our house before the election because it’s near Mr. Barack Obama’s house. We should show our ID if we wanted to pass by. The police called me “Anastasia” when he saw my ID.
Sr. Amelia told me that one of our sisters said that I should be called Anastasia because it’s my name and she said that I was asked to be called Linda. It triggered my thought to be called Anastasia after my first profession of vows.
I was baptized on March 25, 1989 and I chose “Anastasia” as my baptismal name because she is one of the martyrs ( Later on I know that martyr from the Greek word martus that signifies a witness who testifies to a fact of which he has knowledge from personal observation.
I asked to remove “(Linda)” from our database in January 2009. When I received the official letter from our Leadership Team to make first profession of religious vows, I changed my signature on email to be “Anastasia B. Lindawati.” I asked our MIS staff to change my user ID to log in to our computer system to be “alindawati.” I started to introduce myself as “Anastasia Lindawati” instead of “Linda” for some occasions.
I always use “Linda AB” when I signed up in a cyber group including my blog at yahoo 360. When I signed up at Facebook, I should use my full name instead of “Linda AB.” It’s not my preference but I didn’t have any choice. And it always mentions “Anastasia.” Yahoo 360 would close on July 13, 2009 so I create a new blog Is it a holy coincidence?
There is a tradition in religious life to give a religious name for the novice as part of beginning a new way of life. Many congregations don’t do it anymore as well as Maryknoll Sisters. Since I passed my novitiate so first profession day will be the best time to start to be called “Anastasia.” It will be my “religious name.”
Changing name is not a new thing for me since I changed my Chinese’s name “Li Li” to be “Anastasia Birgitta Lindawati Padmadewi” in 1989 as I became an Indonesian citizen. That’s why my family and some of my friends still call me “Li Li.”
One of my sisters introduced me as “Linda” to Srs. Rita and Valeria on our first meal at Carmelite Retreat Center. My spiritual director Fr. Michael J. Wastag, O.Carm called me “Anastasia” on our first meeting and then Sr. Rita called me “Anastasia” instead of “Linda.”
I never thought that I will have a transformation of name too. God gives me two years to do it.

Ossining-New York, Aug 5, 2009

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

Sharing: Pink Habit

Since 2004, I started to wear pink because I like to wear my pink bag with a pig’s head. Gradually, I added my pink collection. Since then, I wear pink everyday, and my bag is full with pink stuffs e.g. wallet, pencil case, umbrella, notebook, and water bottle. Several friends asked for the reason of my pink habit.
I was starting to collect pig stuffs in 1998 but I did not do it seriously till 2003. As the time runs, I got more collection. I chose pig stuffs because I was born in 1971, the year of the pig in Chinese calender. I have more than 300 pieces of pig stuffs e.g. statue, doll, bag, pillow, bolster, slipper, car cushion seat, frame, ashtray, ballpoint, night lamp, card holder, pendant, glass, pencil case, CD shelf, toothpick holder, blazer, night dress, cellular phone, comb, door mat, sheet, towel, and wallet. I placed all my collection in two glass cabinets in my home town, Mojoagung-Indonesia. I bought most of the collections and the rest were gifts from my friends and siblings. It was bought in Surabaya, Bali, Kuala Lumpur, China, Taiwan and Singapore.
During our retreat in 2006, several people were curious because my sister and I always wore pink. I said it’s to make the love in the air. When I read the motto of Maryknoll Sisters, making God’s love visible, I started to see the similarity. How my worldly thinking became my connection to Maryknoll.
I planned to replace my camera in 2007 because it was not good anymore. While walking in a shopping mall with a friend, I saw a pink camera for the first time. I found out that there was another brand which is compatible with my memory card. I sold my camera and went to the store again several days later. Unfortunately, they didn’t have pink camera anymore. I walked around the shopping mall and saw a new camera store. There was the only pink camera in the store. What a holy coincidence!
I planned to buy a laptop before leaving for USA. My friends suggested me to buy it in USA because it would be cheaper. I didn’t see the need to buy the laptop in the first months of my orientation in Chicago because we have two computers in our computer room. One of my professors asked whether I had a pink computer because she noticed that I had pink stationary including pink iPod. One day, I walked around in a stationary store and I saw a pink laptop coincidencely. Several weeks later, one of my professors told her friend that I had a pink laptop. Due to my increase need in using computer, I like photography and writing, I decided to buy a pink laptop including a pink laptop case.
When discerning to religious life, I prefer to be a sister without a habit so I can still wear my pink collection. As my sharing “I Learn,” I learn to appreciate religious persons who are in habit although I still love my own pink habit.
That’s why I am known as a “Pink Lady” or “Lady in Pink” or “Pink Sister.” Several people know who is Pink Sister or Lady in Pink even though they didn’t know my name.
During the orientation, I had several experiences of God’s providence through pink e.g. getting pink bedroom in one of our retreats, getting pink towel when I should sleep in a TV room since my room was locked in the middle of the night (please read my sharing “Fall 07 in Chicago”), getting pink bunny toy during plastic egg hunting (please read my sharing “I learn”), getting pink instead of blue cover of our General Assembly Proceeding (please read my sharing “Fall 08 in Chicago”). That’s why I still wear pink all the time.
Many of my sisters and friends support my pink habit including giving something pink e.g. mouse, earphone, clothes, bracelet, birthday cake, flowers, etc. They said it looks nice on me and don’t let anyone change it. My friend Robert gave me a pink pig toy! My friend Roger wore pink long sleeve on our last class and showed his pink driver’s licence.
I started a gathering of Indonesian Catholic Community around Hyde Park. I put pink as the dress code for May 2009 since it will be my last gathering and 12 persons came in pink! I put pink or Indonesian clothes as the dress codes on my first profession of vows invitation.
I have pink bedsheets, a pink blanket, pink towels, a pink bedcover in my bedroom in Chicago as well as in Maryknoll Sisters Center provided by our hospitality staffs.
Laura Adams was printing information about pink because she was planning for our kitchen bulletin board. She could not believe I appeared just as she had the papers in her hand. It was an unusual time for us to meet as the evening meal had ended. It was a Holy coincidence, wasn't it.
Some people asked whether I will change my pink habit. I don’t know yet, at least not in the near future, because it’s still a sign of God’s presence in my life especially through the holy coincidences. One morning, somebody asked when will I change my pink habit and in the evening somebody else support my pink habit. Or somebody supported my pink habit in front of somebody else who asked when I will change my pink habit.
Wearing pink habit is one of my ways to be truthful to myself. I can say that I have a theological reflection on my pink habit.
Ossining-New York, Aug 2, 2009

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