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