Sharing: Where will I study Mandarin?

As I got the assignment to China region, I received several questions e.g.: “Where will you stay in (mainland) China?” “What language will you study? (as I informed that I would go to Hong Kong),” “What will you do?” “When will you go to (mainland) China?” I only can answer one question that I will study Mandarin. I usually inform that our China region is including mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau as for many Indonesians, China means mainland China.
When I was in USA, I saw the only possibility to study mandarin in mainland China is in Nanjing as there is Sr. Marjorie. My hope was getting bigger as one of my sisters submitted the transfer request to China region.
I saw a sign to study at Dr. Sun Yat-sen University Guangzhou when Sr. Maureen gave 2 brochures at first (Chinese University of Hong Kong and Dr. Sun Yat-sen University) instead of 4 brochures (Nanjing University and The Beijing center) as she said previously. I read the 4 brochures.
On my first meeting with our regional coordinators Srs. Maureen and Annie, Sr. Maureen encouraged me to study in mainland China but also informed that Sr. Marjorie will not continue her contract this year. I expressed my preference to study in mainland China as the ambiance and network but I also concern about community.
Several Indonesians learn mandarin in mainland China including my youngest sister and my cousin. In June 2009, my parents asked me to study mandarin in Xiamen (as there are our extended families) instead of to be a sister and I know I will never say yes to them.
I listened to several opinions regarding language study, community and ministry from my sisters and friends. I also pay attention to the readings and events. Several times I was tense if it’s about language study. I know it’s not an easy decision to make.
I saw another sign when my sister expressed her interest to study mandarin in mainland China. Meeting with several Indonesian students from Guangzhou during Easter Sunday was another sign.
There were several quotations from The Diaries of the Maryknoll Sisters in Hong Kong, 1921-1966 by Cindy Yik-Yi Chu which struk me. “Until 1952, when the Maryknoll Sisters left the new China, under Communist control, they still had dreams for missions in the mainland: after all, China was the center of attention of Maryknoll since it was established early in the twentieth century...nevertheless, the need to study the Chinese language and culture before heading to China was so great that a permanent house in Hong Kong, on the doorstep of the interior, was necessary. Besides, the house in Hong Kong would serve as a “procure” for missioners in China.” (p. 196, 203).
I still think that there are at least two sisters in a community of religious sisters. In the early days of Maryknoll Sisters in China, “Instead of living in a mission compound, Maryknoll Sisters were sent into the villages in twos. Their convent was actually a rented part of a peasant home, usually one or two rooms, from which the Sisters would go out to other villages. While one stayed at the “convent” to provide religious instruction for those in the area, the other travelled with a Chinese woman catechist to preach the Good News, walking four, five, sometimes thirty miles a day to meet with Chinese woman in outlying regions. On her return the other Sister went out.” (Hearts on Fire: The Story of the Maryknoll Sisters by Penny Lernoux, p.65). Jesus also appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. (Luc 10: 1). I used to be asked to go by twos for the assignment from the school of evangelization.
And then I found this quotation “While it remains true that we will never know what community is if we never come together in one place, community does not necessarily mean being physically together. We can well live in community while being physically alone...Thus the discipline of community frees us to go wherever the Spirit gives us, even to places we would rather not go.” (The only Necessary Thing: Living a prayerful life by Henri Nouwen p.132). I was starting to reflect on the question: is it including “...even to places we would rather not go alone as a sister?”
I got China tourist visa double entries for HKD 220.00 instead of multiple entries (HKD 400.00) valid for 6 months even though I have Hong Kong ID as I couldn’t show my old passport with the China visa.
Sr. Maureen gave the application form of Dr. Sun Yat-sen University. I filled it with the hope that our Congregational Leadership Team (CLT) would approve the transfer request before I register.
As Sr. Maureen and I will visit Dr. Sun Yat-sen University on Apr 16, I only could pray that our CLT would make a decision about the transfer request on their Tuesdays meeting on Apr 13.
I was moved when I read the email from Sr. Maureen on Apr 15 regarding the approval of the transfer from Sr. Becky. Thanks be to God.
As I asked myself, is it God’s will to study mandarin in mainland China as I may live alone? The reading on Apr 16 struk me: "So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God." (Acts 5: 38-39).
Sr. Maureen and I went to Kowloon Tong MTR station to take the MTR to Lo Wu. I swiped my Hong Kong ID and put my thumb on the machines without showing my passport to exit Hong Kong and then walked to see immigration officer at Shenzhen. We went by train around one hour to Guangzhou East Station and by MTR (three trains for 2-3 stops each train) to Dr. Sun Yat-sen University South Campus. We arrived at 12.30 p.m. and as the office would open on 2.30 p.m. , we had lunch and went around the campus. It’s a very big campus, have two lanes for bus, so many trees and The Xing pavilion which is similar with the place for Our Lady of Maryknoll in Maryknoll Society New York. While walking, there was a Chinese guy asked about direction to in Mandarin and maybe he was confused as I didn’t understand his question even though I have a Chinese looking face and Sr. Maureen answered it in Mandarin even though she has a Western looking face. There are 25 seats in the classroom but all the classes are not full. We submitted the application form for Mandarin Course ( They will send a letter for further details including the paperwork for the student visa. All payment including the registration fee will be done in Sept. We should come to see and book the dormitory in the end of July when the students leave it. A student from Turkey gave information about the schedules and total students per class will be around 20 students and also gave a recommendation for this school.
I should show my Hong Kong ID and passport as I entered Hong Kong. It took around 4 - 4.5 hours from home to school as there were so many passengers along the way.
I am so grateful to my sisters in China region for their effort to open the possibility to learn mandarin in mainland China and their full support in my discernment on the school to learn Mandarin.
Thank you very much for your prayers during my discernment on the language study. Again, God prepares the way so I can learn mandarin in mainland China.
Kowloon Tong-Hong Kong, April 17, 2010
Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: First Easter in Hong Kong

As my sharing: One Week in Yuen Long (, I had two Paschal meals before Holy Thursday.

I attended English Holy Thursday Mass. I met Sharon Dobbs, a M.Div student of Catholic Theological Union (CTU), and her husband before the Mass. Harriet Spieth introduced her as she works in Hong Kong and take online course at CTU. There were three persons asked to be in full communion in the Catholic Church. Fr. Alex, MG was moved when he said sorry for the child sexual abuse cases. I couldn’t hold my tears. There was Night Prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament after the Mass.

I watched Holy Thursday Mass live from Vatican at EWTN through internet and read The Diaries of the Maryknoll Sisters in Hong Kong, 1921-1966 by Cindy Yik-Yi Chu on Friday. I attended English Good Friday Service.

I was moved when my sister shared her thought about 7 last words especially the forgiveness in the Church. I attended English Easter Vigil Mass. There were 10 newly baptized including children and baby and 9 newly confirmed. Fr. Alex gave a stole and the godparents gave a candle to the newly baptized. It’s my first Easter as “Anastasia” which means resurrection.

There were around 3,000 newly baptized in Hong Kong Diocese on Easter Vigil ( As on Aug 31, 2009, there are 353,000 Catholics in Hong Kong out of about 7 million populations, in 51 parishes. In addition, there were about 110,500 Catholic among the Filipino migrant workers. There is Indonesian Chaplain at Catholic Center besides Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Filipinos (and Indonesians) and Diocesan Commision Services to Filipino (and Indonesian) Migrants.

I attended English Easter Sunday Mass at St. Theresa of Lisiuex’s Church ( The Cantonese Mass was still going on when I arrived. I became tense while waiting as I thought about language study. As I prayed before the opening song, I felt incapable and I couldn’t hold my tears.

Srs. Maureen, Agnes, Joan, Joseph Lourdes and I went for lunch at The Salisbury-YMCA. Then I went to St. Paul’s Convent School Chapel-Causeway Bay. The Indonesian mass was celebrated by Fr. John, SVD, Fr. Aloy, SVD and Fr. Reggie, SVD. Around 350 Indonesian Catholics attended the mass and 4 newly baptized. I met several Indonesian students who are studying Mandarin and another majors in Guangzhou. There was a gathering including performance and dance practice till around 6 p.m. I had a dinner with the committee of the Indonesian Migrant Workers, Fr. John, Fr. Reggie,Toto, SVD, and Sr. Flora, RGS.

Easter celebration is the celebration of our redemption. May God bless us all to continue our journey to proclaim the good news of Christ’s redemption and human salvation.

Kowloon Tong-Hong Kong, April 15, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.

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

Sharing: One Week in Yuen Long

As part of the orientation to the China region, I visited my sisters in Yuen Long, New Teritory. Sr. Michelle and I left Boundary Street convent on March 22, 2010. We visited Huy Tay on our way to Yuen Long as Sr. Michelle would give her preparation in Cantonese as her daughter would be baptized.

I attended daily mass at St. Jerome’s Church in Cantonese at 7.30 a.m. except for the Feast of the Annunciation in St. Peter and Paul’s Church. Sr. Michelle used to work at St. Jerome’s Church.

Sr. Michelle, Sau Fong and I went to Hong Kong Flower Show 2010 at Victoria Park on the next day. There was a booth of Consulate General of Indonesia. Victoria Park is a gathering place for the Indonesian migrant workers on Sundays.

I had Paschal meal in Cantonese at Shung Tak Catholic English School. There were a roasted lamb, bitter herb, pita bread, grape juice, salted water and rice.

Paschal meal re-lives the ancient story of Israel’s redemption from bondage and the liberation of the people. The Old Testament instructed them to gather each year on the eve of the Passover to celebrate God’s saving activity and relate this thrilling chapter in the history of Salvation of God’s chosen people. Jesus took this meal, a saving meal for all the Jews and he made it into a saving meal for all of us. He added his own sacrifice and blood, to the symbolic sacrifice of the lamb and the lamb’s blood. There are special table setting and menu which echoes of the past and reminders of the present.

I joined Sr. Michelle, Christine, several other volunteers to visit Caritas Jockey Club Lai King Rehabilitation Centre. It’s a centre for around 400 mentally disable persons. There was a liturgy and short talk followed by performance from several residents.

I made a stir fried fish ball, pepper and vegetable from one of the schools for lunch. It’s my first time to cook in Hong Kong.

As Sr. Michelle teaching religious education in Cantonese at Cho Yiu Catholic Primary School for grade 4, I joined the class.

I had supper with Fr. Joseph, Fr.Guillermo, MG, Fr. Paul, MEP and Sr. Michelle at St. Stephen’s Church after a Cantonese RCIA class. I visited Diocesan Youth Commission and hosted by Fr. Paul, the chairman, who gave information about the commission and the video of 4th Asian Youth Day 2006 in Hong Kong.

I helped to prepare Paschal meal for St. Stephen’s Church including cooking the gravy and setting up the table. There were bitter herb, lettuce, roasted lamb, pita bread, charosee, egg, grape juice, salted water, rice and chicken wing, chop suey for around 50 persons. It’s in Cantonese but I had the English version. I used to have Paschal meal in Chicago. Sau Fong and I prepared the flower for the table and the Palm Sunday procession.

St. Stephen’s Church organized the first Palm Sunday procession on the street. It’s around one hour. There were around 400 parishioners with several banners. I was moved when they started to sing in Cantonese.

There is a Cantonese mass at Rosary Chapel on the last Sunday of the month. It’s in the same compound with the convent. I was moved during the pot luck meal and then I remembered the pot luck meal in Chicago with the Indonesians

Sr. Agnes invited my sisters and I for dim sum at her community Fraternity of the Little Sisters of Jesus on March 29, 2010 morning. There were Sr. Claudia, who lives in Macau, and Sr. Madelein.

Sr. Michelle showed Shenzhen Bay from Lau Fau Shan before heading to Boundary Street Convent.

I met Fr. Joseph at St. Cosmas and Damian and also Dominic-a CICM seminarian-and Noel both from Congo.

Thank you very much for your warm welcome, hospitality, gifts, and especially your prayers during my stay in Yuen Long, a rural side of Hong Kong. May God continue to bless you in your missionary journey.

Kowloon Tong-Hong Kong, April 3, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.

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