Homily: Welcome and Reception of Maryknoll Sister Candidates 2007

We gather here today with great joy as we celebrate the Welcoming of Genie, Laura, and Linda into the Maryknoll Sisters' community as Sister Candidates,where they'll enter a new phase of their discernment to a life of service in community and mission with the Maryknoll Sisters. 
We also celebrate this special occasion of Abby's Reception into her Canonical Year as she continues to deepen the journey she began with Maryknoll as a Sister Candidate just last year. 
Each of these women have come to Maryknoll from the professional world, where they had careers and were already serving God and living their faith before finding their way to the Maryknoll Sisters' community.
Each one of these women has a unique vocation story to tell of how God led them to the Maryknoll Sisters through their desire to give themselves more fully to the service of God through a deeper experience of community and a call to cross-cultural mission. 
And so our hearts ring out with joy today, as the words of the psalmist echo through this gathered assembly: "I will play for God on my harp,with my lute and ten-stringed lyre. I will greet the Lord with my song. I will sing of the ways of my God."
How fitting is this joy of ours, Abby, Genie, Laura, Linda, as we celebrate with you this great call from God, to which you have opened your hearts and responded with "yes!" But I'm sure that you still have moments of hesitation, when you ask yourself, "what am I getting myself into?" or  "Just what exactly am I saying yes to?" 
Who isn't taken aback by the words from the prophet Jeremiah, where he says: Now the word of God came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet (a prophettess) to the nations. . . .     I have appointed you . . . to pluck up and to break down,to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant."
What an order this is, the job description of a prophet and prophetess, to denounce the injustices of this world, so many they truly are, and to anounce the Good News of God's Kin-dom, where we commit ourselves to being co-creators of a world where dignity, equality, and respect are the primary values by which we live as brothers and sisters in Christ. Wow!   
I can remember back to when I was studying Philosophy, before coming into Maryknoll. As I had more time for reflection, I started experiencing some anxiety and began reconsidering.
I remember speaking with a wise and humble 80-year old Monsignor, who had decided to go back to seminary and finish his M.Div. degree, since that wasn't required at the time he was ordained. I really admired this in him and so I asked if we could talk. I shared with Bill that I felt called to be a missioner, but that I really had a low self-confidence. I didn't think that I had what it took, to be a great missioner, like so many I knew.
I still remember how Bill looked at me with so much love and understanding in that smile of his, and he said to me, "I don't see that as a liability."  He said, I think it's good that you don't have a lot of confidence, because then you will have to depend upon God instead of relying on yourself. Then he said with a grin, "That's a gift!"
This is the same response that God gave to the prophet Jeremiah when he responded to God's call saying, But I don't know how to speak.  I'm too young! 
And God responded, Don't worry!  I'm leading you. Don't be scared!  You don't have to do it alone. I will give you the words and I 'll send you the strength you'll need. Just listen to my will.  Stay connected to me. We will be partners in this project. Co-creators of a more just and loving world.
O.K. that's better.  Maybe I can handle that.
Well, you know us humans. We give it over to God and then we take it back again. So often, we're tempted to believe that so much of it depends upon us. We want to take control and make sure it gets done, our way. That's where prayer comes in. And if we forget to pray, some thing or somebody will humble us and remind us that we can't do it alone. We need to be connected to God at all times.  When we get involved in ministry, we can so easily fall into the "Martha-mode." Working and expending all of our energy on so many good and admirable things and forget about the importance of prayer. Actually, Martha, in the Gospel, was only doing what was expected of a woman in those days, to wait on the visitor and offer hospitality. She was justified in her anger that Mary wasn't helping out.
Really though, this story is about something much more radical than that. Mary was sitting at Jesus' feet and listening to him speak. Disciples sat at their Master's feet to study and learn from them. So Mary was assuming the role of a disciple of Jesus.  What's so radical about that? In those days, a woman was prohibited from reading and studying the Torah, the law.  This was something reserved only for men.  And so when Martha protested that Mary was doing something that was only allowed for men, Jesus responded, "Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."So, not only was Jesus affirming Mary's desire to study and learn, but he said that this will not be taken from her! Jesus was making a very radical feminist statement, saying that women had an equal right to study and learn the Torah, and to be his disciples.  Now that's even prophetic still, in our day and age, unfortunately. 
I think the words of Mother Mary Joseph, found on the inside back cover of the program, speak so well of the importance of balance and harmony in our lives as missioners. She says: "We soon learned that a missioner must be a contemplative in action: that our hearts must be on fire with the love of God, [people and all creation] faithfulness to times of prayer and trying to be constantly mindful of God's presence in our hearts."
Abby, Genie, Laura, Linda, you have chosen the symbol of the Chi Rho for the front cover of the program for this ceremony. But there's something different about this Chi Rho that we so often see as the symbol of Maryknoll's commitment. This Chi Rho you have chosen is made of bamboo, which for many Asian cultures is a powerful symbol of both strength and flexibility. Our prayer for you today is that you will grow to be as sturdy and flexible as the bamboo plant. May you become firmly rooted in the Word of God, as you sit at the feet of Jesus, listening to the gentle whisper within your heart on your journey of discipleship.
And may you blossom in flexibility and adaptability as you encounter challenges that will call upon you to love in even deeper ways than you may have ever imagined possible. May God bless you as you respond to the call to mission!

August 11, 2007

Fr. Dennis Moorman, MM

Sharing: The Last Two Months of the Last Semester

          I was in Hong Kong during Labor Day so I enjoyed the visit of Clarissa, one of the pastors of Free Evangelical Church of China, and attending the Mother’s Day celebration held by Serra Club www.serraclubhk.com and Association of Major Superiors of Women Religious in Hong Kong at Craigengower Cricket Club.
            My friend asked me to accompany her to attend the English Mass at St. Francis Asisi Church, so a volunteer at Cathedral led us the way including treat us for lunch before we left Cathedral.  It’s my second Sunday Mass because I attended Mandarin Mass in the morning at Cathedral and planned to attend RCIA in the afternoon.  Upon arrived the Church, the pastoral sister asked us to join the choir as there is only a few in the choir. As I remember it’s my first time to wear the choir uniform which only can be worn by parishioners. 
            My friends from Mexico, Indonesia, Equador, and China attended the first Guangzhou Diocese Youth Day on May 5.  I am helping here and there.  The story about it can be read at: http://anastasialindawatimm.blogspot.hk/2012/07/sharing.html
            I joined the school outing to Liwan Library and the Chinese Corner about Dragon Boat Festival including learned to make dumpling ((zòng)(zi)). I attended the GIVEN choir concert at Shamian Church on Pentacost day.  My tutor invited me to see the traditional things in Guangzhou e.g. embroidery, martial art, and wooden furniture.  I also joined the trip to St. Francis Asisi Tomb’s Monument, the story about it can be read at: http://anastasialindawatimm.blogspot.hk/2012/06/sharing-second-birthday-in-guangzhou.html
             There were final exams on the second week of June for five days and then the graduation ceremony was on June 18, 2012.  Srs. Sue Glass and Annie Emdin came from Macau so they treated me for birthday and graduation lunch and then we attended the graduation ceremony.  One of my pictures “Sunset in Bali island” won the third place so I got RMB. 100.00. My grades in listening 84, conversation 88, intensive reading 81.975, extensive reading 81, writing 84.  As the school offered free classes in intensive reading and conversation taught by master degree students starting Jun 19, I attended the classes till the last day of my stay in dormitory, Jul 4. 
            I stayed in Hong Kong on Jul 23-26 as several sisters and I had a meeting in Maryknoll Stanley http://stanleymaryknoll.typepad.com/chinahands/2010/07/the-stanley-house-a-short-history.html
            As our days together getting to end, our class leader, an Iraqi Moslem from UK, invited us to had pot luck lunch and then he also invited us to share meal at Al-rafedain restaurant.  I enjoyed the Mexican foods to celebrate one of my classmates’ birthday.   An Yu treated me for a Chongqing meal as I would leave Guangzhou soon.      
            Irene, Johny and I visited Huiling workshop to help for a while before going to have meal at Al-rafedain restaurant.   Steaven, Li Fei, Christopher and I joined the trip arranged by Sr. Chen, the pastoral sister of Shamian Church, to attend the Mass for the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul at St. Peter and St. Paul Church Huiyang, around 2.5 hours from Guangzhou.  We sang “Sungai SukacitaMu” on the bus as the rest of the group wanted to hear Indonesian song.  Bishop Gan was the main celebrant with six conselebrants.  I met several parishioners from Guangzhou, who came in different groups.  After lunch, twenty five of us visited a leprocy center in Huizhou.  We visited every house by two or three and then had group interaction.  We sang “Sungai SukacitaMu” again, this time with action.   
            Joanna and I visited Liurong Pagoda http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/guangdong/guangzhou/six_tree.htm and Guangxiao Temple http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/guangdong/guangzhou/bright_filial.htm and then Liz, Irene, Natalia and I visited Nansha Temple http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/guangdong/guangzhou/nansha-tianhou-palace.htm
            I invited several friends to have Indonesian dessert on Jul 3.  There were 11 students from seven countries including Indonesia, who stayed till around 12.00 p.m.  An Iraqi Moslem from UK said that he likes the screensaver in my laptop “Here am I Lord” so I told him that it’s the answer of Mother Mary during Annunciation. 
            After finalizing packing my belongings and put it in Mariela’s room and Natalia’s room, I attended my last free classes.  I checked out from the dormitory around 12.00 and then had lunch with one of our teachers and two friends.
            Natalia, Joanna and Eunsun helped me to bring part of my belongings including winter clothes for a leprocy center and toys for an orphanage from several students to Shamian Church on Jul 4.  Sr. Chen prepared welcome dinner for four of us and several parishioners of Shamian Church.
Hong Kong, 24 Jul, 2012

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

Poem: A Sister Visits Women Prisoners

P.S. According to Stean Anthony, http://www35.tok2.com/home/stean2/, this poem was written from a sentence in my blog: http://anastasialindawatimm.blogspot.hk/2012/01/sharing-last-two-months-of-third.html

Sharing: 广州教区第一届教区青年节

                                   512      星期日        
     今天早上8.00点我跟三名从印尼,墨西哥,和厄瓜多尔的留学生一起坐地铁去石室教堂,我们要参加广州教区第一届教区青年节。 说老实话,我要帮忙因为我觉得我不是年青人,我太老了。在那儿有好几名年青人从东莞来的。
     我帮忙给盒饭,他们排队一组一组因为有大概160人, 包括年青人和中老年人。吃饭以后,两位修女告诉她们的修会。
     我帮收拾大礼堂然后跟修女一起吃饭。吃饭后,我参加普通话弥撒,然后认识四名女孩,她们在我旁边坐。我跟我三名新朋友去大礼堂泰泽祈祷:为512地震祈祷,很感动。我跟我印尼朋友晚上1030 点才到回宿舍。