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My community, orientation team and I started to discern for my renewal of vows last February 2012. Here is part of my discernment: My relationship with God still grows through many simple experiences. In consolation after a simple prayer, in getting sunny days during my laundry days, and in having God’s chosen community. Thanks be to God. By setting aside a certain time for Jesus prayer, help me to manage my time during the day so I can be as generous as possible to the need of others. I realize that I only can do simple things with simple love as I am forgetful, have self-interest and habits. …I am called to hold the differences in love and prayers. One of my favourite quotations is from Jean-Marie Howe: ”...We must let ourselves be plowed so that the furrows of our person become deeper and deeper, so that our earth becomes softer and softer. This is something our being craves, but this plowing is kenosis (emptying, ...) and kenosis is not easy. In the measure that our being becomes porous, open, grace can penetrate to us....”... I am so grateful for my first mission phase experiences in China region as God gives me more than I ask or imagine in my relationship with God, community, personal, language study and ministry life, especially after the death of my beloved father, so that I still can move forward in my Maryknoll journey, to be the Maryknoll Sister as God wants me to be.
Our Congregational Leadership Team gave approval to renew my vows for four years. My renewal of vows was celebrated during the Indonesian Sunday Mass at Christ the King Chapel, Causewaybay-Hong Kong on Aug 5, 2012 as part of vocation promotion during our centennial year.
It’s heavy raining that morning so I only could pray, “Lord, You know it’s not convenience to bring the luggage in raining day, so please stop the rain when it’s time to leave our house.” Around thirty minutes later, the rain stopped and fortunately, Sr. Michelle stopped by with fruits basket and hand bouquet, prepared by Sao Fong, before Lihuan and I left so we got a ride instead of going by bus. Lihuan came from Quanzhou-Fujian to attend the celebration. At the same time, several Indonesians worked in setting up the hall of St. Paul Convent School for the reception including the display board of Maryknoll Sisters. Jatous, the leader of Indonesian Catholic Community Saturday Group, with the help of several women took care of our centennial banner. In the other side of the compound, several dancers were being made up.
There were more than two hundreds thirty people, mostly the Indonesian domestic workers, from various nationalities: Indonesia, PRC, Hong Kong SAR, Vietnam, USA, Italy, British and the Philippines, attended the Mass. It was celebrated in English with several parts in Indonesian, by Fr. Michael Sloboda, MM and Fr. Peter Zhao. The two lectors and reader of prayer of the faithful were Indonesians. There were pink booklets for the Indonesians and blue booklets for the English speakers. The Sisters of St. Paul arranged pink ambiance in that beautiful chapel. Rano, SVD gave welcome note and introduction before the Mass. The choir, led by Yustin with three musicians: Mr. Ferry, Andri and Monty, sang the Ordinarium in Greek and Latin besides several Indonesian songs, including my favourite song “JanjiMu sperti Fajar (=Your promise is like a dawn, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AT1JWhDOJos),” beautifully. Here is the link for the homily: http://anastasialindawatimm.blogspot.com/2012/08/homily-renewal-of-religious-vows-2012.html. Julian help to take video of this celebration and Elly was prepared to be translator if anyone wanted to know more about Maryknoll Sisters.
After profession of faith, Sr. Michelle called me forward in front of the altar. I professed my religious vows calmly: “I, Sister Anastasia Birgitta Lindawati Padmadewi, Oei, in the presence of Sister Michelle Reynolds, delegate of President of the Maryknoll Sisters, vow chastity, poverty, and obedience to God for four 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.” My leg started to shake when listening to the response of my Maryknoll Sisters. The night before, I prayed (again, as I prayed it in the night before my first profession of vows), “God, if You want me to be a Maryknoll Sister, please don’t let me cry.” Thanks God I didn’t cry that day! I also calmly delivered my thank you note: http://anastasialindawatimm.blogspot.com/2012/08/sharing-thank-you-note-renewal-of.html.
My Maryknoll Sisters Maureen, Marilu, Agnes, Joseph Lourdes and Ha brought the offerings: two pink candles, bread and wine and fruit baskets. Sr. Flora, RGS and Sr. Lidwina, SPC were the Eucharistic Ministers.After several group pictures by Margaretha and Bambang, the priests, sisters, and I were welcomed to the hall by a welcome dance, including giving me a “songket” shawl. Rano, SVD and dr. Subiyanto, the MCs, gave the welcome note to the reception and Fr. Michael Sloboda, MM led the English opening prayer. The first two dances were “Tari Maengket (=Maengket Dance)” from Menado http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBS42wkSkV8 and “Tari Tomepare (=Tomepare Dance)” from Toraja. I gave a presentation about Maryknoll Sisters in Indonesian including translating the introduction of the five sisters who were presence. Margaretha, the leader of the Indonesian Catholic Community Sunday group, sang a Cantonese song, “Yan yao ho sam (about Mary who choose to sit and listen to Jesus’ teaching)” followed by “Tari Ngarujeng (=Ngarujeng Dance)” from Java. Several of us joined “Tari Gawi (=Gawi Dance)” from Ende before Cantonese closing prayer by Sr. Sue. It’s a joyful and fun celebration!
Compilation of pictures of this event can be watched at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbXzh5BgbQY&feature=youtu.be and the video can be watched at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/uob2x4ym543za3h/Sr.%20Anas.mov
Once again, thank you very much for all of your help, presence, cards, e-cards, gifts, support and especially your prayers. May God continue to bless your missionary journey.