Sharing: Interreligius Friendship

          I met an older lady when we were on an outing arranged by the school, we sat at the same table one morning and she started to tell me a little bit about her life. 
            She was born and raised as a Catholic in USA and then at age 30 she became a Buddist.  My life is otherwise, I was born and raised in a Buddist family in Indonesia and then at the age 18, I decided to be baptized as a Catholic after attending Catholic schools since kindergarten.  I feel God put us together to share our life stories, a westerner with eastern religion and an easterner with western religion. 
            Around 10 years ago she left USA went to Italy, Slovenia, India, then Nepal, all on her way to China.  She has had three biracial daughters.  Before she left the USA, she had been put on a medication for a blood condition, then once in Italy and her medication ran out, she stopped taking the medicine.  Since then she has been normal and healthy.
            She made several meditation retreats in India, where some of her ancestors are from.   She was a novice in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal for six months, but they told her that she was too old to formally be a nun.  She left to come to China.  While she was on her way to China, she kept thinking she would like to adopt a Chinese child, an orphan, to be her own child and raise that child here in China, but it hasn’t worked out like that, yet.  She volunteers teaching art to Chinese children at a youth center and also reads stories in English at the children’s library.
            We have been out together several times including trips to reflexiology or accompanying her to have accupuncture therapy.  We had dinner with Maryknoll Sisters after visiting several places in Macau.  One day after a medical check up, she treated me to an Indonesian meal and she really likes Indonesian foods.
            She doesn’t have computer or internet so I tried to help her send an email to her lawyer, unfortunately it failed.  She doesn’t make international phone calls so I offered to help her so she could call her daughters, but she didn’t want to do it yet.
            One afternoon, I invited her to try an Indonesian dessert in my dormitory.  It was her first visit to my dorm, she told me she had learned her first daughter had passed away eight months before.  The US Consulate called, trying to locate her at her third daughter’s request.  That daughter was quite  upset, as she had handled the funeral arrangements for her sister by herself, only two weeks before the birth of her second child.  I could only pray for them.            Her relationship with her daughter is getting better, especially now that once a week her daughter calls from the USA and grandmother sends toys, gifts and letters for her grandsons, and also the newest pictures that we took together in a lovely garden.  Thanks be to God.
            One of the Maryknoll Sisters suggested she write her life story, so she is working on that but it’s a long story.
            Most recently we watched a movie “PeachSister - a Simple Life” together with a Chinese friend of hers.  It was very moving story about the life of an older woman based on the true story of the producer, Roger Lee, and his servant.  The film tells of a heartwarming relationship between a young master of a big family, Roger (Lau) and a family servant who raised him, Sister Peach (Ip).  Usually my friend doesn’t go out at night so I know she really wanted to watch this movie, as it started at 7.30 p.m.  My friend lives alone very simply, and I am also trying to live out my own commitment to live simply.  

Hong Kong, June 6, 2013

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