After the midday rest last July 1, the participants were invited by Sr. Lisbeth, the facilitator of the day to tighten their seat belts for they will travel together in the different countries where the Congregation is present. She then called Sr. Virgie to ‘facilitate’ the trip to Vietnam.
Sr. Virgie then showed a power point presentation of Vietnam. She openly shared their community joys, struggles and challenges like the new rule of the government for her and Sr. Marivic not to live with the aspirants.
What is impressive about the Sisters is their love for life and their joy in spite of their problems and struggles as missionaries. One can learn from them the value of generosity, networking and cooperation. Sr. Virgie emphasized her experience in giving and sharing with others food donated to them has strengthened her faith on the Divine Providence. She quoted the saying: “The more we give, the more we receive.”
After a few minutes break, the airplane took off again and landed in the football country of Brazil. Sr. Theresiata introduced the group to Sr. Evelyn and Sr. Lidwiana, her community members. She was very appreciative of Fr. Jo and his co-priest who were instrumental in the CB Sisters presence in Brazil. She then shared the Sisters’ longing to have their own place to develop and build towards self-reliance. They expressed also their gratitude regarding the financial support they receive from Propaganda Fide from the USA and their stay in the land owned by the Diocese. It is their hope to have a place for the ‘future’ Sisters and vocation from the area.
Who would not smile? With Sr. Karita on the helm, the next day, the group traveled further to Europe, specifically to Belgium. Full of spirit she shared her community’s life, works and apostolate. With only the two of them (Sr. Karita and Sr. Mariani) and a lay lady, they are self-reliant. They even generously contribute to the Solidarity and the Maintenance Fund of the GB, etc. Their presence in Leut, Belgium is highly appreciated. Once, their ministry, St. Vincentius received recognition in their effort to help the poor and the needy in their area.
Still full of awe, the group took a three hour flight to Norway. Sr. Pauline was the guide this time. With sincerity, she shared to the group their (Sr. Stefani and Sr. Pauline) life, works and apostolate. Although one can get the impression that their work as palliative and geriatric nurses is demanding, they are still involve in their parish as priest assistants, in the visitation of the sick and the aged, etc. They receive good salaries which make them self-reliant and generous. They too contribute to the GB maintenance and Solidarity Fund. Questions regarding their health and recreation were raised. One can feel the spirit of unity and solidarity of the Sisters in their silent concern.
The next day, July 2, the group was asked to travel further. This time, the group heard another voice. With her American English twang, Sr. Ancilia joyfully shared about the Sisters’ work, ministries and life in the two communities there. According to her, the Sisters (3 in Silver Spring and 2 in Memphis) are involved in educating kindergarten children. It is their source of income which is enough for their livelihood and budget. They give also their share to the GB maintenance fund. It was impressive to see her share with enthusiasm emphasizing on the love and care they give to the children. She also shared their challenges in living in a ‘materialistic world’.
Still full of enthusiasm, the group took another flight and flew to the far country of Indonesia and landed in Kupang. Sr. Veni and Sr. Elisia welcome everyone. It is a vast country. The Sisters convents are located in different areas. It would take time to visit each community. They shared their problems and struggles in the process of making the Congregation rooted in the area so that they can reach out to more people. Everything seems to be new: the Regional board, convents, hospital and areas of ministries. It is evident that the Sisters need all the support and help they can get. Given time and good management, East Indonesian Region will bloom. There is great hope and possibilities.
Sr. Rosaria asked the participants to tighten their seat belts. The plane is heading to the Philippines where weathers disturbances are common. Sr. Amelita led the group by introducing the new board, the Sisters and some activities of the Region. Sr. Heddy helped and informed the group that they are new as Regional board and Sr. Amelita will act as the new Regional Treasurer. Sr. Heddy conveyed a feeling of confidence in the development of the Region. There is a new kindergarten school that is being upgraded so that it will fully become an elementary school. There are new Filipino aspirants, postulants and novices (canonical and those in the pastoral year). She is happy that in spite of calamities affecting the country, the Sisters and the convents are safe. They are very grateful because through the solidarity and help of the Sisters in different areas that included the Netherland and Indonesia, the CB Sisters in the Philippines were able to extend help not only to displaced families and the Church but also to families of Sisters in the Visayas and Mindanao. Sr. Amelita personally expressed her gratitude. Her family was one of the beneficiaries.
Still praying for the victims of calamities and for the safety of the Sisters, the group decided to travel to Tanzania. Sister, Bernadeth, Sr. Reni and Sr. Inviolata joyfully welcomed the group. They took turn in sharing about their life, works and ministries. It was inspiring. There are many young Sisters and quite a number of them are studying. The Regional Board is practicing good stewardship by investing on the education of the Sisters. Every one hoped and prayed that the Region will continue to grow in all aspects.
From Tanzania, the Sisters tightened their seat belts again. The plane traveled to Indonesia and landed at Soekarno-Hatta airport. Sr. Krispiani, Sr. Franka, Sr. Valentina and Sr. Rita took turn in making the participants busy and informed. The second oldest province of the Congregation, one can see how deeply rooted they are already in Indonesia. Started in 1918, the Province of Indonesia has its share of problems, challenges and greatness. The Sisters from the Province are serving in the different continents of the world helping and supporting the ministries of the Congregation. They invest too in the education of the Sisters and prepare them for future apostolate.
From the biggest Province of the Congregation it was decided to go home and take time at Onder de Bogen, the Mother House where the Congregation found its roots and spread. All are her children. This time, it was Mr. Pijpers, Sr. Blanda and Sr. Angelica who introduced the Sisters to the Mother Province. With smile on their faces and a lift on their steps the Sisters served all those who were present. One can pray for God’s grace to be like them: full of faith, selfless, hospitable and generous to their younger Sisters. Seldom will a request be denied especially when it is for the good of everyone and the Congregation in the area.
God is good! The Congregation has just celebrated the 150th death anniversary of Mother Elisabeth. Everyone is grateful, happy and joyful. Salamat po! Asanti sana! Terima kasih! Tusen takk! Obrigado! Kem-ang! Dank you vel!
May everyone be filled with the same Spirit that guided Mother Elisabeth in founding the Congregation! May God be glorified and His people served!