The Grace of a New BeginningDecember 5, 2023
Pelayanan Kasih untuk Korban Gunung LewotobiJanuary 30, 2024
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Rm 28:8
My heart is filled with gratitude as I recall our Profession Day and how it came to be. God provided everything according to His timing. Millions thanks to our sisters in Indonesia, specifically those in Bogor and Jakarta, who took on the task of preparing for the Mass and the Celebration within just one month.
Thanks to their hard work, everything was ready on time, affording me ample time to focus on preparing my heart.
Everything proceeded smoothly and harmoniously. It all began with the date itself, Sunday, 26 November 2023, which coincided with the Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe. This date perfectly matched the theme and artwork that I had received from the Lord during my 30-day retreat, two months prior!
Additionally, the Chapel’s name, Immaculate Conception, held significance as the day I professed my first vows. Furthermore, I was blessed to have Sr. Wilhelmina Maxi, FMM, who pronounced her first vow as a companion on this journey.
We were also fortunate to have Fr. Mikael Peruhe OFM, the Provincial Minister of OFM Indonesia, to receive our vows. On the day itself, Fr. Sebatian Gaguk OFM, Fr. Yohanes Baptista Effendi Marut OFM, and Fr. Nanang also concelebrated the Mass.
The sisters meticulously handled everything, allowing me to focus on preparing my heart. I was blessed to have Fr. Martin Harun OFM accompany me for a Triduum a week before the date at Samadi Shalom, Sindanglaya. Even the journey via public transport there became a mini adventure for me.
Then came the awaited day. On 26 November 2023, in the early morning, I woke up and spent quiet time with the Lord before everyone else was up.
I took a walk around to soak in the ambiance before everyone arrived. The Chapel was beautifully decorated with flowers given and arranged by our generous benefactor. Everything was in place and ready. Around 8:30 am, sisters, my family, and guests started streaming in.
I was deeply touched and grateful for those who came all the way from Singapore. It was a joyous occasion seeing my sisters from Malaysia-Singapore and Australia, and having three of our aspirants bear witness on this important day.
The gathering felt like a mini reunion with sisters whom I had met in the Philippines and collaborated with for vocation promotions. Whenever FMM sisters meet, immediate joy and laughter resonate.
At 10 AM, the Eucharistic celebration commenced, and I felt butterflies in my stomach. I was nervous yet simultaneously felt peaceful and joyful inside. The Seminarian Choir began the celebration with the song “You Are Mine,” beautifully singing Indonesian, English, and Latin songs.
The entire liturgy was conducted alternately in Bahasa Indonesia and English. Fr. Mikael’s homily reminded us that our presence there stemmed from our individual experiences with the Good Shepherd, who went the extra mile to seek us out. It’s the profound experience of God’s immense love that prompted our response through this Profession.
Our relationship of love with the Good Shepherd sustains us in this life, giving meaning to our offering. Thus, we must nurture this relationship, as it compels us to aid others who hunger, thirst, are strangers, sick, naked, and imprisoned.
Following the Homily, the Rite of the Professions began with the invocation of the Holy Spirit upon both of us. Calmness filled my heart, and subsequently, I was ready to proceed. Sr. Helmi initiated the rite to pronounce her First Vows, received by Sr. Bernadetta Juliati, FMM, on behalf of the Institute.
Listening to her, I was reminded of God’s faithfulness and how my journey began. Afterwards, it was my turn. Sr. Elizabeth Tan B.L., FMM, received my vows on behalf of the Institute. The Holy Spirit filled my heart and mind. I remained calm and confident beyond my expectations.
The words flowed naturally from my heart through my mouth. Though speaking to Sr. Liz, I knew I was conversing with God. I felt His loving presence. I received the candle, symbolizing the new life received at Baptism.
Then came another beautiful surprise. While the Litany of the Saints was sung as an invocation of their intercession, known only by a few sisters at that time, our dear Sr. Leoni Surya, FMM (84 years old), passed on to Our Father’s house in our Jakarta convent. She had been unwell, but the timing of the Lord calling her home was remarkable. It initially seemed contradictory to the celebration.
However, later that evening, as I unknowingly sat in her usual seat in the Jakarta Chapel during her Requiem Mass, I received insight. Sr. Leonie’s passing was perceived as a sign of God’s blessing upon our self-offerings and the Institute. It signified a new beginning in Our Father’s house in heaven for her and a new chapter in Our Father’s house on earth for me and Helmi.
I feel our souls are connected in the Lord. The words of the vows I pronounced, “…I ask the grace to be faithful until death,” now resonate even deeper. The Rite continued, and I received the blessed ring, symbolizing my consecration to Christ. Then, the missionary cross, a source of guidance in my apostolic journey.
Another poignant moment for me was when I knelt down to receive the blessing from all the celebrants and sisters. I sensed our unity, bonded by our vows to each other in the Lord, in joy and sorrow, until death reunites us in our heavenly home. Finally, the document was signed, and it was official!
The celebration continued with the Eucharist. After Communion, both of us went to kneel at the foot of Our Mother, accompanied by Sr. Juliati and Sr. Liz. We entrusted ourselves to her care and intercessions, while the congregation sang the Ave Maria of the Institute. Before the final blessing, Sr. Helmi’s sister expressed gratitude on behalf of the families.
Then, on behalf of both of us, I conveyed our words of thanks. Subsequently, Sr. Juliati and Sr. Liz also expressed their gratitude. Then came the anticipated moment: Sr. Helmi was sent to Flores by Sr. Juliati, and I was sent to the JASMYM Region by Sr. Liz. We concluded the beautiful Eucharistic celebration with the Father’s blessings and the song “Wherever you go”. A photo session ensued after the Mass with various groups of guests.
Following this, the celebration continued with lunch and a few performances by our aspirants, pre-novices, and younger generation sisters at our Regina Pacis school hall. To start the lunch, we had the cutting of the “Nasi Tumpeng,” symbolizing respect to our parents. During the meal, I took the opportunity to share my faith journey through art with those present. It was my way of expressing gratitude for the journey traveled and welcoming the future.
Now, I embark on the journey ahead: ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation’ (Mark 16:15).”
By Susanna Gunawan, FMM