Baru-baru ini saya menerima sepucuk surat dari seorang wanita yang…
Towards my last year in school, there was a Vocation Exhibition. As I was looking for a direction in life, I took the opportunity to visit the exhibition with the hope that I could find something there that would speak to me in a meaningful way. At one of the stalls, I picked up a small booklet on the life of Saint Mary Euphrasia Pelletier. The saint’s life was very captivating and her words about herself were very inspiring – “I had no great talents, nor have I done anything great … I only loved. But I love with all the strength of my soul …” These words brought to mind what an unknown author said – “If your heart is full of love, you will always have something to give.” Somehow I knew that God had given me the direction I was praying for. I believe that God invited me to live the Gospel in the spirit of St Mary Euphrasia.
That was more than 50 years ago. So in 1962, I left Penang to join the Congregation of the Good Shepherd Sisters which had its Formation House in Singapore. I made my First Religious Profession on the Feast of St Joseph, March 19, 1965.
From the beginning, I found much meaning in following Jesus, the Good Shepherd who has called me to continue his redemptive mission. The following extract from my Congregation’s Constitutions summarizes the Mission that I am called to live – “The Father, who is rich in mercy, sent his Son to bring good news to the poor, to set free the oppressed, to heal, to seek and to save what was lost. Jesus continues to encompass with love all afflicted with human weakness … He reveals God’s mercy through a love which overcomes all sin and infidelity. The Church entrusts to us a share in her mission of reconciliation.” The Good Shepherd Mission is a mission of compassion and reconciliation that embraces people who have experienced injustice, oppression and alienation, especially women and children; awakening in each a sense of uniqueness, worth and inestimable value.
Together with Good Shepherd Lay Mission Partners, our Mission is made visible through our ministries which continue to expand, evolve and find new ways to meet the needs of our ever changing times. St Mary Euphrasia reminds us that “old stars burn out and die, look to new horizons and even beyond” because “our zeal must embrace the whole world.” Our 4th Vow of Zeal gives us a universal thrust to embrace the world, to look beyond the needs of our geographical boundaries, to those of the universal church and the world.
As I look over my 50 years as a Good Shepherd Sister, I am grateful to have had the opportunity of having lived my Mission in many various ministries among which were my experiences in our residential centres for women and teenage girls, in vocational, secondary and pre-primary schools and in formation and pastoral ministries. What gives meaning to my religious life and ministry? I believe the following has given me meaning: to consciously deepen my personal relationship with Jesus who is my faithful Shepherd, to try to live his values of compassionate love and reconciliation, and to model my spirituality on my foundress “to love with all the strength of my soul.”
If I were to summarize how I have experienced God who has invited me to follow him as a Good Shepherd Sister, I am grateful to share that my experience of God can be expressed in the theme that I have chosen for my 50th Anniversary below:
“Great is thy faithfulness O God of compassion. Morning by morning, new blessings I see …”