The Sisters are grateful for the opportunity to come together and renew ties besides having the time to look back with gratitude, to live the present meaningfully and renew our commitment to God as we move into the future with greater generosity and renewed zeal in the service of God in the people He sends us to. We reflected on what to let go, what to let be and what to let grow and what we want to let shine. We spent much time with the Lord in the depth and prayer of the heart.
We deepened our understanding of the IJ Spirituality with the help of Sr Maureen, affirmed each other and built on our sense of belonging to the Institute. We reflected on how to accept our stage of life and how to grow old gracefully.
We were given opportunities to look at the life of Blessed Nicholas Bounkerd, an ordinary priest from Thailand who lived his vocation and life fully and was prepared to sacrifice his life for his faith. We learnt of the cultural richness of the people of Thailand and how those who are at the margins of society are being cared for.
We are grateful to the organisers, the Provincials of Asia, and to the host country, Sr Jane and her sisters in Thailand, for making our gathering meaningful and life-giving. We were also blessed to have daily Mass.
Each of us wishes to continue to live our life as a blessing to others. This is expressed firstly by who we are - a person anchored in God and responsive to His call to us, supported by our sisters in community and mission, sharing and being available and contributing according to one’s gifts and talents, at whatever stage of the journey each one is at. Each one is conscious of the need for on-going formation, the need to grow in depth and at the same time being open to change and widen our perspective.
These are proposed suggestions and recommendations for the future.
(1) To plan another reunion with a retreat in 2 years’ time in 2018 and perhaps another one in 2020. (2) To work together in the Asian provinces, to go beyond the boundaries of our respective provinces and countries in building mission partners and sharing mission. (3) To plan a meeting of IJ Sisters and Mission Partners in 2017, if possible, for a few sisters and lay partners from each province with the aim of sharing and deepening our IJ Spirituality and for interaction and networking among the sisters and lay partners in Asia. (4) To have in each province a committee to look at mission awareness and mission development for the future. These committees can network with other provinces in Asia especially. (5) To have joint initial formation for the Provinces in Asia, where every Province may contribute to 3 months (as an example) of the formation of our younger members. This will not only help the newer members to have a sense of belonging to the Asian Provinces and the Institute besides the Province they have joined but it will also help in their bonding as IJs.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, we will continue to be co-creators with God, moving forward in faith, hope and love into the future knowing that whatever happens, we can be at peace as we can trust in our God who loves us excessively and unconditionally. “I am with you always” is the assurance given from Jesus.
Participants Japan: Sisters Kazuko, Kimiko, Noriko Malaysia: Sisters Henrietta, Lourdes Mary, Mary Agnes, Marie Therese, Rita, Rosalind, Stephanie Thailand: Sisters Angela, Apinya, Jane, Maria, Peter, Yupa Singapore: Sisters Agnes, Maria, Simone Resource Person: Sister Maureen Chew
Hua Hin 15 January 2016