We are quite an international group of students!
Pictured left to right on a first outing in Chicago: Father Ronaldo from Brazil, last served in the Philippines; Father Jim from Ireland; Sister Judith from Oshkosh, WI, a Sister of the Sorrowful Mother; Sister Lucy from Ireland; Brother Ronald from the US; Sister Lynne; Brother Patrick from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Sister Louise, a Benedictine from Ferdinand, IN; Father Godwin from Nigeria, serving in the US; and Father Harnoko from Indonesia, serving in Japan. (Fathers Harnoko and Ronaldo are from the same community which sends members out in mission.)Additional classmates with Sister Lynne (left) include (left to right): Father Steve, from the US, who has served in Japan, Korea and other countries; Sister Paulina from China; Sister Catherine from Vietnam; Father Edwin from Nigeria; and Father Juwon from Korea.
Last week we had a class on transitions which is especially important since all of us have left home, work, relationships and some have left their countries to come to the program. Classmates in the Institute of Religious Formation come from Ireland (2), China (2), Vietnam (1), Sri Lanka (1), Brazil (1 – serving in the Philippines), Indonesia (1 – serving in Japan), Grenada (1), Democratic Republic of Congo (1) and the US (6). We also share meals, socialize and take some classes with participants in the Hesburgh Sabbatical Program. These students come from India (2), the Netherlands (2), Ghana (1), Singapore (1), Poland (1), the Philippines (1), Korea (1) and the US (8).
On Sunday, September 7, 2014 the folks from China, Korea and Singapore hosted a mid-autumn full moon festival for us all. We had moon cakes from China and Korea, Chinese beer and tea. We heard about the moon festival in the various Asian cultures. One of the Chinese sisters sang a Chinese song and danced. Then we moved into an impromptu group dance to Congolese music. It was quite a mix of cultures.
I was most impressed by the story of the Vietnamese congregation, the Lovers of the Holy Cross. The congregation was founded in 1670 in the northern part of Vietnam. There was much persecution of the Vietnamese church in the 17-18th centuries and at least 130,000 people were martyred. In 1932, the congregation was refounded. Thirteen sisters from this foundation survived during the time of communist rule 1960-90. In 1996, eight sisters made their first profession. They now have 281 sisters and 320 novices.
This week we have classes on the Myers-Briggs personality type inventory, prayer forms and religious life. I’m also taking a class on reconciliation and forgiveness at Chicago Theological Union. Each afternoon I take some time to walk by Lake Michigan while the weather is nice. I enjoy being so close to the lake.
Follow Sister Lynne’s journey: Living in Community – Notes on a Sister’s Time Away for Education