Sharing: An HIV/AIDS Ministry Sees Hope

As part of my first-year orientation as a candidate in the Maryknoll Sisters, I had ministry in a transitional living recovery home. This home offers adult men and women with HIV/AIDS, who were homeless or at-risk of homelessness, a chance to rebuild and reclaim their lives. The spiritual care offered recognizes that while exploration of faith and spirituality is a personal choice, it frequently plays a powerful role in recovery and reclaiming one’s life.
My friend and I attended the Bible Study led by the spiritual care coordinator. We took turns reading Scripture passages and sharing our experiences and thoughts related to the passages. Bible Study was not a favorite activity, as there was no one who came faithfully; residents came in and out as they wanted.
My friend and I stayed in the dining room after Bible Study and tried to make conversation with the residents. There were various persons coming in and out, so we could only have short conversations. When we played rummikub in the dining room, there were several residents, even some staff, who were asking what was the game, how to play, who was the winner, but they never wanted to play for various reasons.
One of the residents was willing to share his life experiences. It was my first time to know more about a resident’s addiction history. When he could not attend Bible Study anymore, sometimes we had conversations in the dining room. He always said “I miss you guys” each time we met. One day he told the spiritual care coordinator that he enjoyed speaking with us. It was really a compliment for us. Another resident gave me a hug when he visited the recovery house several weeks after moving out.
I had better relationships with the residents by being present in the dining room. At first I was a stranger, but finally they knew my regular presence and even started to make conversation. At first our visit was for Bible Study, but we got invitations to come even though there was no Bible Study.
Looking at the residents, I would never think they are people with HIV/AIDS; they looked healthy. This was a general condition at the home. I only realized that I was in a transitional recovery house when I was asked to wash my hands upon arriving and leaving, as was requested by one of the residents after several visits.
Knowing the residents changed my perspective that people with HIV/AIDS are not always dying persons. I see hope for them, especially when I heard several residents would move out to their own apartment. How I experienced this ministry was not only about giving but also about receiving.


Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Re-posting from Chicago House Formation Blog of Maryknoll Sisters Website: http://www.mklsisters.org/index.php?option=com_mojo&Itemid=28&cat=3&paged=2

Sharing: Nine Days in Macau







As my sharing “Twelve Days in Ho Man Tin” ( http://anastasialindawatimm.blogspot.com/2010/05/sharing-twelve-days-in-ho-man-tin.html), I went to Macau ferry terminal by bus from our King’s Park convent on Apr 30, 2010. I inserted my Hong Kong Identity card and then placed my thumb nail to Hong Kong immigration machine without showing my pasport. Sr. Annie met me at Macau ferry terminal and then went to our Macau’s convent at Iao Hon by bus. Then, my sisters and I attended the opening of posthumous exhibition of works by Wu Cho-bun, who specialised in painting animals in particular tigers, at Macau Museum of Art (http://www.artmuseum.gov.mo/mamintro_e.asp).
We attended the Mass of the 11th Anniversary of St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church (http://www.olamacauguide.com/stjosephchurch.html) on May 1 in English, Mandarin and Cantonese which was celebrated by Bishop José Lai Hung-Seng and more than 10 priests. There were more than 10 altar boys and girls. I was moved when 4 deaf persons prayed Our Father in sign language in front of the altar. The celebration continued with dinner, dances and games at parish hall.
Sr. Annie and I went to Fatima Elderly Center the next day as she would measure the blood pressure and body temperature of whoever is coming. Then we attended Cantonese Sunday mass at Our Lady of Fatima Church (http://www.olamacauguide.com/fatimachurch.html). We went to Three Lamps (=Sam Jan Dang) as we wanted to buy Indonesian ingredients for cooking. We bought the Indonesian ingredients at a Thailand store. I got the direction to the store from the Indonesians in the street. Umi and her friend, both Indonesian women, told me that we could buy Indonesian meal at her friend’s apartment nearby. Then Sr. Sue joined us to have “nasi pecel” (=Indonesian peanut sauce salad) and “soto ayam” (=chicken yellow soup) in their 2 bedrooms apartment. I prepared “nasi pecel”, “soto ayam” and “krupuk udang” (=shrimp cracker) for dinner.
I attended the Cantonese mass at St. Francis Xavier Church on May 3. Sr. Arlene, Sr. Sue and I went to OCSO Monastery in Penha Hill also known as Bishop Hill. There are three sisters of OCSO Gedono-Indonesia: Sr. Gabriela (I heard about her and her sister as both of them are in OCSO Gedono and from my home town Jombang), Sr. Paula and Sr. Caterina. I had spiritual direction with Sr. Caterina during my come and see in OCSO Gedono in 2006. They are in the process of getting the approval to build their monastery in Coloane Island.
I attended the Cantonese mass at St. Joseph Church the next day. Sr. Arlene and I went to Kun Iam Temple, and then went to Senado Square by bus and walked to St. Dominic Church, Treasure of Sacred Art Museum of St. Dominic Church, the Ruins of St. Paul’s and Mount Fortress. There are so many stores of barbequed meat and almond cookies which are the famous snacks of Macau along the way to the Ruins of St. Paul’s. We had lunch at a Macanese restaurant and then went to City of Dreams at Cotai by their free bus from Macau. We watched a 10-minutes visual show “Dragon’s Treasure” at a dome-shaped theatre “The Buble.” We crossed the street to see the gondola ride at the Venetian.
I went to St. Joseph School to attend the two English classes of Sr. Sue after attending the Cantonese mass at St. Francis Xavier Church on May 5. I introduced myself and had a short conversation with them. I went to A-Ma Festival alone to see the Chinese Opera in a specially constructed bamboo shed. As I can’t speak Cantonese, the organizer allowed me to sit in for 10 minutes without asking me to buy the ticket.
I attended the Cantonese mass at Our Lady of Fatima Church the next day then went to St. Theresa School to attend the three English classes of Sr. Sue. I also attended two English classes of Sr. Arlene and had conversation with them. One of the women at Fatima Elderly Center taught me in Cantonese how to play bingo in the afternoon. When Sr. Annie should make a phone call, I replaced her to pick up the number, showed it to them and one of the elderly women said the number loudly. As there was only one (cake) prize of the first batches left, “my teacher” place it in front of me but then I placed it back quietly as I placed the second batch of the prizes. At the end of the games, she gave one of her prizes and Sr. Annie’s to me as she knew that I didn’t get any prizes. I purposely didn’t pick up my prizes. I went to St. Joseph Church in the evening to attend the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) by Sr. Sue and Fr. Manuel, MCCJ but it was cancelled as there was only one participant.
After attending the Cantonese mass at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Sr. Annie, Sr. Helen, Fr. Jose, SVD and I had breakfast at Sr. Helen’s office on May 7. I helped Sr. Annie to measure the body temperature of the elderly at Fatima Elderly Center as she measured their blood pressure. One of the elderly women talked to me in Cantonese for a while even though I only could smile at her. I joined around 80 elderly of Fatima Elderly Center to visit Macao Science Museum and then we had a free lunch from a vegetarian restaurant. Sr. Annie and I went to an elderly home Asilo Santa Maria as she would cut their toe nails including fungus toe nails. Sr. Annie asked if I wanted to give a feet-massage by wearing gloves after she cut the toe nails. I did it. I went to English class of Sr. Sue at Pastoral Center but the staff didn’t allow me to sit in as they didn’t really understand what I said in English and Sr. Sue already started the class.
I attended the Cantonese mass at St. Joseph Church the next day. Sr. Annie cut the toe nails and gave a few minutes feet-massage to an elderly woman and then measured the blood pressure of several elderly in one of their home. After that, we went to Caritas rice distribution site as Sr. Annie would measure the blood pressure. I wrote their blood pressure in a piece of paper and gave it to them. There were around 65 persons from 10.30 – 1.00 p.m. We went to an elderly home Santa Madalena as Sr. Annie would cut their toe nails and I would give a few minutes feet-massage. I met Sr. Julita, FDCC from Flores Indonesia.
Every mother who attended the Cantonese mass at St. Joseph Church received a floral bracelet for the Mother’s day. A boy gave a dark pink one to me, as he didn’t know I am a sister, but one of the women say it’s ok so I exchanged it with the light pink one. I was moved when looking at the deaf people in the sign language during the mass. I couldn’t hold my tears when the choir sang a Cantonese dedication song for all the mothers who were asked to stand up and wear the bracelet.
I went with Srs. Anne, Arlene and Sue to Macau ferry terminal as we would have our Sunday retreat at Maryknoll Fathers Stanley-Hong Kong and then I would go home to Boundary Street Convent. I couldn’t hold my tears again when I answered to Sr. Sue about my Macau trip that I couldn’t hold my tears when I heard the dedication song for the mothers.
When I went out with my (western) sisters, sometimes people would talk to me while looked at me so I only could smile and of course my sisters would answer them.
Thank you very much for all of your warm welcome, hospitality, cards, gifts, and especially your prayers during my stay in Macau. May God continue to bless you in your missionary journey.

Kowloon Tong-Hong Kong, May 10, 2010


Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: Twelve Days in Ho Man Tin


Our community in King’s Park was my second visit to our communities in China Region. I walked to King’s Park convent on April 18, 2010 and then left after lunch for Indonesian mass and Oikumene Easter Celebration.
After mass at St. Theresa’s Church on April 19, 2010, I went to school to attend the English classes and introduced myself at the beginning of the classes.
I attended the meeting of Maryknoll Medical and Welfare Association, which organizes fundraising for Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital including annual raffle tickets. I attended Taize prayer at St. Cosmas and Damian’ Church in the evening.
Several staffs including Joseph gave a tour at Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital (OLMH http://www.olmh-hk.com/Eng/index_eng.html) on Apr 21, 2010. I accompanied Helen to take care 6 patients in their apartments nearby including changing bandage and cateter. Helen is one of the nurses at Community Nurse Service in OLMH which is
a public-private interface programme, as well as private convalescent beds for discharged palliative care patients.
I visited to Asian Human Right Commision (http://www.ahrchk.net/index.php). I was introduced to all the staffs and got their writing about human right in Indonesia. We attended the Celebration of Life of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar who is a patriot, scholar, thinker and Founding Father of the Indian Constitution.

I attended the meeting with the students who went to Maryknoll Sisters Center New York for their heritage trip. I was moved when I saw the pictures of their “sending off” back to Hong Kong by our sisters from main door. It reminded me of my own sending off last December. I attended the Cantonese meeting of Legion of Mary Praesidia Queen of Angels. Then I attended a Cantonese mass at Hong Kong University celebrated by Fr. Paul.

My sisters and I went to Stanley market to buy items to be sold at our International Bazaar in New York.

I attended the Vocation Gathering for 47th World Day of Prayer for Vacations “Witness Awakens Vocations” at Immaculate of Mary’s Church-Tai Po on April 25, 2010. There were Cantonese mass, exhibition, presentation of each religious congregation (mostly women religious) and Taize prayer. My sister introduced Maryknoll Sisters in Cantonese while I introduced myself in English.

I went to Yale-China Chinese Language Centre Chinese University of Hong Kong (http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/clc/regular.htm#1). I got the schedule as the person in charge for the program was not available. It’s a very big campus including sports fields, two lanes for bus so students can commute inside the campus.

I was introduced to several organizations which have an office in the annex of our convent. There are the offices of Asian Center for the Progress of Peoples (http://www.acpp.org/) Society for Community Organization (http://www.soco.org.hk/), and Association for International Teaching, Educational and Curriculum Exchange
(http://www.aitece.com/). We also visited Diocesan Pastoral Centre for the Disabled (http://www.dpcd.org.hk/) nearby which also known as Stone Church.
I had a little stye in my eye so I went to
Optometry at Community Specialist Service of Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital and then had supper out with my sisters. I also had lunch with my uncle, cousin and her husband.
My sister made walnut brownies for my last supper at King’s Park and then I attended mass at Stone Church. There were several people in wheel chairs. It reminded me of my mass with our elderly sisters in our nursing home in New York.
As King’s Park convent is walking distance from my home at Boundary Street convent so I went to home several times to say good bye to Sr. Joseph Lourdes who would go home to Philippines, Sr. Agnes who would go home to New York and to pick up or drop off things including picked up my passport and Hong Kong ID as I would go to Macau on Apr 30, 2010.
Thank you very much for your warm welcome, hospitality, gifts, and especially your prayers during my stay in King’s Park convent. May God continue to bless you in your missionary journey.

Iau Hon – Macau, May 3, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.

Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible