|Indonesia – Philippines – India: Feed-back on World Youth Day 2008|
|Living in an Indigenous Australian community|
|International and intergenerational experience|
|Testimony of Diana Hayes, rscj|
Preparation In Indonesia : Indonesia – Philippines – India Collaboration
By Beth, rscj novice from the Philippines
Front: Era, Cilla; 2nd row: Beth, Tri, Tencia; 3rd row: Diana, rscj, Intan
It was a big surprise for us, religious of the Sacred Heart in the Indonesian Area when in February we received a very generous offer from our Australia-New Zealand's sisters to sponsor 6 persons to attend the MAGiS ’08 and World Youth Day ’08 in Sydney. The community agreed to send the three of us in initial formation : Beth (novice from the Philipppines), Era (Indonesian novice) and Tencia (postulant from East Timor, now novice); and to find three other young women from the community’s friends. Cilla, Intan and Tri were chosen. Preparations started right away. English classes were given by Sr. Murph and Sr. Sally. The Area also invited Sr. Ambuja from India to give intensive classes in English. She came in May and immediately started teaching the group. It was not only learning English but the course was really geared towards the trip to Australia and the possible experiences we will have during Magis and WYD. Sr. Ambuja also facilitated a study of Australia particularly Sydney and the indigenous Australians. We learned about the Stolen Generations and watched the film “Rabbit-Proof Fence”. Not only did we gain information about the indigenous peoples but were also led to reflect on their sufferings. It was a big joy for everybody when news came that we were assigned to be with indigenous Australian kids for our Magis Experiment. Sr. Ambuja also gave the whole group a recollection before our departure. And so we left Jakarta filled with excitement and spirit to share our faith to the world’s youth!
International MAGiS experiment with an Indigenous Australian community
Testimony of Tencia, rscj postulant from East Timor (now novice)
The MAGiS Experiment was the pre-World Youth Day program organized by five congregations (one of which is the Society of the Sacred Heart). Experiments were immersion experiences in a multicultural and spiritual community. As presented by Beth, rscj novice, the six of us who represented RSCJ-Indonesia were assigned to go to an Experiment with an Indigenous Australian community in Bowraville, a town 524 km north of Sydney. We were with a group from the US and Australia. The Experiment was facilitated by Penny Sturrock and Alex Gorman, both alumni of Kincoppal-Rose Bay, Diana Hayes, rscj and Mary Shanahan, rscj. Our Experiment group conducted a children’s camp in the school for indigenous Australian kids. We spent the days playing with the children, feeding them, and doing art works with them. We also visited and prayed at a memorial for 3 children who had been murdered some years ago.”
For me, MAGiS has been like a gift from God, something very precious for my life-because I have been able to have many experiences with God and also with young people from different countries, ethnic groups, cultures and languages. These experiences taught me to love more, to give more and also, certainly, to receive more from God. MAGiS is very different for each person, and the response of each person is unique. The experience of MAGiS has brought me closer to the heart of the Lord. It has opened my mind and the eyes of my heart to be able to love more, to be more patient and generous, to serve and to give without expecting reward, and also to receive with a sincere and open heart.
World Youth Day sharing of three young friends of RSCJ-Indonesia
Cilla (22 years old)
I had many experiences in Sydney during Magis and World Youth Day. I was very happy when I learned that I had a chance to go...until one day, when I had a question about what it was that God wanted from me in my going to MAGiS. At that time, my relationship with God wasn’t good at all. I felt very far from God. I doubted God’s existence. But all throughout our experience in MAGiS and WYD, God made me aware that He was there with me.
Tri (23 years old)
I had many memorable experiences when we were in Australia, both sad and happy. Words are not enough to describe my happiness that I was able to go to another country and experience riding a plane. On the other hand what made me sad was the language. In our group I was the one who struggled the most with speaking English. However, MAGiS gave me a chance to meet many people from other countries. This experience encouraged me to speak, not to depend on other people and not to be afraid of my limitations. I have learned that I need to believe in myself even if my English is not so good.
I also missed my late parents. My experiences in Sydney made me realize that I should learn to accept that I don’t have parents anymore. This opened me to more and new valuable experiences and learned that in this world I am not alone. Many people love me even if they don’t know me that well. I experienced God’s love for me because without Him I wouldn’t be able to have all these experiences that gave joy in my life.
Intan (24 years old)
Because of the MAGiS Experiment I have grown, especially in terms of my openness to relate with other people. Participating in MAGiS is a gift for my life. It changed the way I think about my life, and it made me become more mature. I used to always be afraid about my future. Even though I still don’t know, I love the MAGiS program and the impact it has had on me. I met lots of great people in Sydney, especially the Sacred Heart Sisters. They were very nice, friendly and welcoming to us. I learned many things from them. It’s a blessing for me that I can be St. Madeleine Sophie's friend. I adore her courage. I’m wondering what God wants from me? From my journey to Australia? From my experiences? From the people I met? I still haven’t found the answer....
International and intergenerational experience with our elderly sisters in Australia
By Era, Indonesian rscj novice
Australia has become a memory that I will never in my life forget. After the MAGiS Experience and the closing of World Youth Day 2008, our happiness was made complete by our meetings with our Sacred Heart sisters who live in Sydney.
When I think about our meeting with the Sisters of the Karlaminda community, I am reminded of their happy smiles and I can still feel the warmth of their welcome. We sat together and had tea and cookies. Then our group of six shared one by one how we came to know the RSCJ. The Sisters also asked how our experience had been with the indigenous people, the food, our living and sleeping arrangements, the vocation expo, etc. up till the time when we participated in the Mass with the Pope. The atmosphere was very warm, even though it was very cold outside! I still remember how they showed us their garden, and the prayer that was said for me when we finished speaking. The prayer was very simple, but it touched my heart deeply. During this visit we spoke together and laughed together. I feel that, as a young person, I have learned from our Sisters who always have so much spirit and optimism and who are so warm and full of love towards everyone. I remember capturing this warmth and love when I first met the RSCJ in Indonesia and I felt the same thing with our Sisters in Australia, even though my visit was short.
We also visited the community of Rose Bay. There, we were welcomed with the same warmth as in Karlaminda. When we were taken to visit the school at Rose Bay and the chapel I immediately remembered our class in Society History taught by Sister Nance. I felt proud to be with the RSCJ, and proud of our Sisters there. Although they are older, their spirit and optimism are extraordinary. I could see this in the attitude of each one towards others, towards the children, young people or whomever they encounter or serve, because I had also experienced it in my own heart. The meeting with them filled my heart with happiness, and I also felt that they experienced the same thing. However, one thing especially strengthened my heart; that was the fire in their hearts which has never grown dim in spite of increasing age. Meeting with our Sisters made me realize more and more that I need to take advantage of every moment to do something positive and to love Jesus in others. The warmth of the fire of love in one’s heart can warm whomever we meet.
Testimony of Diana Hayes, rscj from Australia
Diana, how were rscj from ANZ involved in the Youth World Day?
Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (RSCJ) in Australia-New Zeland Province were involved in World Youth Day in several ways. Our four schools shared a programme at Kincoppal Rose Bay and were delighted to receive a wave of acknowledgement from Pope Benedict XVI when he sailed past the school on his way to his ‘official' arrival. Some RSCJ shared in the experience in their parishes. A major involvement, which included several years of planning, was to share with the four other Orders of Ignatian heritage in providing MAGiS08. This programme began 10 days before WYD and continued through it providing 1200 pilgrims from all parts of the world with an experience of praying, working, offering service or pilgrimage and celebrating in an international group (and smaller groups also) using the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius.
What has been your experience of Jesus Christ and of our Society through this?
Clare Pratt, our Superior General, in the welcome she wrote for their MAGiS08 Pilgrim Journal, told the participants that St Madeleine Sophie had two great passions: Jesus and young people. There were university students from other countries who were part of our wider Sacred Heart family – and so delighted to recognize our shared joy in ‘the Spirit who impels us to set the world on fire with Love.’ (Clare’s welcome). Praying and experiencing MAGiS'08 and WYD alongside six young women from Indonesia (who included some in formation) was a deep and wonder-filled joy!
What have you received from the youth?
Hope, a sense of deep joy and an upsurge in deep faith in the future of the Church! Their hunger for prayer was evident and the young people prayed at all hours of the day and night. Nothing seemed to daunt them. I loved their energy and enthusiasm for Jesus and the Church and was delighted when their goodness rocked a previously cynical Sydney into enjoying their presence even though they disrupted much of the usual activity of central Sydney !
Is there any aspect of Madeleine-Sophie Barat or any sentences from our Constitutions that speak to you more through this experience?
Madeleine Sophie would have delighted in these young people travelling around the world to celebrate their faith and proclaim it at the centre of their lives. While she would have come to the ends of the earth for the sake of a single child, they came from all corners of the earth in their thousands to proclaim their love of the Church and the Holy Father. Sophie had faith and trust in a God who loves each one unconditionally, and these young people responded to that each in his/her own way.