Monthly Archives: September 2012

PLAIN RICE AND KFC FRIED CHICKEN by Monica Lee

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I didn’t plan a teaching career in a kindergarten.  My interest and passion have always been in the arts.  I spent two and a half years developing this interest.  Unfortunately, I had to put an end to this pursuit owing to some personal commitments.  So I went into teaching instead.  There is a significant experience I would like to share during my short stint of service in the Good Shepherd ministries.
In August 2007, a group of us, Mariaville staff and family members, were given an opportunity to travel to Sabah as part of an annual trip.  I took along my two younger sons, then aged seven and eight respectively.  We spent the most memorable and educational days in one of the Sabah villages.

There were approximately 100 children that we met at the village.  They were from poor families.  What really caught my attention was an episode witnessed over lunch.  The children were noisily, but happily, tucking into their lunch boxes containing plain rice and two pieces of KFC fried chicken.  However, we observed that several children ate only the rice.  We were curious and wanted to understand their behaviour.  “Why did they not want to eat the fried chicken?  Was it not to their taste and liking?”  I asked one of the staff members in Sabah.  We found out that they had wanted to bring the fried chicken home to share with their family members at dinner.  This tells a lot about the children’s love and generosity for their family despite their financial hardship and circumstances.

This touching experience taught my children and me to look at life from different perspectives.  For my sons, they had learnt a valuable lesson on the value of money and about sharing.  For me, the lesson is about loving and valuing my family.

I thank the Good Shepherd mission for these precious lessons which have definitely made a vast difference in my life.

 

 

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ZEAL by Sr. Gerard Fernandez

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Zeal in my life!  I am a woman who has given her life to love people so that they come to know Christ, this is what makes me alive.

“Beg of Him to give you His love and ardent zeal for souls.”  St. M. Euphrasia

Does my zeal to bring persons to Jesus know no limits, no bounds?

When I was looking after teenagers in our Centre, it gave me so much joy when one little word, a smile brought hope to these young women who only experienced pain, rejection and hurt.

I remember searching for one who would run away from the home.  I roamed the streets praying that the Good Shepherd would lead me to find that one lost soul.  Sometimes they run away thinking they could escape their pain.  One New Year’s Eve I ventured out late in the evening hoping to find a teen whom I knew would be in terrible danger.  No success into the early hours.  Late that afternoon I decided to try again and went to a sleazy drug infested area in downtown K.L.  The Good Shepherd led me right to a common corridor where youngsters were half asleep after the night’s celebrations.

And there lying on some newspapers asleep was my runaway girl.  Trying to keep herself warm.  I gently tapped her on the shoulder a number of times.  When she opened her eyes, she blinked at me.  There was just relief in her eyes.  She wanted to be found.  I asked, “Will you come back with me?”  She nodded, tears welling up in her eyes.  I was filled with a joy so deep I understood the Lord’s words, “When he finds the lost sheep. He puts it on his shoulder and brings it home.”

I walked one day into a disco in a red light area.  The lights were dim and the faces staring at me scared me.  I braved the cynical twitter of boisterous men.  I was dressed in my habit and looked around to see if my precious runaway teenager was around.

An elderly gentleman, approached me.  I accepted his invitation to sit down, refused a drink but I was ready to listen to him.  He was tired and sad.  He managed a smile and I reminded myself, here was Christ in a broken person.  I only wanted to let him meet Jesus.   He said, “Sister, I want to tell you something.”  I sensed his sincerity and listened.  He continued, “I murdered someone and I have just come out of prison having served my sentence.”

A shiver run down my spine.  But I refused to budge.

Then a radiant smile lit up on his face and he said, “I went to Confession and I know God has forgiven me.”  It was a lovely God filled moment.  I took his hand in mine, grateful that I was there for him.

Christ is everywhere even in the places where we least think we will meet Him.

 

“Zeal keeps us steadfast in our specific mission, calling us to be faithful to our charism.”

 (Constitutions The Vows – Consecration to God Article 30)

I am the Good Shepherd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTEGRITY by Sr Gerard Fernandez

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The desire to be true to God and to oneself is a yearning in my heart.  God’s call heard in the depths of my being re-echoes in my being.  How do I remain true to this choice God has made in inviting me to be a religious, following God and living a life totally committed to God’s Kingdom?

One hears today this rather sad statement.  “We, Religious women have become anonymous.”  I do not feel I am anonymous.  My heart is in the very life I lead.  There is a singleness of purpose in my very being.  People I work with in Ministry see me as Sr. Gerard, Good Shepherd Sister.

I remember  I was on the elevator in Parkway Shopping Mall and one of our Good Shepherd Kindergarten children was on the other side going up the elevator.  She pointed me out to her mum and said, “Mummy, that’s my Good Shepherd Sister from the Kindergarten.”  We exchanged smiles and I was  so delighted to be recognised for who I am.

Integrity is being who you are called to be, ‘a woman whose heart is with the Divine, letting His love sparkle through your eyes and whole self.

In 1999, I went to Mexico for a Conference on Prisons.  On my return I stopped at Houston and was fortunate to be given permission to visit one of Correctional Prisons there.  Susan Williams and myself walked into this huge, sprawling prison grounds which housed those who were sentenced to life imprisonment.

25 guys were waiting for us in the chapel.  They were huge burly men with tattoos all over their arms.  When we entered, one of them came towards me, knelt before me and took my hands.  He said, “For 20 years I waited for someone like you to come and visit me, Mother.”  I was overwhelmed.  I tried to get him off his feet.  I was a bit wobbly!   Here was someone who made a simple prayer to our loving God.  I was dressed in my blue habit and veil.  20 years ago!!  Did God allow him to see me in his dream?  Had I not made the effort to go to that Prison this guy would not have had a cherished wish realized.

With God there is no time.  He is eternal NOW.  It would have been in 1979 when that prisoner made his simple request to God in prayer.  Where was I?  I thank God I remained faithful to His call and remained in His love as a Religious woman.