Sr. Brigitte Flourez IJS, our resource person from France, gave the participants a deeper knowledge and insight into the life of Mother Mathilde, the foundress of the mission in Asia. She shared passionately the person of Mother Mathilde and her deep love of God and her capacity to trust in God’s providence, her willingness to surrender all so that God can use her as his instrument of love to all whom she will encounter in an unknown country and her tenacity to face unsurmountable difficulties with courage and hope. That was the inspiration of a dream come true of Mother Mathilde who pioneered the education for girls in Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and Thailand. Undaunted by the challenges and with a deep faith in God, the formation and education of girls took root in Penang, Malaysia in 1852, Singapore in 1854 and Japan 1872. The sisters walked in the footsteps of Mother Mathilde and the first sisters with Sister Maureen guiding them in understanding the history of that time and the spirit that guided their journey.
“Stay Connected” was the theme for the one week meet. Getting to know each other and each other’s culture helped to strengthen the bonds among the sisters. They experienced unity in diversity and the recognition of the richness of their backgrounds and history.
Through listening, reflecting and internalising the spirit of the pioneering sisters, the inspiration of the founder and the IJ spirituality that was shared, the sisters expressed what made sense for them and what was meaningful to them through a variety of art forms, from role playing to drama and dance and visual and verbal presentation.
The junior sisters experienced the warm hospitality of the IJ sisters in Malaysia and the rich cultural and religious diversity of the country. They visited temples, mosques, churches and social services run by philanthropists, religious groups and clans. Visiting the Tzu Chi community enriched their experience.
The junior sisters came away with a renewed sense of faith, hope and love … …ready for the challenges of the unknown future, always inspired by our first sisters and all those who blazed the trail for us.