CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 23 March 2019

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A visit to the Maryknoll Motherhouse - A series of reflections

Fifteen students and three teachers from Maryknoll Convent School (Secondary Section) visited the motherhouse of the Maryknoll Sisters in Ossining, the United States of America from August 10 to 20 to retrace their roots and pay a call on the Maryknoll Sisters who served in Hong Kong, especially the school  
 
 
What I gained from this trip is beyond words. This powerful experience opened my eyes to a new perspective on life and inspired me to appreciate what I can do as an individual for my neighbours and the world. I am sure I will discover even more as the experience sinks in deeper and deeper.
 
On the day we arrived, the sisters welcomed us warmly with broad smiles. They helped us with the luggage and guided us round the Motherhouse. Those in the dining room approached us and asked us how we felt, and from that day onwards, different sisters came to chat with us. 
 
Their actions calmed down my heart, unsettled by being in a new place. They showed their care for each and every one of us. With them, I gradually adapted to the place. I started greeting everyone even if I had not met them before, just as the sisters did. The power of a smile is never to be underestimated. It can give so much warmth to others.
 
The Maryknoll Sisters are the epitome of love. I had never realised just how much how love can achieve. 
 
Out of love, the sisters took care of us throughout the trip, a group of students who were strangers. Out of love, they founded our school. Out of love, they dedicated their lives to serving people in need around the world. In the Motherhouse, I felt loved. 
 
When we visited the sisters, we chatted with them and sang songs to them. Though we did not sing very well, especially me, as I was sick, they still appreciated it a lot. I am very thankful to them for making the trip so meaningful. They are the ones who gave me the opportunity to be a Maryknoller. 
 
They embody the Maryknoll spirit and showed me what it is all about. It is about love for the world. They taught me to be proud of my identity and my service to the school. I remember one sister said that when you love someone, your love for each person does not become less because of sharing. Instead, your love grows. 
 
This genuinely inspired me and I started to love people around me. I would very much like for others to feel what I felt in the Motherhouse, especially the love and warmth. Do not be afraid to love. Do not be afraid to spread the Good News.
 
At the Motherhouse, we met different sisters every day. They shared unique stories of their vocations and missions worldwide. With them, you can see the whole world, but with a new perspective which you can hear from no one else. I loved every story. I could spend a whole day listening to their stories without getting bored. These stories give me a lot of inspiration for what I can achieve in my future. 
 
What Tania, a former MCS student, shared with us touched my heart. She told us about a lesson taught by Sister Jeanne which changed her life. It was about free will, which means doing something which your heart calls you to do. She shared her experience of looking for it, along with Sister Arlene, who also shared how she came to the consecrated life. 
 
I am very grateful to them, as well as Sister Norma, who shared with me about her vocation. They gave me guidelines as to how to explore myself to the fullest and find out what my mission is. I really look forward to living out my own life. I aspire to contribute to society with my talents. I pray to God that he will guide me when I am confused and strengthen me when I am weak.
 
During the trip, we had a slower pace of life. We could see the sunrise and sunset. We could look at the stars at night. We could see rabbits and deer on the lush green pastures surrounding the Motherhouse. We could even see humming birds. 
 
These are things that we often overlook in the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. We took our time to appreciate the beauty of nature. God’s creation is just amazing. When I closed my eyes and relaxed, I could hear the birds chirping. I could feel the breeze caressing my skin. The treasures of nature are all around you. You can simply stop and enjoy them at any time. 
 
I found the trip genuinely fulfilling. It taught me to give and to love. Everything on the trip will be etched on my memory forever and I will treasure every moment of it. 
 
Thank you, everyone who was on the trip, for taking care of me, especially the sisters, teachers and friends. I miss all of you! 
 
 
Evelyn Fan, Form 5