CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 July 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  
 
 
“Ask for nothing refuse nothing.”
 
I never thought I would be able to take this advice, especially since I am such a grumpy person.
 
A few years ago, when I was in Form Two, I saw the trip announcement on school e-campus. I was so curious about the life of the Maryknoll Sisters who actually founded our school and so I applied for the trip during the Easter holidays. 
 
Unfortunately, only the summer trip was held due to different circumstances and I already had plans for the summer, so I did not go in the end.
 
When I knew that there would be another visit this year, I was hesitant and had quite a few struggles when making the decision to go. By September, I would become a Form Six student at Maryknoll Convent School and I should be preparing for my public examination next summer and be ready to make one of the most important decisions in my life. 
 
However, it is also my last year at Maryknoll and I knew I would probably never have another opportunity like this, especially when I had missed such a rare opportunity once already! Therefore with my friends’ and Ms Fung’s support and after talking with parents, it was finally decided that I could go to New York and meet the sisters!
 
There were a lot of ‘first-times’ on this precious trip: my first long-hour-flight, my first trip outside Asia and to the United States and, of course, my very first time getting to meet and talk to the Maryknoll Sisters. 
 
However, in contrast to my excitement before this visit, I had a few regrets on the first day, what with my lack of sleep on the plane, the even worse jet lag, and the most incredibly unbelievable fact (for me, on the first day) that there was NO AIR CON!!! I am the type who is super afraid of hot weather and this news was like a sudden flash of lightning striking me! 
 
But later I found that with the comfortable weather in the US, I could actually live without an air-conditioner too, and it was really comfortable staying in the Motherhouse. Once again, I learnt the lesson “Do not judge the book by its cover.”
 
Meeting the sisters was really wonderful. Here I want to sincerely thank Sister Jeanne for being our host and organising our visit! I still remember the talk we had in the rain and, yes I do not know what I will become, and maybe I will become a sister as well!
 
I was able to see Sister Norma again. I had met her far, far away in one of my primary school years and I was surprised that she could be so much fun! I also made the acquaintance of a lot of other sisters: Sister Arlene and Sister Sue, who speaks Cantonese so well, Sister Susan who was a passionate and energetic companion on this visit, Sister Anastasia who helped find turtles in the gardens, Sister Ester who is coming to Hong Kong soon, Sister Rebecca whom we chatted while eating, Sister Betty Ann who knows and still remembers interesting histories of Maryknoll and other places in the world, Sister Peggy who wore green with our Emerald schoolmates... Each one of them is so different but together, their spirit to serve others is similar and really admirable. 
 
One of the most memorable experiences at the Motherhouse that I need to mention is meeting Sister Corinne. She is really old and her health was not very good when I met her, but together with my teachers and schoolmates we sang hymns and the School Song to her. 
 
When we sang the School Song for the first time, I saw her eyes were brimming with tears. I was so touched that I cried when I was singing. I felt that our hearts were together as one at that time and I was so lucky that I had signed up for this visit. 
 
There were a lot more wonderful encounters on this trip that I cannot describe here, but I am really grateful to Ms Fung, Ms Ma, Ms Lee and my schoolmates who went on this visit with me, as well as the sisters for welcoming and sending us off. 
 
The moments I shared with all of my schoolmates, teachers and the sisters at the Motherhouse will always be in my heart. Words just can’t fully express my gratitude for being able to go to the Motherhouse! All I can say is
 
O School We Love Maryknoll. 
 
 
June Sum, Form 5