VISIT TO INDONESIA
During his report to the meeting
June 2008 Father David showed photos taken during his many visits earlier in
the year. One of the photos taken in Jakarta was of a large group
gathered with the Sisters to welcome and listen to our General Promoter. Having just taken over as the Coordinator for
the Asia/Pacific Region, I was aware that this now was also my area. As we are all aware, the Spirit works in
amazing ways, and much to my surprise a promotional flight direct from Perth to Jakarta
was being offered at a cheap price. After praying about the possibility of
another trip, I emailed Father David for his advice and immediately an answer
came with much excitement wishing me well and asking me to pass on his regards
and greetings to all.
Day 1: Unfortunately my plane was delayed over 4
hours, which really was a disappointment as plans had already been made for
7.00pm Mass and a shared dinner at the Convent where the Congregational Leader
Sister Lusia Kusrini OP had invited me to stay for that night. I rang the Theo’s mobile (whom I had not met
at that stage) and told him of my dilemma.
Arrival at Jakarta: To my surprise the sister who accompanied
Theo and Grace to meet me was Sister Elisabeth and we recognised one another
immediately from the 2000 First Dominican Family Gathering in Manila, where we had worked together as part
of the Asia/Pacific Region. Knowing we
had a long drive to the Pejaten Dominican Convent they had phoned ahead and
told Father to go ahead with the Mass as it was getting late. Upon arrival I
dropped my case and joined in the shared meal and after which I gave a PowerPoint presentation, which had to be shortened
due to the plane delay
International: Yet another surprise as
Miss Jho Trocio (known as Joan) was also introduced to those present and taught
us all a DOMNET song, everyone joined in. I had met Joan on one of my many visits to Manila, and on one occasion we were both part
of a drama group workshop run by Sister Nancy Murray OP. It was a workshop neither of us will ever
forget. It was wonderful to be able to
chat and renew our friendship. Joan will
be able to do great work in Indonesia
with the Sisters.
Day 2: Borneo: Sister Elisabeth, Theo and I flew to Pontianak
–Kalimantan, about an hour’s flight from Jakarta
and were met by Father Robini OP and the local Lay Dominican Chapter President,
Mr. Edy Fransiskus. They drove us to lunch at a nearby local restaurant where
we were guests of one of the owners. We
then drove to the Pastor Baros Seminary to meet with Father Edmund Nantes OP
who had arrived about 3 months earlier and is lecturing there in Theology and
English. Once again I was pleasantly surprised
to meet Father Edmund, having met him in Rome
and Manila. He showed us around part of the Seminary and
we were then taken to their new Indonesian Dominican house where Father Adrian
Adiredjo and Brother Andre (due then to be Ordained 8/12/2008) live.
What a joy to meet the 3 new
aspirants, Aris, Andreas and Rambang who are currently learning English hopefully
to further their studies.
7.00 pm that evening Father Edmund
celebrated Mass for those present including local Lay Dominicans, approximately
26. The 3 aspirants led us with the
music and song for the Liturgy.
All those who attended brought
food as well as lots of joy for the shared meal.
Day 3: Father Edmund came and said Mass for those of us present. Father then drove Sister Elisabeth, Theo and
I to meet with Father Robini at the Centre for Research and Inter-religious
Dialogue (C.R.I.D.) We met the young Muslim
man in charge of the Centre and a student assistant, they both work jointly
with Father Robini. Through an
interpreter we learnt more of the wonderful work that “they” are all doing to
further the education of faiths between one another.
We were once again treated to
lunch by the same wonderful benefactor and sadly said farewell to the Friars,
and Edy our local Lay Dominican President, who had become great friends with
Theo and of course will be of future assistance. We flew back to Jakarta, and were met and taken back to stay
again with the Community of Sisters at the Mother House.
Day 4 - Journey to Dominican Convent at Cimahi. On this trip I was accompanied by all the
coordinators for my visit i.e. Theo, Grace, Stefano, Heriyanto and Sister
Elisabeth, giving me an opportunity to get to know them a little better. 7.00
am we attended Mass at the local Seminary and then commenced our long drive to
Cimahi. Firstly we stopped and made a visit at the TMII (Taman Mini Indonesia
Indah) the beautiful Indonesian
Museum, which was such a
treat. It would take more than a day to
see the total exhibition so it was decided that we would take a little time and
go to a large building that houses all of the gifts that were given to the late
Soharto over his 30 years as President.
About 3 hours later we were at
Karitas, (Home for the Aged originally established by the Dutch) which was on
The Sisters do wonderful work with
the elderly and the Opas and Omas who are lovingly looked after put on a
musical recital by each playing a type of bamboo kolintang (xylophones) which
was a joy for us. We had afternoon tea
and continued on our long journey.
Arrival at Cimahi – we were welcomed by
the community of sisters, and we had just enough time to freshen up and go
direct to the Chapel where we joined in chanting Evening Prayer.
After dinner we were welcomed into
the Community room for a short while and there was excitement about the forthcoming
arrival of our own Australian Sister Gabrielle Kelly OP a week later.
We had been on the move since my
arrival and were running out of time to discuss one of the main reasons for my
visit, i.e. the possible development of a Lay Dominican Chapter in Jakarta, so Sister
arranged for the Coordinators and myself to move to a small room. There are approximately 7 or so who are
already interested in furthering their Dominican spirituality.
Day 5 – Back to Jakarta. Mass
at 5.00am followed by Morning prayer. Father Adi O.S.C. (Order of Sacred Cross) said Mass and then joined us
in the garden for breakfast and a chat and with us visited s the Sisters’
apostolate of the K – 10 school next
door. Unfortunately time slipped away and we missed the Sewing course, clinic and home for the aged. We
were very impressed with the school, the teachers and the surrounds. Of course it would have been easy to spend
more time but we had the long trip back.
Rosary Group at Bogor: Sister had been asked to arrange for me to talk about the origins of the
Rosary and its connection with the Dominicans, and also briefly what it means
to be a Lay Dominican. We arrived a
little later than expected so the group had already commenced, however we
joined them in praying the Rosary, with
many trimmings. I was then invited
to speak, with Sister Elisabeth acting as interpreter. Amazingly the group had not heard of the
‘Dominicans’ so it was easier for Sister to speak to them in Indonesian and
give a brief summary of our tradition and
charism. Many questions were asked
and we were all certain that the Spirit was already at work. They had brought a shared lunch for us all
and it gave a wonderful opportunity for us to circulate and meet some of those
present. Sister Elisabeth is intending
to do a follow up.
Rain! It started to rain on the way back, and it
rained and rained like nothing I had ever seen. In no time the drains were overflowing and the roads extremely slippery
and dangerous. This delayed our arrival
back in Jakarta. When we reached Grace’s home it was
impossible to drive down the street as it was flooded. Theo managed to drop everyone off and take me
to meet his wife Ratma and daughter Stefane, who had kindly asked me to stay
with them for my last night.
Farewell Evening hosted by Grace
and her husband Tommy Many of the
Sisters and their associates & friends, the Organising Committee and a
large group interested in Dominican spirituality gathered to say farewell and
thanks. Earlier Grace was worried that
we would not be able to attend due to the flooding, but amazingly it had
disappeared as quickly as it had come and everyone arrived. Beautiful words were
spoken in thanks for me making the trip and in the hope that I will return in
the near future. Some committee members
spoke before Grace presented me with a magnificent batik silk scarf, which I
will always treasure.
I said in my thank you, that my
trip to Jakarta
had been very special. It had not been planned - it eventuated after prayer. However, it was the most
wonderful thing I had done for myself in the whole year.
Our Sisters are doing wonderful
work in this beautiful part of the world and now with the presence of our
Friars it will be easier for Lay
Dominican Chapters to flourish.
Ms June Ross O.P.
Lay Dominican – I.C.L.D.F.
(International Council Lay