KAINGARAN, Tambunan – The Elias Carmelite Family celebrated its founder’s golden jubilee of priesthood on 13 Aug 2017 at St Mary Magdalene Chapel here.
Visitors from Indonesia, China, Sarawak joined the local Putri Karmel (Daughters of Carmel), Carmelitae Sancti Eliae (CSE) and Komunitas Tritunggal Mahakudus (KTM) in celebrating the 50 years of priesthood of their Founder, Father Yohanes Indrakusama OCarm, 79.
Bishop Cornelius Piong presided at the thanksgiving Mass. Joining him and the jubilarian at the altar were CSE Superior General Rev Sergius Paulus, Rev Giovanni C Sugau CSE, Rev Peter Hwang of Limbang, Anthony Mikat, Bede Anthonius, Gilbert Lasius, Joseph Gapitang, and Mario Tong of China.
Young dancers in traditional attire led the entrance procession from the St John Catholic Retreat Centre to the chapel accompanied by the beating of the gongs.
In his homily, the bishop told some 500 people present that he came to know the jubilarian in 1984 while attending a Charismatic Renewal Convention in Indonesia.
When he became the bishop of Keningau in 1993, he welcomed the Putri Karmel into the diocese in 1997 where it took root and flourished on a 32-acre of land at Kaingaran Tambunan.
After the Mass, there was a fusion of Chinese and Murut cultures in the performances by the Fook Xing Dragon Unicorn Lion Dance Troupe Tambunan, firecrackers and fireworks display outside the retreat centre in spite of the inclement weather.
The reception was held at the hall below the chapel where a video clip on the life of the jubilarian was screened. The Elias Carmelite Family also entertained the guests with a variety show. An exhibition on the founder’s life and history of the Elias Carmelites was displayed outside the dining hall.
Born in 1938 in small East Java town into a Chinese family, the jubilarian began his novitiate in a Carmelite monastery in 1960. Ordained as a priest in 1967, he pursued his studies in theology in Rome and Paris and later worked in various parts of the country. In the mid-70s, he spent time in a hermitage involved in contemplative life.
He founded the Putri Karmel on 19 March 1982 in Ngadireso, a small village in Malang Diocese East Java, followed by the Carmelitae Sancti Eliae on 20 July 1986 and the Komunitas Tritunggal Mahakudus on 11 January 1987.
On 12 Jan 2013, the St John of the Cross Institute (philosophy and theology) in Pontianak West Kalimatan founded by the jubilarian was officially opened by the Pontianak Archbishop.
Putri Karmel is a religious community of women, whereas CSE is for men and KMT for lay people.
The two religious communities have the same spirituality, way of life and ministry. Fundamentally they follow the spirit of the Carmelite Rule and Traditions, accentuating the contemplative aspect, integrated with the Charismatic Renewal.
The Charismatic Renewal brings about the experience of God in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Carmelite Spirituality is a very rich tool to deepen it and settle it down.
The members may give counselling, retreats, seminars, or offer prayers for individuals.
Currently, there are 43 Putri Karmel Sisters, 16 CSE Brothers, and over 1,800 KTM members in Malaysia. Aside from Indonesia and Malaysia, there are also communities in China, Italy and USA.
On 12 April 2017, Sister Maximilliane Soon became the first superior of Malaysia-China District with two communities each in Malaysia (Keningau and Sibu) and China (Xingtai Hebei Province in the North and Fuqing Fujian Province in the South) respectively while Sister Geraldine Marie is the local superior of Kaingaran.