Franciscan Sisters share their stories

IMG_5802Sr Marysia Malating:  I am the youngest child of 11 siblings in the family. I was born in April 20, 1984 and I am so grateful that I grew up in a Catholic family. My father was the first catechist in our village and he is my source of inspiration to a life of prayer and being unshakeable in my catholic faith.

Looking back to the beginning of my call to religious life, it all began in the small village of Kg Kaiduan in Kinarut where we lived. I remember being so happy in my childhood days each time we were visited by the priest and others. Having to travel to such a remote place in the interior, they would usually stay in our house which is fortunately located near the village’s chapel. They never visited us empty-handed, but always bringing with them bags of used clothes to be distributed amongst the villagers. Like the other kids, I anticipated the distribution of clothes most. Living in needful condition, a piece of shirt was so precious and most valuable. On one such occasion, a question unexpectedly pounded on me, “Why are these people so nice towards poor people like us?” I asked my mother and her answer left deep marks in my heart. My mother said, “They do all this for Someone called Love”. I pondered on it and started to get curious on this person who is Love. Hence I am convinced that that was the moment of the start of a great search, even though during that age I didn’t fully understand it and that God has his plans for me.

Moving on to teen years and to adulthood, like my peers, I had similar ambitions and dreams in life. However, when everything was in my hands, none of these things could satisfy this thirst in my heart. As time went by, the thirst dried up and it was then that the Lord provided answers. I began to see that God has been leading me through the people around me and that His plan was beautiful in His time.

I was teaching in St James Kindergarten in Apin-Apin Keningau from 2003-2006. While teaching there, I lived in the convent. It was here that all the pieces came together where I was helped to understand the meaning of God’s calling, and through a time of growing and maturing in that understanding which led me to a decision in 2006 and was accepted as an aspirant.

Since my early formation years, I have always felt the hands of God guiding me until this moment. He is the one who enables me to give my YES to his mysterious calling. When I recall back, God has indeed opened a way for me since that experience of my childhood. In due time, I have also understood that the strong conviction I felt was an expression of wanting to live the LOVE that I have received. To receive God’s love is beautiful, but more so to share it with others. Thus, through giving myself to this religious life, I desire to be that LOVE to whosoever I am serving. Truly in this LOVE, have I always found joy, humility and forgiveness.

Together with my two other religious sisters, I have taken my final profession on Dec 6, 2014. My new community is in St Maria Goretti in Binaung, Keningau. The journey ahead is long, but I have no doubt that I would be guided in it through ardent prayers and support from everyone.

 

IMG_5883ZSr Rusiah Garuk:   I was born in March 3, 1980 as the seventh child of 8 siblings in Kg Tuarid Taud Keningau. I received my basic education in Keningau. At the young age of 12, solely through the grace of God I had a realization that we need God in life. Consequently, I chose to be baptized as a Catholic based on this realization. This then was the start of God calling me to be His own. The Sacraments of the Church had further guided me into knowing the purpose of life and His call to the religious life.

As a working and earning adult, I have gained much experience in a worldly setting. However, these experiences only pushed me to question more on the meaning of life and to contemplate seriously the direction that I have began to look at. In the midst of contemplation, I felt again God’s soft whisper calling me to work in His vineyard as a religious. I took time to delve into my thoughts, and examined my will and my feelings towards life, and ended up asking, “Where does this heart rest: marriage, single or religious?”

Finally, I responded to God’s calling and applied for aspirancy in 2005. The journey was not without its challenges and temptations, which included facing my own weaknesses.   Such challenges enabled me to grow in maturity. It has also helped me to grow in depth understanding the meaning of God’s calling.

The spirituality of the FSIC congregation has been the foundation of my call.  The congregation, in the spirit of the Immaculate Conception and St Francis of Assisi, has drawn me to see and follow Mother Mary whose attitude is to always live in prayer in order to satisfy her thirst for God. St Francis of Assisi is a person of love, who loves God and others wholeheartedly. He also loves God’s whole creation that he calls nature his ‘brothers and sisters’. His humble attitude in all things inspires me and challenges me.

I made my perpetual profession on Dec 6, 2014 and am now serving in my new community in Stella Maris Home, Tanjung Aru.

 

IMG_5841Sr Julianah Yuging:  I was born in August 21, 1978 and the sixth child of 9 siblings from Kg Kiawayan Tambunan. My parents and other family members were instrumental in inspiring me to appreciate and love our Catholic faith and to believe in God, the importance of going to church and  to be always grateful to God.

My calling to religious life started at 10. In one primary class, the teacher asked each one of us our ambition through identifying profession pictures from the book, for example a doctor, a nurse, teacher, etc. In my heart I chose a nun from the picture, but did not articulate my choice, and that picture had since been imprinted in my heart.  That was how this love story began.

In my youth, I was involved in service to the church in various activities. My commitment has helped form my spirituality and maturity in relationships. I experienced joy in serving, and I sensed an intimacy between God and me.  I learned to hear Him through circumstances, family, and friends, through His Word and faith testimonies from other people.

Although I worked for 5 years, I felt emptiness within me.  My struggle to really want to know whether God really called me to religious life finally led me to a vocation seminar in 2001 organized by the FSIC sisters. Consequently, my desire intensified, which gave me the courage to step in.

Making the decision was a great challenge, as I had to let go, among others, my career, family closeness, my boyfriend and other worldly attractions.  A courageous spirit, sturdy faith and lots of prayer were called for. Through God’s grace, each barrier was overcome and I realized that I was not alone, that He was and is always with me.

Living with the Sisters, has deeply attracted me to their way of life, of praying together and living communally. This has deepened my calling to choose to live as a religious like them. With courage and trembling, I applied for Aspirancy in 2001.

It was while I was in the formation years as an aspirant that I had to wrestle with the temptation to enrol in a Community Nursing course in Tawau in 2003.  My future would indeed be bright because I would have a paying job. But I was adamant to continue responding to the calling of God.  I was labelled ‘foolish’ for letting go of a nursing career to be a nun.  I felt the hands of God guiding me throughout the journey.

Undeniably there were many temptations and challenges during those formation years.  With humility, I surrendered my willingness to be moulded by Him. I realized that to respond to God’s calling, one needs the grace to understand in depth about sacrifices, friendship with God, and to see the ‘moulding process’ as a continuous process.

Having made my final profession on Dec 6, 2014, I am now with my new community in Stella Maris Home Tanjung Aru.

 

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