“GOD LIVES IN WHOSE PRESENCE I STAND”

Slide1I am Sr. Joanne Marie of the Congregation of Putri Karmel, Kaingaran, Tambunan.

God’s calling is indeed mysterious. He calls each of us personally, be it to married life, single life or religious life, and I am responding to His call to be a witness of Christ in my journey as a consecrated person. Living in community, devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration, Silence and Solitude and through The Autobiography of St. Therese, has drawn me to choose Carmel which fosters the communal life of Prayer and Contemplation in the Carmelite Spirituality following the example lives of St. Teresa of Avila to be the Heart of the Church and the Little ways of St Therese of Lisieux in her Vocation of Love. Often people assume that we as Hermits spend our time only praying, but in fact in our Carmel Hermitage, we have Yearly Recreation Outing to the City, boat-ride to the island etc and Christmas/New Year festive celebrations with joy, fun and full of surprises. The Silence and the beautiful nature of our Hermitage help me to enter into solitude, encountering the presence of God. Carmel Hermitage (Pertapaan Karmel) is located in the midst of the forest with a beautiful scenery, cool, refreshing and breezy weather. Beside prayer, we also have other duties and activities such as conducting retreats in our Hermitage as well as overseas; Counselling session; Camping; Priests Retreat; Individual personal retreat, Healing Rally. I work in the Altar Bread section, baking and supplying Altar Bread for the Diocese of Keningau. Unfinished tasks or Baking machines problems arise, would sometimes distract my prayer but I surrender to God, trust in His mercy. Carmel kwayteow produced from scraps of Altar Bread is one of our favourite food (a Delicacy of Putri Karmel). Home leave is spent with family reunion, holidaying and faith sharing.

In respond to Pope Francis’ calls for a church of the poor, the Poverty of Spirit is the essential attitude to follow Jesus Christ “who being rich became poor for our sake (2 Cor 8:9). The Lord will not allow me to suffer any shortage if I serve Him whole-heartedly. If it should happen that I suffer shortage, I should be happy because by so doing I really become poor and may live the Vow of Poverty deeply.