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Visit to the Maryknoll Motherhouse

A visit by 10 students and four staff from theto the Maryknoll Sisters Motherhouse in Ossining, New York, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the school

 

Our group from Maryknoll Convent School (Secondary Section) arrived at the Maryknoll Sisters Motherhouse on the evening of July 26 during this year’s summer vacation.

We visited New York City for two days, during which we paid a private visit to Google, arranged by a former student whose daughter works at Google New York.

We also went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty, the Rockefeller Centre, Times Square and Broadway, where we watched Phantom of the Opera with four Maryknoll Sisters.

During our stay, we paid frequent visits to the sisters in the Motherhouse. We listened to their stories and learned about their missions.

We also visited the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America (Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers) and the Heritage Museum in the Motherhouse.

On the last evening, we held a cultural night when we sang, danced and performed to entertain the sisters and to bid them farewell.

 

Jasmine Lo Lok-yin
 Form Two

 

Learning to make God’s love visible

 

Plain shirts and comfortable pants they wear. Very subtle.

Not much in their rooms, just the basic necessities. A very simple life they lead.

Humbly and meekly they kneel and pray in the chapel every day.

But behind each and every one of these remarkable, yet humble women, is an extraordinary story. 

These stories deeply moved us and reminded us that what we are doing is less than the bare minimum.

These wise women dedicate their lives to Maryknoll, to society, to the world, to God. They do not ask for much in return, unlike materialistic modern people.

They always try their utmost to put into practice the words in Matthew 6:21, “For wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be too.”

They deeply believe that “happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.”

I frequently bumped into Sister Mary Edna Brophy in the cafeteria. 

Without fail, she would declare to us in impeccable Cantonese that she will forever be “‮$‬H‮&‬ر‮$_$#&‬ر” (stay young at heart) and remind us that we should always serve the Lord.

The sisters who now live in retirement at Ossining, in the prime of their lives served in different parts of the world, mostly impoverished, desolate and war-torn parts.

Despite their retirement at the Motherhouse, they never stop helping those in need and the world at large, by constantly offering their prayer to the Lord. They attend Mass punctually and regularly.

They never seem to grow old. Despite their advanced age, they persevere to stay as youthful, pious and devout as any devoted young Catholic.

The sisters love their neighbours. Pachamama, which means Earth Mama, is a farm in the neighourhood of the Motherhouse where crops harvested are given to those in Ossining who cannot afford to buy their own food.

We were extremely privileged to have Sister Carolyn White take us over to Pachamama to pick beans. 

As indicated in John 13:34-35, “And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” 

The sisters never fail to love others, even after they have retired on completion of their overseas missions.

On the third day of our trip, we were honoured to have Sister Rosemarie Milazzo share with us her experience in Iraq.

She was there to write reports for the Christian Peacekeeper Teams about the situation of a certain terrorist group in Iraq.

I used to pay very little attention to that terrorist group in news reports since I found it difficult to believe that such brutality could ever exist in this world.

She told us that she met a gentleman whose brother and son had been killed by that terrorist group and that he himself had lost one leg.

All of a sudden, I came to the realisation that everything written in news reports did indeed happen. It used to seem so remote and unreal.

Sister Rosemarie told us that prayer for world peace is absolutely vital and essential.

It then dawned on me that not only should my daily prayer be concerned with myself and my mundane life, but that it should also be about world peace.

 In fact particularly about world peace.

We should be patient when waiting for our prayers to be answered. As said in Psalm 46:1, “God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”

As we rarely get to see a sunset in Hong Kong, it was truly a blessing from God for the 14 of us to go to Ossining, where we were able to seize the golden opportunity to go to Sunset Hill to admire a stunning sunset.

After sunset, we were immersed in the tranquility and serenity offered by Sunset Hill and stayed on to gaze at the stars and the moon.

As luck would have it, we stumbled upon the legendary blue moon on July 31. Precious. I am indeed God’s luckiest daughter to have been able to enjoy such spectacular scenery in the company of such wonderful human beings.

It was my curiosity about the stories of God’s faithful and selfless servants, the sisters, that made me overcome my fear for flying.

It was the power of God’s unconditional love that took me to the place where God’s love is made visible and tangible.

It was totally worth it and I am very grateful for every single part, every single moment of this journey. God bless.

• Cyrena So Heng-yee
Form Three