Happy Feast of Jesus Master and New CD!

26 Oct 2008

Happy Feast of Jesus the Divine Master to all Paulines!
This is truly my favourite Pauline feast for so many reasons which I will not elaborate except to say that one October quite a few years ago, Jesus as the Master of my life was made apparent in a very concrete way for me and consequently this feast became most significant and memorable. (this feast is usually celebrated by the Pauline Family on the last Sunday of Oct.)

You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. (John 13:14-15)

Jesus as Master does not dominate or abuse his power but rather serves and loves with tenderness and we his disciples are invited to imitate him in his unconditional love.

Thanks for all the comments and the deluge of emails in respond to my last entry! Many of you commented that I’m “enjoying” my life here and to a certain extent, I guess I am. I do love the creative aspect of our apostolate/ministry and I am also grateful for the opportunity to be in Kenya and be blessed by all the other unexpected gifts that come my way. However that doesn’t mean that my life here is always rosy. I don’t intend to share my angst and life’s struggles on this blog under Notes From Kenya which, although meant for family and friends, is also open to the general public and the world wide web! So obviously what I share here is at most only half the picture. Thus while it may appear that I’m having a whale of a time, do continue to pray for me as the journey of a consecrated religious Sister at midlife can be a pretty tough and tumultuous one, albeit definitely an exciting one as well!

I spent earlier this month almost like a hermit as I made my annual retreat and was away from the convent for 10 days. The retreat was held at Mwangaza Retreat House run by the Jesuits in Karen, an area named after Karen Blixen who owned at one time the six thousand acres of land at the foot of the Ngong Hills. She ran a farm and a coffee plantation but was forced to return to Denmark in 1931 after which she wrote several (some would consider) modern classics like Out of Africa and Babette’s Feast (with the pseudonym Isak Dinesen). Both of these were adapted into films so if you haven’t read the books, most likely you might have caught the films. Sadly Sydney Pollack who directed Out of Africa passed away this year. His last film was The Interpreter, an excellent film to discuss the themes of revenge, forgiveness, freedom, oppression, genocide and trust. I often use it when I conduct sessions on Media Spirituality and it’s also an ideal choice for a film retreat. But I digress. Back to my retreat which the sisters here describe as “going to the mountain”! Well,as usual for us, it was a fully silent retreat so I prayed, slept, prayed, ate, and prayed, slept, prayed, ate…. It wasn’t a life changing retreat but it had some pretty awesome moments, most of them experienced outside the chapel and outside of “formal prayer”! What I really loved was the vast expanse of land to walk around and to just be in the midst of nature. Managed to take some snaps (see below). Usually on my annual retreats I bring some art materials and do some drawing/painting. But since 2006 I also bring along my guitar (and camera!) and this retreat also provided me the time and inspiration to write several songs with it. One of the songs I wrote was about my Dad – on how his unconditional love (a reflection of God's love) nourished my growth as a person. I guess it was a way for me to deal with his passing earlier this year.

Here are some snaps of the Karen Blixen museum which I was fortunate to visit recently as well as some snaps taken during my retreat.

The original house where Karen Blixen stayed.
Above and Below: The view of the Ngong Hills from her terrace which she describes in Out of Africa

Mwangaza Retreat Centre

The grounds of the retreat centre provided ample space to pray-walk.

Sleeping under the mosquito net at the Retreat Centre provided a rather exotic atmosphere

A better view of the Ngong Hills from the grounds of Mwangaza

Walking towards the sunset was an evening routine for me while on retreat

Mother and child

The day after I returned from my retreat was a public holiday – Moi Day (Moi was a former president of Kenya) - and we were given a “free day”! So I contacted BeeHong, a kind fellow Singaporean, who’s been here for over twenty years and we visited Linda, another Singaporean who’s just given birth to a beautiful baby girl though at that time she was still heavily pregnant. Well believe it or not, Linda served us “chai tow kway”! Then Bee treated me for lunch with her two sons at Canivore, a famous restaurant here in Nairobi where they serve exotic meat! As most of you know, I usually only eat fish and chicken and avoid all four legged animals! I joke that I have this diet because I’m a Jewish-Hindu-Moslem Catholic. But sometimes you have to make exceptions and this was one of them! So the waiters came by our tables, meat on skewers in one hand and a carving knife in the other. The most exotic meats I ate? OSTRICH and CROCODILE! The latter had a light rubbery texture and tasted slightly like fish. (Apparently they used to serve zebra too but to curb the culling of zebras, they’ve taken them out of their menu.) When we had enough we had to “surrender” by placing a tiny white flag in the centre of the sauces (for the different types of meat). So for one day I was a real Canivorous being! Thanks to Bee for that adventurous culinary experience. Never in my life did I dream I’d ever eat crocodile meat!

Crocodile meat being served to Brian, Bee's elder son

A metal art piece at the restaurant depicting a Masai woman

Last Saturday I gave a first session on St. Paul to twenty or so lay collaborators who work in our publishing, printing, audiovisual, and household departments. Fortunately I have prepared materials on Powerpoint from my classes with the Pauline Cooperators in Singapore so I just had to adapt and adjust my notes/slides for them here. The more I teach about Paul, the more discoveries I make about him so I’m truly grateful too for this experience to share about him, our patron saint, a model Christian and a zealous apostle.

Speaking of St Paul, I’ve saved the best “news” for the last. Finally, after encountering some production delays, our new CD comprising of songs based on Paul’s letters is finally mixed and mastered and just about ready to hit the world! We’re now just awaiting the CD booklet from the printers but here’s what the cover looks like (front photo by Sr Mary Lou Winters, fsp, an American Sister based in London and a pal!).

And here are sample clips of each track. Hope you’ll enjoy them.



His Grace is Sufficient


Bet track 12, Nothing in the World, will get your feet tapping if not jiving in your seats or even stir you out of your seats! It’s such a great dance track! Seven songs (tracks 2,3,5,7,8,13) were produced by us while six songs were produced by our sisters in India. The songs I wrote and performed are on track 2, His Grace is Sufficient (based on 2 Cor 12:7, 4:8-9) and track 13, I Fall on My Knees (based on Eph 3:14-21). The original title for the latter was Prayer of St Paul but there were too many Pauls already on the title list so I changed it. Here are the lyrics to the whole song which is also my prayer for each of you reading this:


I fall
I fall on my knees
Before God (Father and Mother)

I pray
I pray you will be
Strengthened in spirit
Rooted and grounded in love
And that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith.

I fall
I fall on my knees
Before God (Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier)

I pray
I pray you will see
The breath and the length
The height and the depth of Christ's love
And that you will be filled with the fullness of God.

For with God at work in us
We are able to accomplish
Much more than we ask or imagine

To God be the glory
Forever and ever. Amen.


If you want to support our mission here in Africa and would like to purchase this CD, please email me directly. Unfortunately as yet we don’t have facilities for credit card payment!?! However for those in Singapore, perhaps our Sisters there may be able to place some bulk orders soon. Meanwhile, I look forward to your comments on the album and this post as a whole.

Blessings,
Wendy

9 comments:

  1. I love the cover photo!!! must be by some famous photographer.
    Well done. The music is fab, fab!!!! how do you do all this, amazing nun????
    xxx your fan in GB

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  2. Sounds like a lot of fun, can't wait to hear more! Thanks for your all your creativity. Fantastic effort! You're right, track 12 really sounds like a pop song that will get people going, including me ;)

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  3. There's Canivore in Kenya?!?!?! Judging by the photos, the meat served and the ambience of the restuarant in Kenya is sooooo right! Man... the only "exotic" meat Canivore in S'pore serves is Chicken Heart. And if you've enough, it's not a white flag but it's a Stop sign in red which is very useless. Because despite putting that up, the waiters still come and plonk more meat down on the plates.
    = ="
    - the evil twin

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  4. Hi Wendy, you really are talented, like the songs. Must get the CD when I visit and view your paintings and drawings too!

    Best regards

    Siew Yim

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  5. What great photography Sr. Wendy ! God willing, will roam the hills of Ngong with you some day and drink in all those breath taking views of Mwangaza. So good to hear your voice again and your fingers strumming away at your guitar on tracks 2 & 13.

    GBL from San Francisco to Kenya - Daphne

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  6. Dearest Wendy,

    Congratulations twin! You really did a great job here. I like all the songs. They are inspiring and you can pray and enjoy at the same time. I am glad that we now have a number of new songs based on the letters of St. Paul as we are dedicating this year to him. I can’t wait to have a copy and listen to all the songs and use them for prayer. And of course, diffuse them to all the world…
    I also enjoyed reading your new post. The photos made me feel like I was also there in Africa…eating crocodile meat..hehehe! and hey, I like the photos of the butterflies and the bird. How did you do it without making them fly away?
    So my dearest sister, once again, thank you for sharing your gift to us. I’m proud of you and wish you God’s ever abiding love and support in your journey.
    Take care and God bless!
    Jopet, ang kambal mo!

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  7. Hi,wendy,how are you?The pictures are beautiful.Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience with us.So how's the crocodile meat?Hee hee! may God bless you always in this journey with your great talent in music and media.

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  8. hi this is stavi
    your site is wonderful just like you. i am so sure now many people will like to visit this site coz it is done very creatively. i will you all Gods blessings and his wisdom to spread his message. may God bless you for all the wonderful work you are doing. miss your presence.
    stavi

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  9. Hi Boss,

    Gd retreat with God and his beautiful nature creation...

    Thks for your pleasant and creativity sharing... Mosquito net? Hmm... I smell my Pasai "vacation". I enjoyed your photo shots especially the peaceful walkway along the tall tress and the bird among the branches.

    The front cover of the CD is captivating, as if I'm gazing before a monstrance and Christ light is reaching out to me. It has been a while since I hear you sing and playing the guitar. Kinda of misses them.

    Cheers!!! to the inauguration of the new CD "His Grace is Sufficient".

    God's blessing to you and your pauline companions in your mission to spread the GOOD NEWS thru social communication.

    Take Care ya!!! ~ Jo ;p

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