He is Risen Indeed Alleluia!

April 9, 2009

Wow, it’s already the Easter Triduum (and a breather in a way for me as we have these three days before Easter as semi-recollection days). Needless to say, it has been an ultra busy past month as we went into full production on our scripture music video, “The Father and Two Sons,” (more popularly known as The Prodigal Son), wrapped up recording for our audio bible and celebrated another Day of Saint Paul, this time at a Salesian parish called Our Lady, Help of Christians. What made the latter extra special this time was that we also held a vigil on Saturday evening during which parishioners took turns to read the letters of Saint Paul non-stop all night long. I attended the opening of the Vigil but didn’t stay up to the end (which was around six the next morning) as we still had several activities at the parish the next day. As part of the celebrations, our lovely novices rendered a wonderful dance to the medley of some songs from our CD, as well as a rap number written by one of them for a class I had given them on Paul. Here’s a very rough clip of their rehearsal:

Actually the novices have also kept me busy the past month. I taught both groups of novices – the first years on The Evangelical Counsels in the Era of Communication and the second years on Vocational Formative Community! It’s a wonder I’m not already as dead as Christ will be tomorrow on Good Friday!

Speaking of death, last month saw the demise of Fr Thomas Green, sj who had been my Spiritual Director (or co-discerner which was a term he preferred), my professor in Spirituality and a dear friend. His passing is truly a sad and big loss for me and a legion of others….

Fr. Tom was scheduled to come to Kenya this year and was looking forward to meeting up with me but sadly his illness prevented him from any trips abroad. I had intended to send him an email to greet him on his birthday which was on March 19 (Feast of St Joseph) but instead that day was the day of his funeral and burial. Here’s the homily given at his funeral with a video tribute at the end. And here’s a list of some of the wonderful books he wrote on prayer. I am grateful to Fr Tom for being such a wonderful and wise companion on my spiritual journey. He taught me a lot on prayer and helped me understand many of the complex reflections on prayer from spiritual giants like Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. Prayer is like a love relationship and as in life we encounter darkness, so does our prayer life and we move from knowing to loving to truly loving. Perhaps the best image he gave me on prayer is just to float, rather than struggle against the current. Or, to just lay still as by the shore or a lake and let the lap of the waves simply just wash over my feet…. In other words, to let go of control and just surrender to where the Spirit of love takes you or to be grateful when graces come and go....
I also remember his fondness for blue cheese (!), and his great sense of humour. I still recall some of his quips like:
– Here’s how you can tell if a person is holy – one who bows his/her head when cursing!
– She was so thin that you couldn’t tell if you’re looking at her from the front or the side.
– Today’s pop music is sometimes like “jungle music” – a collective nervous breakdown. [I think he was referring to head jamming here! :-) ]
– Bang bang bang! “You have to knock hard because Father is very deaf,” an old priest says to a younger priest as they pay a visit to another elderly priest. Meanwhile the elderly priest on the other side of the door is shouting, “Come in! Come in!”
– So there were the Dominicans, Franciscans and Jesuits, discussing among themselves which group is closer to God. The answer came the next day on a sheet of paper: “All are equal.” Signed, God, SJ
RIP Fr Tom! Now we have another intercessor in heaven!

Last March 25 was also the first anniversary of my Dad’s birth to eternal life. On the request of some relatives, I’ve uploaded the slide presentation and the “sharing” I gave at his funeral here. It was also the 6th anniversary of my final profession and I really am amazed at how time has simply zoomed by over the years…. Where did all my 30s go??? Gulp!

Every 3rd Sunday of the month now (this new schedule only began this year) we have a “free” day so last month I spent it visiting a fellow Singaporean, Anna, who lives very near Kibera, the largest slum not only here in Kenya but the whole of Africa! Anna accompanied me on foot to Kibera from her house. Below are some snaps of only a small portion of an area which is the home of an estimated one million people who come from the rural parts of Kenya into the city of Nairobi hoping to seek a better life… All the settlements are illegal, and the landlords (many are government officials) are not obliged to provide any services. Hence there are 'no latrines nor water, no electricity, no rubbish collection, no infrastructure, totally inadequate housing, no repairs or maintenance and open sewers filled with stinking, raw sewage.' From what I’ve read after my visit, “flying toilets” (human feces wrapped in plastic) are a hazard while walking in Kibera – thank goodness we were not hit by any!!!
I think the pictures here definitely speak louder than any more words I can use to describe Kibera….
Train comes.... (notice the pairs of sneakers hanging for sale on the right of the train!)
Train goes...
Shop displays and people back on to the railway tracks....
"Houses" cramped with garbage and sewage all around....
Yet antennas abound (for those fortunate enough have generators for their power needs)
Anna browsing through a used book at a makeshift used "bookshop" just by the railway tracks

(more pics of Kibera can be found on this site although the population figures sited on that site is out of date.)

During the month of March we also had a meeting for the whole delegation of Africa (ie for all the sisters who belong to the African communities). Here’s the whole gang of perpetually professed sisters (excluding a few who couldn’t make it because of studies as well as the 20 or so temporary professed African sisters who will have their own meeting later in the year).
And my "corso-mates" - the Sisters who were with me in Rome for our preparation for final vows back in 2002/3:

Well I hope I can upload a snippet of our scripture music video on my next post. Meanwhile, next weekend (although it’s a free Sunday – hence I’ll miss out on my day off!) I’ll be conducting a media workshop for both groups of novices on the topics of Media Awareness and Literacy as well as Media Spirituality. Please pray for this workshop as I try to engage them to grasp the impact and language of today’s media and hopefully also inspire them to use the media to grow in their spiritual life and that of others.

Before I end I have to share a little piece of exciting news (for me anyway!). Unlike in Singapore, bean sprouts (tow gay) are not easily available here so I’ve started to grow them in my room! Thanks to Linda (another fellow Singaporean) who gave me a bag full of green gram beans and who taught me how to do it, I first started experimenting growing them in my closet, then moved my "indoor farm" to one of my study drawers! Here’s a bunch of crunchy, juicy and nutritious added ingredient to my occasional cup noodles!

A blessed, joyous and hope-filled Easter to one and all! May the Peace of our Risen Lord bring new life to you, cast all your darkness away, and bring back to life what may be dead within you….

Grace and Peace,


  1. Sr. Wendy,
    Thanks for the wonderful 'spices' and updates
    God Bless
    Vincent and Florence Kee

  2. Dearest Wen,
    I am very glad and proud to be able to know what you have been doing during your short time in Kenya.
    The Lord has showered his Blessings and Graces on you.
    Continue doing your work with love and patience!
    Praying for you always!
    LOve Mom

  3. The Supreme Courage

    Give me the supreme courage of love, this is my prayer
    The courage to speak, to do, to suffer at Thy will
    To leave all things or be left alone.
    Strengthen me on errands of danger
    Honour me with pain, and help me climb that difficult mood
    Which sacrifices daily to thee

    Give me the supreme confidence of love, this is my prayer
    The confidence that belongs to life in death
    To victory in defeat, to the power hidden if frailest beauty
    To that dignity in pain which accepts hurts
    But disdains to return it

    Rabindranath Tagore

    May we have an intimate journey and companionship with Jesus this Holy week.
    God bless


  4. Sr Wendy ah nia dearest,
    So happening to read your blog... wow, so pandai of you to be able to grow bean sprouts! moving here and there hahahhaa... interesting! Take care and hope to see you soon...Sarah

  5. Hai Wendy,
    Thanks for the news and reminding of our past life in Rome I am so happy to see you all t6ogether. Please greet them all for me. Wish you a very Happy Easter. May God bless you
    with much love priya

  6. I enjoyed your post! I will share the video with the cooperators at http://paulinecharismlive.magnify.net Please feel free to post there too!
    A very blessed Easter!
    Sr Margaret Charles Kerry
    where it is still chilly - By the way love your logo.

  7. Hi Wendy!

    Happy Easter too. So, how's the "closet farmer?" I was sad about Fr. Tom's passing away too. I was there at at his wake and funeral. But it was touching that many people have come and prayed for him. Anyway, He is enjoying the eternal easter now.

    Take care and God bless.

    Mel, rc