Very soon the Daughters of Jesus will be on the island of Flores, in the city of Ruteng, Indonesia. An idea that emerged in 2016 and that this year becomes official with the new foundation.
But what is Indonesia like? What are the people who live there like? She tells us again, Emelinda Falsis FI Provincial Superior of the Indian-Pacific Region.
Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country, however, there is a great sense of respect for the Catholic religion. In a country where Catholics are a minority, we find ourselves on the island of Flores with 95% Catholics. Most of them are located in the Diocese of Ruteng.
What is the country’s culture like?
Having been to the city of Ruteng, on the island of Flores, Indonesia, several times from the period of exploration to the founding of the new community, I would say that we can easily adapt to their culture and vice versa. Based on what I have personally experienced, I would say that the people of Ruteng are very caring, kind and hospitable, and they really made us feel like family.
One day we needed to install the internet connection in the house and asked our neighbors for help. The next day we were able to have the internet connection. With deep gratitude I told them, “Thank you very much because we have found new friends in you.” But I was thrilled when they responded by saying “Sister Lynn, we are not just friends…we are family.” Inside I said to myself: “Oh my! I have the charism of filiation and fraternity, but they live it. I wondered if this attitude is only with us because we are religious, but no, I think they are like this with everyone. We saw it for ourselves when they had a neighborhood meeting in the street. Indeed, there is a deep sense of community and family spirit in the neighborhood. They challenge us to live our charism more intensely.
Adapting to their culture has not been very difficult because Filipinos and Indonesians have many similarities in some aspects of life, but we can also learn many things from their culture. Like Filipinos, they too place great value on family and community activities . They have adeep respect for their deceased parents. They are practicing Catholics. On Sundays, churches are full. They give importance to religiosity and piety. They appreciate your work, no matter how insignificant it may be. They appreciate their loved ones and spend time chatting with them over coffee or tea. They are very simple and humble. Their houses are simple. They like to eat vegetables and spicy foods. I realized that the biggest part of the house is the kitchen. They warmly welcome their friends and visitors in their “ante room”. They have a special place reserved for the people they consider to be their closest family.
What do you highlight about the presence of the Daughters of Jesus there?
Ruteng has already been evangelized by the Divine Word Fathers and other women’s religious congregations. So what else can we offer to people as Daughters of Jesus? In this time of synodality, our presence on the island of Flores will require us to simply walk with the people of Ruteng, particularly with the young women entrusted to our care. We hope to accompany them in their growth and development so that they can become useful members of the community and society. We want to be their sisters, companions on their journey, a family they can turn to and a safe place of formation for them.
What similarities are there between the charism of the Daughters of Jesus and your culture?
I believe that we as a Congregation can easily resonate with their culture since we both place great importance on family and community spirit, sisterhood, fraternity and hospitality . We both value the talent of the young and the wisdom of the old. They look to God as a provident, merciful and loving Father. They have a great devotion to Our Lady and love the Church despite the scandals committed by some priests in the past. In Ruteng, We feel very comfortable with the kindness and affection of the people. we are part of a big family!
What is the connection of the Daughters of Jesus with the country?
What unites us with the country is our commitment to accompany and walk with young people , especially in the formation of the character of the girls in grades 10 to 12 who study at St. Mary’s SCHOOL. KLAUS, Kuwu, Ruteng. These teenagers will be the future of the country and we are happy to be able to collaborate in the development of their personal and spiritual growth.