A Weekend of Celebration
Final Profession of Sr. Laurentia Yunitri Moelywardani, fcJ
The celebration of Sr Yuni’s final vows took place on Sunday 16th November, however, long before that date we were anticipating the day with an ever growing excitement. Yuni arrived in Yogyakarta on October 14th in order to have time to make her retreat and to be present as final preparations were made. Sr Barbara’s arrival on Thursday 13th was a sign that the vows were almost upon us and the joy within the group and indeed Yuni’s own joy were palpable. On the evening of Saturday 15th November we gathered for a prayer of thanksgiving which was very beautiful and was indeed a prayer of gratitude. We gave thanks for Yuni’s family and friends; for the FCJ Society; for Yuni’s journey of formation and for her experience of mission, her years of service and of study.
Sunday dawned, a bright, fresh morning. We looked at the sky and were hopeful that Marie Madeleine would do as we had been asking – and intercede for us and ask Our God to keep the rain away until the ceremony was well and truly over. Our houses were pervaded by a wonderful sense of calm…all was ready, all that needed to happen was for the ceremony to begin.
The university chapel looked beautiful. It seemed brighter than usual and the flower arrangements were lovely in their simplicity. Looking down the chapel at the guests it was possible to get a sense of who Yuni is and who the FCJs are. All the FCJs currently on mission in Indonesia were present and there were representatives from Australia and the Philippines. As well as family and close personal friends Yuni had invited representatives from all aspects of her life as an FCJ. These guests included members of our basic ecclesial community; some of the people Yuni had worked with when she was a novice; and former colleagues and students from her time of ministry in the university. Other guests included friends and contacts of the FCJ communities in Yogyakarta and Ende; representatives from our various places of ministry and members of other religious congregations in the area. One special group of guests were the mass of young people from the MAGIS 08 and 09 groups who had come to help in a variety of ways.
The hymns Yuni had chosen for her vows were reflective of the internationality of our FCJ life. She had hymns in English, Indonesian, Javanese and Tagalog. The choir, which sang beautifully, was formed from university staff members. Eucharist was celebrated by Fr Darminto SJ and Sr Barbara Brown Graham received the vows.
The whole ceremony was utterly lovely, it seemed that there was highlight after highlight. Some of the many deeply touching moments are as follows. Immediately after the opening hymn Yuni went to her mother and uncle (who represented her father) for a special blessing. This blessing is traditional at weddings. As Yuni knelt down and laid her head in her mother’s lap to receive her blessing and words of wisdom many of us had tears in our eyes. Fr Darminto directed his homily in a special way to Yuni, his words came out of his own experience as a religious and were punctuated with humour, encouragement and sound advice. As the homily ended the electricity failed, switching off the lights and organ. The piano was quickly uncovered and the choir burst into song and called upon the Holy Spirit to come down and fill the place with power and light!
Undeterred by the loss of power Yuni stepped forward with confidence and as she responded to the examination and proclaimed her vows her voice resounded throughout the chapel. In a dramatic moment that seemed to tell of God’s delight at Yuni’s vows the lights went on the moment she signed the vows register! As the choir sang out the words of the Magnificat the FCJs joyfully greeted the newest finally professed FCJ. After communion Yuni gave a short address of thanks, her joy was visible in her smile and in the radiance emanating from her face. Our eyes were filled with tears once more as Yuni with some FCJs and some family members took flowers to Mary’s statue as the choir sang a hymn in Javanese.
At the conclusion of the Eucharist the guests greeted Yuni and streamed out into the chapel grounds to enjoy a delicious selection of traditional Indonesian food. The choir continued to sing and the atmosphere was relaxed and joyful. The MAGIS teams were once more in operation making sure that all the guests were taken care of. Even the weather cooperated to make the day a good one and despite it being the rainy season the rain did not come until the food was eaten, the goodbyes were said and we were all safely back at home. Later that day Yuni’s family and a few special guests joined us for an evening celebration. After supper we sang songs and we shared in Yuni’s delight as she opened her gifts and read the cards and greetings she had received from her family and friends and from FCJ sisters from all over the world.
Yuni has returned to Manila to complete her studies and life goes on for the rest of us. However, for all who were present at Yuni’s vows on 16th November, 2008 we go forward with more energy, more hope and with a greater sense of our common call as God’s people. Yuni’s vows were a celebration for the whole faith community. We are reminded that we are called to be on mission together in order that God’s dream for the whole of creation might be ever more fully realised.
My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour,
For God who is mighty has magnified me,
And holy, holy is God’s name,
Holy is God’s name!