‘Being a Verbum Dei missionary is to help form the hearts of people. This is how I want to live the rest of my life.’ — Sr Sandra Seow

It was at a retreat with the Verbum Dei missionaries in 1998 that the seeds of a religious vocation were sown in Sr Sandra Seow’s life.

On March 4 at Blessed Sacrament Church, the 34-year-old became the second person in her family to make her final profession in the same congregation.

Her elder sister, Elaine, had made hers about three years ago.

Both had attended the same retreat in 1998.

While Sandra was actively involved in church activities, she said she was in search of her own identity and direction in life then. During that retreat, she experienced God’s unconditional love for her, despite some of the “crazy things” she had done, through the preaching of the missionaries and through prayer.

She added that she felt God inviting her to witness to His love through preaching His Word of God through talks, retreats and recollections.

“I think God touched us [sisters]” in the different situations “we were facing then. He made us see and experience His love personally,” said Sr Sandra.

“It was an experience of ‘God knows’,” recalled Sr Elaine. “God knows my deepest needs. He knows what can satisfy the heart of each person.”

Sr Elaine Seow made her final profession three years ago

The sisters shared that they somehow knew the other’s thoughts. “We’re sisters, we know each other,” said Sr Sandra.

They said they journeyed together, shared their struggles and encouraged each other and that this made their journey easier.

One of the struggles they faced was gaining the acceptance of their parents. This was difficult as they were the only two children in the family.

Sr Sandra said she remembers her father crying and asking: “Why Lord? ... Why my daughters?”

She later learnt that after Elaine had joined the congregation, her mother prayed that God would allow Sandra to care for them in their old age.

For Sr Sandra, the missionaries provided her with “a place to cry … a place to vent my frustration” during a time when she faced challenges both at work and in her family. She would visit the Verbum Dei chapel after work and beg God for strength.

She had her doubts too, and was crying at one point when she felt Jesus in the Eucharist telling her “to take care of His people while He will take care of hers”.

Both parents eventually accepted their daughters’ decision.

Sr Sandra says she hopes to be faithful to her vocation, “to who I am for God and who He is for me. And once I’m faithful to that, that’s where the joy comes in … that’s where I radiate the joy … I don’t need to have good clothes or a car. I don’t need to have a lot of money. I have God. I’m His. That’s important.”

She added, “Being a Verbum Dei missionary is to help form the hearts of people. This is how I want to live the rest of my life.”

Sr Sandra will serve in Singapore while Sr Elaine is currently serving in Taiwan.

by Darren Boon
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