When was the last time you had fun?
When I had to don the garb and act the role of an old, “drunken” woman for a community play. On certain occasions, such as our Prioress’ feast day on our jubilees, we amuse ourselves with homely fun.
Name an occasion you felt embarrassed.
I was in a Carmelite community in Uganda from 1986-2006. Once, out for a dental appointment, I struck up a friendship with a Ugandan mother carrying her toddler. Children there have close cropped hair. When I asked, “Mama, what’s the name of your son?” The amused answer shot back, “She is my daughter”.
What do you like best about being a Religious/consecrated person?
Pope Francis once said, “Prayer is never in vain.” Daily, people come to request prayers for their needs. Either marvelling at their faith or rejoicing with them for prayers answered, I thank God for my vocation.
What has sustained your life as a Religious, especially in the face of challenges/changes?
Being part of a community that prays, in all weakness and vulnerability. Prayer is fragile strength, awaiting the Spirit who helps us in our weakness.
What aspect of Religious life has brought you most joy?
The daily privilege of having Mass and two hours of personal prayer as a community. Prayer is to grow in friendship with a Friend who loves us. We also pray the Hours of the Divine Office whereby all needs are embraced. Being part of the Church as family gives me great joy.
What are your usual distractions during prayer time? What do you do about them?
About what I have to do after prayer. However, undaunted, I simply return to the gaze of Jesus. St Teresa of Avila, our foundress says, “Fix your eyes on your Spouse. He never takes his eyes off you.”
Pope Francis calls for a Church for the poor, by the poor. How do you live that in your vocation?
By trying to live a simple life. Pope Francis said, “Wasting food is taking it from a poor man’s table.” So, I try not to have a “throw-away” attitude by not being too choosy about whatever is served for meals.
What do you like doing most with your biological family?
At Christmas/Easter, for example, my entire family visits me at our parlour. In spite of the grille between us, we enjoy just being together, with a lot of banter and laughter. When someone brings along an instrument, we croak a few songs from memory. At other times, when one or another family member visits, we enjoy a bonding experience.
Your favourite food?
Noodles here. Fried grasshoppers in Uganda.
What do you usually do to relax?
Admire the beauty of nature which is, to quote St Augustine, “ever ancient, ever new”. When I hear my favourite bird calling, I thank God for telling me, “I love you”.
Singaporean Sr Marie Of the Lamb,
Discalced Nuns of the Order of the
Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt Carmel (OCD)