by Sr. Therry, mfic

Why the scripture passage: (John 8: 1 – 11) is special to me.

My migrant journey of encountering physical and verbal abuse started early in life at the age of 7 when my teacher in grade one treated me badly- (a put down experience) in the midst of other children by cutting a big piece of my hair off because I had lice. At the age of 9 I received violent abuse from my two older brothers because of being disobedient to my mother. At the age of twelve when doing grade 5, for half of that year I was a crying baby mainly to the mockery of some boys in my class. When it was my turn to give the morning talk, a negative comment was sure to come from the boys to ridicule and so my talk would finish up with tears again and again. I endured those negative treatment received with silent tears.

One fine afternoon while wandering around inside a Chinese store to buy some lollies with the only money I had in my pocket, a 20 cent piece, I bumped into a man who was a stranger to me. The man looked poor and on his shoulder was a 3 year old boy whom I guess was his son. The little boy was pointing at something he liked from the shelf but the father I guess did not have any money to buy what the son wanted. Moved by the action of the little boy I stepped forward and handed the man the 20 cent. The father was so grateful then and with that money he bought what his son desired, a paper bag of flour balls. There was a big smile on the boy’s face when he received those flour balls from his father and at that moment there was a shift within where I believe I have touched something unique which I now can name as “compassion”. Standing there at the corner of that store that fine afternoon I was also beaming because his smile radiated something beautiful I could not put my finger on at that time.

I did my grade 7 – 10 at a Girl’s School run by the Mercy Sisters and it was there that God’s Word took on a special place in my life through Religious instructions and the option of the daily Mass attendance 7 days a week. At the age of 15 while at home from school, I came face to face with ‘a sour in my stomach’ experience where my younger sister was violently abused by a young man who was 10 years older than her.  My reaction that time was stronger and I felt like hitting him but I had to swallow it all with bitter tears. During my college years I encountered another abuse from a fellow student who took advantage on me where this ‘sourness in the stomach’ was a struggle I had to endure once more. Such struggles continued at different times during my 3 years of teaching before entering religious life.

I have been a religious for 27 years now and when I reflect back over my journey I can say that there were situations of injustice encountered where often this ‘sourness’ within have caused me to take action but then there’s that “wall” that I come face to face with again and again. (One of trying to do what is God’s will for me). The Word of God elicits from us maturing faith. This faith comes from “eating the scroll” and enduring “sourness in the stomach” and so giving birth to faith in our lives follows the pattern of incarnation. Maturing in this faith entails the agony and the beauty of facing the “wall” and “being educated at night”.

I thank the God of my journey for the gift of my call and for the beauty and the power of his Word:  “Dabar” that has found a home in me.

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