Two young women were received as novices with the Good Samaritan Sisters during a ceremony last month in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.
Tuata Terawete, 23, and Juniko Toaua, 25, both born and raised in the Republic of Kiribati (pronounced kiribas), were welcomed as novices by a small group of Good Samaritan Sisters in their community in Lawson on June 30.
Among those gathered to witness the occasion were Congregational Leader, Sister Clare Condon, two of her Counsellors, Sisters Bernardina Sontrop and Bernadette Corboy, Sister Judy Margetts, who accompanied Tuata and Juniko during their pre-novitiate phases in Kiribati, and sisters from the Wentworth Falls community.
During the Rite of Reception Tuata and Juniko made a formal request to Sister Clare to be received into the Good Samaritan community. Following this, both women were presented with the Rule of St Benedict, the Rules of John Bede Polding, first Archbishop of Sydney and founder of the order, a copy of the Constitutions of the Good Samaritan Sisters and a medal of St Benedict to wear during their novitiate.
“The experience of becoming a novice is a big step for me and a challenge to deal with different cultures,” Juniko told The Good Oil.
“It also means concentrating more on spiritual reading and prayer, and studying more the psalms and the Rule of Benedict. There will also be a new experience of having a spiritual director.”
Since 1991, Good Samaritan Sisters have been working in the remote Pacific island nation of Kiribati in education, pastoral and community development roles. In that time a number of I-Kiribati women have been drawn to Good Samaritan life.
Juniko first met the Sisters while studying at the Kiribati Pastoral Institute during 2009 and 2010.
“I want to become a Good Samaritan Sister because I want to serve God by helping people. I was attracted to [the Sisters’] mission. They [show their] love [for] their neighbour by visiting those with mental illness, visiting the prisoners, the elderly and those in hospital. They also pray with people with physical disabilities and they welcome the poor into their home,” Juniko said.
Tuata said she was in junior secondary school when she met an I-Kiribati Good Samaritan Sister. “Then when I was at the Kiribati Pastoral Institute I met more Good Samaritan Sisters who also taught me,” she said.
“I wanted to live the same life as those sisters I met. They lived their charism according to the Good Samaritan parable, go and do likewise. I was attracted by their ministries and their praying morning and evening prayer together, and listening to the Word of God.”
Before coming to Australia this year, Tuata was teaching at the Good Samaritan Early Childhood Centre in the village of Abaokoro on North Tarawa, one of Kiribati’s islands.
“This new phase means coming to learn more deeply about the Good Samaritan way of life and sharing this Good Samaritan heart [with] one another. The experience of becoming a novice is starting a new journey in my seeking of God,” she explained.
During their two-year novitiate, which will take place in Australia, Tuata and Juniko will be accompanied by novice director, Sister Maree Nash.
“It will be a time to deepen their understanding of the way of life of the Good Samaritan Sisters, to further study the Rule of Benedict, and develop their love for prayer and Scripture,” said Maree.
“I feel it is a more intense time, listening to what God is calling them to, and what their response is.”
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