Sister Kakare Biita recently became the second I-Kiribati woman to make her lifelong commitment as a Sister of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict.
The perpetual profession ceremony was held in Kiribati on May 10 in Abaokoro’s small Catholic Church on North Tarawa. About 130 people gathered to witness Kakare make her commitment in a liturgy imbued with the symbolism, story and ritual of both the I-Kiribati and Good Samaritan-Benedictine cultures.
Those present included Kakare’s parents, her extended family and friends, Good Samaritan Sisters living in Kiribati and a small number visiting from Australia, teachers from the local primary school, and a group of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Sisters.
Kakare said the liturgy had been “beautifully prepared”.
“The choir, made up of many of my family and friends from my home village of Nooto, sang beautifully. It made the celebration lively and enjoyable,” she said.
Later in the day those gathered moved from the church to the Good Samaritan Centre for the botaki, a celebratory meal and entertainment.
Kakare found the whole celebration to be “very meaningful and enjoyable”. She said the presence of her Good Samaritan Sisters, family and friends was “very important”.
“I felt supported and affirmed by their presence. The whole experience of my perpetual profession made me feel close to God,” she explained.
Congregational Leader, Sister Clare Condon, described Kakare’s perpetual profession as “a moment of grace for the congregation”.
“For us Good Sams who were present, it was a moment of re-commitment to the simple depth of the call to religious life as Good Samaritans. The presence and energetic participation of the six inquirers [seeking to know more about] our life, gave us hope for the future of Good Sam life in Kiribati,” she said.
Kakare, age 40, was born and raised in Kiribati, on North Tarawa, in the village of Nooto, near Abaokoro where one community of Good Samaritan Sisters is based. The other community is at Temaiku on South Tarawa.
Kakare first met the Good Sams in 1998, when participating in English classes and prayer sessions they offered. In 2004 she joined the sisters formally to learn more about their life.
“I was attracted by their warm hospitality and their balanced life of prayer, work and leisure,” she said.
“The years since have been very special for me because they gave me time to experience deeply the warm hospitality that made me feel at home with them and within myself. It also made me feel at home with God.”
It was these experiences that helped Kakare to take the next step of lifelong commitment. “I feel happy and honoured to be making perpetual profession and giving my whole life to God and to the congregation,” she explained.
Kakare will continue her role as Director of the Good Samaritan Early Childhood Centre at Abaokoro which has provided I-Kiribati children with pre-school opportunities since 2009. There she works with I-Kiribati Sisters Tibwau Matia and Teubwaniman Akireo, and Australian Sister Marie O’Shea.
“I enjoy teaching the little children at our pre-school. I also enjoy teaching religious education at the local primary school.”
Along with Tibwau, Kakare co-ordinates the Good Samaritan Inquirers program for young I- Kiribati women interested in exploring religious life as a Good Samaritan Sister.
“It encourages me that young women want to join us,” she said.