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|Missionary Sisters of St Columban|
By Sr. Vincentia Laccay, CFIC
Into the Wilds
One day, Fr. Timoteus, two catechists and I set out for the barrio of Kampung Kadak by motorcycle. After half an hour, we reached a station with a small chapel. There we had to leave behind the motorcycle for the barrio we were going to was still without any road. We have to hike one and a half hours, passing through tall cogon grasses and crossing small rivers.
Tired and Thirsty
Arriving in the place, we were tired and thirsty. We were welcomed by the barrio folks -- with hot tea. But the most welcome of all to us was the fresh coconut water which gave us strength and quenched our thirst. Praised be the good Lord for His goodness.
The people, the young and the old, flocked around and shook hands with us as a sign of their joy to have us in their midst. After having hiked that distant hilly and ragged rats paths ‘jalan tikus’ at last, they met a sister. This was the first time the people had ever seen a ‘sister’. So you can imagine how they stared at me. As for the priest and catechist, well they were used to them.
In this place, the people still practice what is called ‘Dukun’ or local medicine to heal their sick and also strong belief in ghosts. During this visit, the district head and the “guru Agama”- religion teacher- upon the request of those who already were baptized, put up a big tall cross in front of their chapel, to drive away the evil spirit. If they have an epidemic some of the sickness like ‘cholera’, they believe this is brought in by an evil spirit, so they prohibit other people to pass through their territory, or they have to leave the place and go to other barrio. With the blessing and installing of a big cross, their faith will be strengthened and their fear will be lessened. That is their great hope.
During our two days stay at the Kapung Kadad, there were baptisms and weddings held and also some young boys and girls, 15 in all, made their first communion.
After mass, the people gathered in one long house where they invited us to join them in their meal as a sign of oneness and gratefulness for our visits, and especially bringing Christ to them. This is only done once a year due to lack of priests. Let’s pray for more vocations to the priesthood and that they become good missionaries.
Back to the Motor Bikes
Leaving them, they pleaded us to come again and oftener. The children sang songs of farewell and the district head called ‘Kepala Kampung’ accompanied us to the small chapel - next barrio - where we have to get the motorcycles and continue our journey back to our station in “Pusat Damai” which means “Center of peace”.