As we near the end of our time here, normal experiences acquire a poignancy that we might not otherwise notice. Sr. Juliana’s birthday celebration is an example. It was a grand occasion, every one of the nearly fifty Canossian sisters in Dili was invited to the feast. We were given several days’ notice, in itself an indication of its importance. For us it served a second purpose, an apt farewell memory of this marvelous community.
The logistics for staging such an event would challenge any parish back home. The food was spectacular, including a roasted pig and an enormous fish prepared by Sr. Guilhermina, an accomplished feast-giver. After the meal, the tables and chairs were pulled back, setting the stage for the entertainment. Each of the three communities had prepared something as a gift for Sr. Juliana. It began with great hilarity as the Comoro sisters came marching in, mimicking the Canossian school’s drum corps, in uniform, performing the roles of majorette, flag twirlers, and drummers. These formal presentations were followed by a time of community dancing, in which virtually all joined in, a great twirling, circling, laughing throng.
It was an evening that Magdalene, with her joyful spirit, would have relished. For us, it was a providential gift to add to our memories of our year with the Sisters in Timor. [posted by David]