- Sr Elsie Isikeli MSI
Responding to the call of God
Alotau, Milne Bay Province: It was a memorable and joyful day for me when I received my Missionary Mandate to Bangladesh at my home parish, the Kurada Parish in Alotau, Milne Bay Province, on 11th July 2021.
After my final profession in 2016, I was sent to Italy for preparation for my mission, did my studies in Religious Science at the Angelicum University, a Pontifical Institute run by the Dominican Fathers.
Having completed my studies in Rome after four years, I returned to Papua New Guinea for my holidays where I celebrated my missionary mandate in my hometown. The celebration was very well programmed, which was the first of its kind in both the customary and spiritual way.
It brought joy and unity among all the people in my parish. I was very much inspired and encouraged by the joy, support, team spirit, love, concern, unity and happiness of all the people who participated wholeheartedly in one way or another to make this day a noteworthy event for me and for everyone.
During the Holy Eucharist, I received the Holy Bible and the Crucifix symbolizing an inseparable companionship of my apostolic work. A vow to proclaim it with my life; to translate it into the language of the people. I felt very emotional as I received the crucifix which reminded me to suffer with Christ in my missionary work of proclaiming the Gospel to unknown people and places.
I had read the act of offering of my life to God for the mission. This prayer was composed around the year 1850 by Blessed John Mazzucconi, the first martyr of PIME, on the occasion of the first group of PIME Missionaries for Oceania in 1852. This was a very stirring moment as I recalled my call in the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate.
This ceremonial celebration encouraged me a lot to uphold my cultural rituals and customs with a broad mind and with the light of the Gospel values to give myself totally for the service of God’s people in Bangladesh.
Our cultures bring our memories back of who we are and where we come from that keeps us alive and active to say, “I have a very rich cultural background that I am proud to be a part of.” What is good we hold on to and what is not so good and pleasing we learn to avoid.
I encourage the youths of today to respond to the call of God generously and to keep up the good values of our culture inserting them with the values of Christ, in order to strengthen our faith and belief in God.