ASIA/INDONESIA - From Flores to Turkey: the mission of the Daughters of the Queen of the Holy Rosary

Saturday, 11 May 2024 nuns   missionaries   mission   evangelization  

Izmir (Agenzia Fides) - The one carried out by the Daughters of the Queen of the Holy Rosary, an Indonesian religious congregation founded in 1958 in Larantuka, on the Indonesian island of Flores, considered "the Catholic heart of the nation", is a mission always in name of the Virgin Mary. On the island, evangelized by the Portuguese, the Virgin is venerated above all as Queen of the Rosary and various religious congregations, associations and brotherhoods are dedicated to this title. Marian devotion is the popular amalgam that animates the faith of the people and the numerous vocations to religious life are a testimony to this: in a dynamism that is always a source of hope, the Daughters of Our Lady Queen of the Holy Rosary have about twenty young women who join the congregation every year.
Religious women play an important role because, as Indonesian women, they can do much to promote greater respect for women in Indonesian society, working with families and young people, helping to create greater awareness and respect for the dignity of women.
But within the soul and charisma of the institute there is also missionary concern: the order was founded by Archbishop Gabriel Manek, SVD, Vicar Apostolic, today Servant of God, who belonged to the Society of the Divine Word, which is a missionary congregation, and by Mother Anfrida van der Werff, S.Sp.S (Missionary Servants of the Holy Spirit). The foundation was a response to the situation of the local Church, lacking priests and religious, but it was above all an expression of gratitude to God for his care towards the Christians of Larantuka, who preserved their faith in Christ for more than two centuries, despite being deprived of the pastoral care of priests, only thanks to the devotion to Our Lady and the daily prayer of the Rosary. In memory of that historical moment, the congregation of nuns was entrusted to Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary.
In 2020, in Turkey, in the midst of the pandemic, the Sisters of Ivrea who worked in the Italian school and helped the Holy Rosary Parish in Alsancak, in the Izmir area, left. The local priests, after a search effort, reached the Sisters Daughters of the Queen of the Holy Rosary in Indonesia, who expressed a willingness for a missionary presence. Thus, after an inspection by the Mother General, Sister Gratiana and the Provincial of Europe, Sister Sofia, the nuns, welcomed by Archbishop Martin Kmetec and once they had obtained the necessary permits to enter Turkey, settled in Izmir.
Two young nuns, Sister Magdalena and Sister Yona, arrived in the parish in 2024 and were welcomed with joy. From the first moment, the nuns won the sympathy of the faithful with their smiles and with the service they began to carry out in the liturgy, singing, visiting families, the elderly and the sick, as well as in supporting the catechists in the preparation for the Sacraments of Christian Initiation.
The Indonesian nuns have started an intensive Turkish language course and dedicate themselves every day to welcoming visitors and pilgrims, trying to bear witness to their faith in Christ with simplicity, meekness and poverty of spirit.
Describing their spirituality and charisma, the nuns say: "Our mission is to participate in the mission of Christ and build the Kingdom of God by preaching His Word to the poor, the sick and the needy. The congregation is entrusted to the care of Our Lady Queen of the Rosary, and as sisters we are called to imitate Mary, the Servant of the Lord. Mary was the one who faithfully followed the Lord Jesus to Calvary, so she is a model for us on how to follow Christ. She is also the Teacher of spiritual, apostolic and community life. In our daily lives, we strive to be mothers and sisters to those we encounter and, in the spirit of thanksgiving of the Magnificat, we serve God and his people with joyful hearts and simplicity". Theirs is a precious presence in Turkey that, local faithful say, will bear much fruit. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 11/5/2024)