Vocation Story. The Sign of the Cross at Birth

Sr. Kurniawaty Marsaoly, originally from Indonesia, belongs to the Our Lady of Sorrows Sisters Servants of Mary talks with us about her vocation journey.  

My vocation story goes back to the moment my family converted to Catholicism. It all happened when I was born in 1986 into a Muslim family, being the second born after my eldest sister. My family was surprised that I was born with a birthmark in the form of a cross, which was located at the back of my head, next to the neck. The sign became clearer after three months.

My parents wondered and discussed why their daughter was born with the sign of the cross, the symbol of the Christian faith that contradicts the Islamic religion of the family. Later on, after so many signs, dreams, and visions, they realized that they were called to adhere to the Catholic Church. And so, my parents and other family members were baptized in 1987 at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish.

I am so grateful for my dad and mum, who, in their simplicity, were willing to take the next step, which demanded that they leave everything behind and follow Jesus. It was difficult for them as they initially did not understand the unfolding of events.

I grew up full of excitement in a family environment surrounded by faith. In my younger years, I was growing up full of wonder and curiosity about the Catholic faith my family had just embraced. My mother taught me how to pray before going to bed at night, and my father taught me the basic prayers.

Later, when I learned about their conversion story, I became very curious about who Jesus was as such a mysterious and wonderful person. The desire to become a sister started when I was seven years old after getting to know the sisters in our town.

I remember asking myself what makes them so joyful. I was so captivated by their smiles, their joy and their active church life. I said I wanted to be like them soon. Then, I felt deeply and believed that Jesus would always be with me to protect me. Since I was rather shy and my parents could not protect me from everything, I nurtured an assurance that Jesus would protect me deep inside my heart. And thus, the seed of my vocation grew little by little.

In my teens, I gave up on my boyfriend as I was hungering for a long-lasting relationship and not just a temporary one, which I felt only Jesus Christ could satiate.

The call to religious life became stronger when I met Sr. Ines of the Our Lady of Sorrows Sisters in 2004. My father and mother were very supportive; they respected my decision, telling me, “As long as you are happy, go and follow your heart’s desires.”

My father got the phone number of the Sisters in Ruteng, Indonesia, and thus I was able to be in touch with them. Then, on August 28, 2004, I joined the Congregation of Our Lady of Sorrows Sisters. I underwent various formation stages where I encountered joyful moments and struggles that made me grow in my vocation.

I felt deep joy for being myself and developing the skills and talents that God gave me. With time, I have learned to let God take the lead in whatever I am doing. I owe my vocation, my ministry, my talents to Him. What attracted me to this particular congregation was that Mary, our Mother and Mother of Jesus, is our vocation and mission model.

From Her, we learn to be women of strength, particularly in times of darkness and suffering, as she did at the foot of the cross. I did my first religious profession on December 27, 2008. And after eight years more of formation, ministry, and community life, I did my solemn profession on February 27, 2016. That was a memorable day as I was surrounded by my family and Sisters who supported me throughout my vocation journey.

I desire to continue to be open to God’s Spirit to transform me, renew, and sanctify me day by day to be what He wants me to be. I entrust myself to the care of the Blessed Virgin and our founder, Mother Maria Luisa, so that they may be my inspiration and guides along my life journey.

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