This vocation story is interesting because of the generosity of the family in offering two daughters to God, in this case twins, who made their solemn profession as Discalced Carmelites on February 14th, 2015.
The twins, Sr. Mary Sheila and Sr. Shirley Therese, age 25, became Carmelites in Sarawak, Malayasia. Twins are common in the family and these twins are one of four sets in the clan! Their mother Juliana, had a difficult first pregnancy with them and prayed that God would spare at least one of them. He doubly answered her prayers by preserving the life of both. When Sr. Shirley was diagnosed with leukemia at age 10, Juliana prayed again for the life of her daughter, promising if she were healed that she would offer this child to God. She was double blessed again, because both children accepted the call from God to enter religious life.
Rather than viewing this as a double loss, their father, Stephen said, “It’s not a sacrifice by the family. It’s a gain for the whole Roman Catholic community and we are all right with that.” The twins’ mother was instrumental in bringing a Sunday school to the parish and said that the twins at an early age showed a devotion to God, preferring saints’ stories to other books. A friend said, “Juliana is a very hard-working Catholic and we can all see she has brought up her seven children very well. The twins are the eldest, followed by five other children who are all very obedient and God-fearing. She has set a very high standard for other Catholic women to follow.”
Their monastery in Mir, Sarawak, was founded in 1985 and houses ten nuns. The twins are the first members of the indigenous tribe of the Kenyahs to become Discalced Carmelites.
The brochure from the monastery states: “The Carmelite Monastery is an open witness to the reality of the presence and the existence of God, which in today’s broken world, is often denied. It is a reminder to the world of the validity of Gospel values.”
“In the hidden garden, the needs, joys, wounds and sorrows of the world are carried before the throne of God hourly every day, especially in the Sacred Liturgy.”
To read more, visit the Borneo Post (now that’s a great newspaper name!)