“Where do you come from? ...How did you get here? ...How did you get to know Hyning? …What made you decide to be a nun? …How are you finding it here?” These are the common questions which I get frequently. So perhaps, I shall start from there.

I am Irene. I am 32 years old and I come from a small family in Indonesia.

In summer 2013, I made my way to Hyning to find out whether I am being called to live a monastic life here with the community and also to let the community discern if it may be possible for me to join their order. During these 3 months I spent here, I was exposed to what their daily life is like. I was also given a chance to take part in their activities, to ‘feel’ what it is like to live a monastic life, to experience the peace and challenges of living in prayer and community as well as serving others. This was a part of what is called as a discernment process. In January 2014, I officially entered the Bernardines Cistercians of Esquermes as a postulant, and since December 2014 I have become a novice.

“God works online!” is always my answer whenever people ask me how I got here. Ever since I was a child, spiritual life has always been an attraction for me. This attraction became stronger when I experienced the delight of serving the Lord as an altar server when I was 13 years old. My only desire at that time was to serve the Lord throughout my life. But how? Is it possible? As I became more actively involved in the Church, I came to know that IT IS POSSIBLE! One possible way to do this is by living as a consecrated person. But then came another challenge: There are a whole bunch of groups of religious out there. Which one should I join???

(to be continued in part 2)