The Xaverian Region of Indonesia held its biannual Assembly at the Canossian Sisters’Retreat House of Bintaro in Jakarta, from 15th-19th January 2018.This 14th Assembly of our Region aimed at gathering us together in a brotherly atmosphere in order to share and deepen our reflection on the topic of “the Xaverian Identity and Charism amidst Cultural and Religious Challenges in Indonesia” in line and in continuation of theme of our Assembly held 2 years ago.
This year’s Assembly pursued 3 main goals: First, to clarify our identity and charism amidst the many cultural and religious challenges that we encounter (at the national, local; and the community levels), second, to reflect on the opportunities that these challenges offer us for the proclamation of the Gospel to the non-Christians; and third, to formulate and share our hopes and expectations about the future of this Region in the coming 10 years.
Indonesia is a country blessed with a diversity of cultures and religions that have long coexisted harmoniously together to make up what constitutes the Indonesian identity which has been curved in the country’s motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, i.e. Unity in diversity. However, some individuals, political and even religious groups try to take advantage of the cultural and religious differences in order to achieve their agenda and preserve their interests. Moreover, missionary life and identity itself is threatened by the rise of individualism, pluralism, social contrasts, poverty, hedonism, fundamentalism; social media culture, the nihilism of the youth and the issue of ecology.
Lest we forget it, the cultural and religious challenges stand for a constant reminder of the reason why our lives have been dedicated to God in the Xaverian Family whose sole and exclusive purpose is to preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God to those who do not know Him.
Thus, the diversity of cultures and religions in Indonesia becomes an opportunity for us to bear witness to our charism through our work and presence as a multicultural and international Congregation. This requires the study and deepening of the local languages and cultures while maintaining a good and dialogical relationship with the other religions around us.
Given the difficulty for missionaries from outside to enter in Indonesia, we can forsee that in the next 10 years the face of the Congregation in our Region will increasingly be Indonesian. This will require us to cultivate and develop the family spirit, the sense of belonging, missionary zeal; and openness to the needs of the entire Congregation and the Church as well. Efforts should also be made to deepen our knowledge of the Founder and translate his writings into Indonesian so as to be available to all.
While trusting always in Divine Providence, we also hope that in these coming years our Region will be more and more economically self-sufficient.
The future of our Congregation in Indonesia heavily depends on the ability of our generation to deal positively with the diversity of cultures and religions that we encounter in Indonesia. It is precisely in the midst of diversity and plurality that our identity and charism should become more alive because it provides us with the opportunity to encounter the “other” and know him more closely while allowing the Holy Spirit who searches the hearts to open them to the Gospel.
Shukuru Valentin, sx