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Dear God, This is Vicky

You are familiar with all my thoughts; with great patience you allow me to pour out my heart. I ask you let me see; let me understand and accept your ways. I am musing aloud about the events of the last weeks, now that we turned over the ICM Dapu residence to co-pilgrims of the absolute, making it available to some personnel of the Yong Ho Cardinal Tien Hospital.

ICM Taiwan has just completed her 55th anniversary, and our story unfolded from this Dapu Residence, a small Japanese like bungalow where the first band of DGTIVICM Sisters fielded themselves to other streets and alleys of the Wan Hua District, gathering the poor and ministering to the women and children of the area. In the course of the years, the Sisters explored different services. We established our presence in the medical field, in education, in the Pastoral Ministry both hospital and parish based, in reaching out to workers, migrants, to the prisoners, and the elderly. We sent out Sisters to China, dreaming that one day we will consolidate our contacts there and build a home. All along, we kept a meaningful presence in Dapu Street.

In the mid-seventies, the CICM’s built a four storey apartment on Dapu Street, replacing the original structure. ICM purchased three units; two on the firstfloor and another on the second. And we designed a chapel in the basement; Rosa Marchand, with the help of a local artist from Ilan, gave it a distinctly Chinese form, replete with carved wooden tiles for its ceiling, an intricately carved wooden altar and tabernacle. Rays of light flowed out from the “dwei lian”, a Chinese couplet mounted above the parallel sides of the altar. Roughly translated, it announced the mystery of Your Son abiding among us: “Christ took flesh, Goodness is alive here”.

Sisters came, making camp in Dapu and then moved on. Lena Bomans stands out preeminently in my mind. Before going for retirement in 2005, she poured out her skills and remaining energy to renovate the house, to leave it as a homey haven,

DGTIV2

 elegant and yet simple. Her last gaze at the home, as she turned around and walked away, is seared into my soul. Her eyes gently spoke to me: “guard this place, keep the vision alive; continue to sow seeds of goodness and be faithful in love.”

In April 2013, Srs. Nellie, Christiane, and our novice, Mali, folded “their tents” to establish residence nearer to the De Chang Mission House where but three Sisters remained. It was intended to be a transitional move, and the steady flame of hope urged us to believe that in the foreseeable future young Sisters will be assigned to the HTM District. Will this happen?

In January 2014, a decision was reached to open the doors of our Dapu Residence for the use of mission partners for an indefinite period of time. In March, we had 7 days to pack up and to empty the house! We must leave Dapu behind, for good. Lord, what are you implying now?

The call to leave our boats behind is not unfamiliar. Did we not lay to rest St. Joseph the Worker Hospital, in order that Yong Ho Cardinal Tien Hospital may emerge? The property in Yong Ho was ceded over to the Archdiocese of Taipei. The ICM Sisters took secondary roles, and to our amazement, the Yong Ho Cardinal Tien Hospital grew and developed beyond our wildest dreams!

DGTIV3A second time around, when we looked at the acute needs of the elderly, particularly those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, we boldly responded. We divested ourselves of the last piece of property we owned. In partnership with the Archdiocese and the Cardinal Tien Hospital, we set out to build a home for them. Our contribution was the land that our pioneering Sisters acquired in 1960. The joy we felt was one of a piece with the pain of letting go! Then on the Great Jubilee year 2000, we saw St. Joseph’s Home rise up in the neighborhood of De Chang Street! Why does my heart hesitate this time around to let go of the Dapu Residence? It looks like at age 70 the price of letting go is far too steep to pay. Do I dare take a bold leap into the unknown?

Fifty-five years ago, we embarked on the ICM Taiwan faith journey. We came with empty hands and an unconditional readiness to carry the cross of mission. T. S. Eliot is correct. “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Will this closure of the Dapu Community unbind us and set us free once again? Will we be ready to embrace a new face of the ICM Taiwan reality?

Speak Lord! Oh that your light and love may lift me up and enable me to complete my journey.

 

by : Sr. VICKY PALANCA, icm~ 陳勝華修女

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