We are a small family -my parents, my older brother and sister in law, my little niece and myself. Although my father has a sad history of being orphaned by the Korean War, he worked as a technical official for the Government for a long time. My mother came from a middle-class and is an ordinary housewife. My brother and sister-in-law met as co-workers in the same company. They married five years ago and now they are living happily with my niece, who is 18 months old.
I studied Art education and early childhood education in the university. So, I am very interested in art and children. I think art is a good tool for connecting with people, especially with children. Because their ideas are always are always true and creative, they really inspire me. So I am fortunate- I enjoy and love things that I studied. I enjoy drawing or creating something; this is my hobby. I find myself constantly inspired.
After finishing my studies I worked in an educational company to create art materials and a curriculum for children. I met many children for my work,; their creative thinking had a great influence on my life. I greatly enjoyed the work. It was a great of joy when the vague idea became a reality.
Later as a volunteer, visited Kenya in East Africa for a year. The experience changed my life completely. I worked at a secondary school for students suffering from HIV/AIDS, which was run by the Jesuits. I joined their art club and program where graduate community students volunteer to serve their local community. I met extreme poverty there. I always asked myself, “What do I want to give them?” But, after the time, I realized that the gifts they gave me were bigger. I was very happy with the poor people there; they enriched me greatly.
After that experience, I dreamed of becoming a missionary. I came to know the Columban Sisters. Actually, I had no interest in life as a religious before so this was really a big change for me. I felt welcomed and at home at the vocation Sundays organized by the Columban Sisters in Korea. I felt drawn to live the life of a Columban missionary. So, by God’s grace, I joined them in Seoul
After my novitiate and First Profession, I did CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education). I learned how to interact with the patients but I also learned how to reflect deeply on my own life. It was an enriching time.
Later I was sent to Magheramore, the motherhouse of the Sisters in Ireland. Here I met many sisters; some quite old and others returned form the missions. It was so good to be there; I learned a lot of things from them. When they talked about their last mission, I could feel how much they loved the mission and the people. I longed to go to my mission soon and I wanted walk along the journey.
Every day’s prayer reminds me of my identity as a religious who lives in God. In particular, I feel that it is another form of prayer to feel the look of God in my everyday life and stay inside and it always gives me life and energy within my relationship with others and events that comes my way.
I got assignment already to go to Myanmar. I went to Myanmar a year ago as a novice for mission experience and this remains a very special memory for me. Probably, there is waiting for me a lot of struggle with cultures, climate, and even relationships but, I am sure that I will be happy there. By God’s grace there will be joy beyond many difficulties and challenges to be faced.
I pray that I can live as a happy Columban Sister.
–Sr. Maria Kim,SSC