Erisa Lee from Seoul in South Korea is the second eldest in a family of three daughters. Before joining the Columban Sisters she qualified and worked as a Social Worker in her own country. She also worked with Korean Airlines for three years.
She spent a year with Mother Teresa’s Mission in Calcutta, India as a volunteer and six months in Cambodia and Nepal.
She started her Novitiate formation in Seoul in December 2004. A three month experience of mission in the Phillipines was part of this programme.
Erisa made First Profession of Vows at the Columban Sisters Area House in Seoul on 14th December, 2006.
During her three months in the Philippines, Erisa spent two months working with the Community of Hope in Ozamiz on the island of Mindanao, Southern Philippines.
She is seen here at the left wiith John Vincent, one of her little friends in that community.
Another month was spent with the Aetas tribe in Tarlac on the island fo Luzon. Erisa shares with us some of what she learned during that time:
“As part of my preparation to become a Columban Sister I recently spent a few months in the Philippines. While there, I had the privilege of living among the Aetas people. Some years ago these people were displaced from their ancestoral lands by the eruption of Mount Penatubo and they now live in a nearby province.
During my time there I stayed with the family of Daisy who is 8 years old. Together with her parents she has two brothers and one little sister. They live in a bamboo house that has a roof of banana leaves. In front of their house is a big tree from which they get leaves for their soup. When the people first came to this area there was no water in the village but some Protestant missionaries from Korea installed pipes that now bring water from the nearby river. There is still no electricity and the people have to depend on the moonlight and the starlight during the long, quiet nights.
During our orientation to the area we were asked to bring candles, rice, sugar, noodles, dried fish, sardines, cooking oil and salt to be shared with the families who were hosting us. In return, they shared with us a place in which to stay. We cooked the meals that we then all shared together.
This whole experience was one that touched me deeply. Having grown up in the city of Seoul and I was used to the city lights. When I found myself in this place where there were no lights, I felt for the first time very close to nature: particularly the moon and the stars.
With the stars and the moon above us, we gathered together one evening to share with each other what this experience meant to us. We were unable to see each other’s faces clearly; we were enveloped in the darkness of the night. But I knew that my companions were there with me surrounded by a kind of pale light coming from the moon. But amazingly, there was enough light to guide all of us back to the houses where we were staying! This scenario reminded me of the Easter Vigil when the priest sings: “Christ is our Light.” It helped me to realize that in the past I had been trying to see things clearly on my journey, but that very often things in life unfold to us without total clarity. And yet it is still all right to see things as they are in a given moment. Whatever light I can find around me, little though it be, will be enough to guide and lead me along the way,
The Aetas, a people who were displaced from their land, the source of their livelihood and the future of the coming generations, have taught me what is essential in life. Courageously,
they face life as it comes each day, living in a place full of uncertainties, but trusting in the Providence of God and in the goodness of those they meet along the road”.
Erisa was missioned in Peru and is presently on mission in Korea.