The importance of storytelling

Kiribati visit

Good Samaritan Sister, Clare Condon, says her congregation’s recent assembly highlighted for her the power of a single voice and the importance of networking together.

- The Good Oil

I’ve recently returned from a visit to Kiribati. For those who don’t know, the Republic of Kiribati is a remote island nation straddling the equator in the Pacific Ocean. It’s also where a small group of Good Samaritan Sisters have been ministering since 1991. I was there to witness the perpetual profession of Kakare Biita as a Sister of the Good Samaritan. She is the second I-Kiribati woman to do so.

Kakare’s profession ceremony was held in Abaokoro, a village in North Tarawa where one of our Good Samaritan communities is based. The other is in Temaiku, South Tarawa, a more densely populated area. Getting to Abaokoro isn’t a straightforward journey.

After crossing the Tarawa lagoon by boat, in the equatorial heat we walked up the 200-metre gravel pathway to the sisters’ community house. As I walked up that pathway, lined with over 2,000 small stones packed closely together, I was struck by the importance and power of storytelling.

Patricia Comerford, one of our Australian sisters who lived in Kiribati, slowly and painstakingly, in the hot, humid conditions of Kiribati, built this pathway, lining it with local stones and plants. The story of her patience and fidelity to the community she loves, as well as her love of the earth, continues to be told and retold among the I-Kiribati sisters, who now live out their own story at Abaokoro.

The Kiribati story is a relatively new branch of the Good Samaritan Sisters’ story. It is still young and vulnerable, but strongly grafted onto the original tree and the founding story, while preserving its unique cultural qualities.

These sisters from Kiribati, as well as sisters from the Philippines, Japan and Australia, joined with oblates and partners in ministry for a special assembly in Sydney during Easter week. This gathering was the fruit of a 12-month period of reflection, discussion and prayer.

FULL STORY On making commitments (The Good Oil)


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