Sr Ma. Jeana at the Grotto at the St Ezekiel Moreno convent in Doonside.
As The Australian Filipina's Lent offering on this Good Friday 2021 issue, we are glad to feature a Filipina nun, Sister Ma. Jeana B. Abejuela. Sister Ma. Jeana, who is sixty six years old, has been in the Augustinian Recollect Congregation since 1972.
Group photo at the convent taken in 2017.
We are privileged to share Sister Ma. Jeana's thoughts on Easter and her Easter message. We also share her responses to a few questions to gain an insight into her persona and her journey in the religious life.
Firstly, what does Holy Week meant to you and what do you do to observe it?
Personally for me Holy Week is a recollection of a great Love Story between God and Man. We have a God who loves us so much that from the very start of His life, He was ever willing to give up His life for us all. From the “Womb to the Tomb” they said. It speaks not only His sufferings and death on the cross but also His triumph over death.
The observance we have during this time started with Palm Sunday wherein there was a blessing of Palms and this day marks the beginning of Holy Week. We have the Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Holy Wednesday and on Holy Thursday we have the celebration of the Passover and the Last Suffer. On Good Friday all Parishes have their Stations of the Cross participated by all parishioners then at three o'clock, we have the veneration of the Cross.. The next celebration is the celebration on Easter Vigil which takes place in the evening of Saturday.
Some Filipino Chaplaincies have their special ways of celebrating Holy Week such the “Pabasa” , the Seven Last Word” and the “Salubong” being done early Sunday morning.
What is your Lenten message to our readers?
During this Lenten season let us join with Jesus in His sufferings and death on the Cross by genuinely reflecting on His words and His saving actions so that we may also share in His triumph over death.
Let us ask Him to look upon us especially at this global pandemic we are in now that it may soon end and that the COVID vaccine may be effective for all of us and everything be back to normal. Happy Easter to one and all.
When did you realise your “calling” and what inspired you to enter religious life?
I was in year 5 and yearly Nuns from a Catholic School in our place used to have catechism in public schools. It was then that I was attracted to the Nuns as they taught us about God and
seeing them as Angels walking among men I silently told myself I will be like them when I grow up". Since then I had that desire and it had been nurtured when I went to their school in our place.
What do you hold fondly in your heart as your achievements?
Having gone through with all the stages of the religious life aided by the love and grace of God. Imbued with the love and grace of God kept me going no matter how hard the journey is and it makes all things possible and achievable because God is in control of my life.
On the flipside, what challenges have you face and overcome?
Being misunderstood and misjudge sometimes and there is no way of defending yourself. To keep silent helps a lot and also to pray for their conversion as our Foundresses Mo. Dionesia and Mo. Cecilia Rosa Talangpaz always exhort us to be persistent in prayer and in humility.
What else do you wish to achieve in life?
My one and only wish is to stay in the love and grace of God because this is the only way
I can live my religious life to the fullest and be able to be of service to His people.
What advice would you give those who feel the “calling” but are hesitating to pursue it?
For all those who are considering to become a nun or a priest please do not hesitate. Pray.
fervently over it let God be in control of yourself then leave everything in his hand. He always invites us: "Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him,” (Psalm 34:8)
ABOUT JEANA B. ABEJUELA
Sixty six year old Jeana B. Abejuela, her legal name appearing on her passport and driver's licence, was born in Palanas, Masbate, Philippines. She is one of nine siblings, three of whom are already deceased. She migrated to Australia in March 1988.
Sister Ma. Jeana joined the Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters on the 17th of May 1972. She shares the stages of becoming a nun include: 4 years Aspirancy, 6 months Postulancy, 2 years Noviceship then her first 'profession' on the 25th of March 1977. Thereafter she had to undergo 6 years Juniourship then she had her final 'profession' on the 25th of March 1982. She had her Silver Jubilee last 24th of April 2002. Presently, she is looking forward to her Golden Jubilee in another 6 years.
The Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters was founded by two blood Sisters from Calumpit, Bulacan. It was guided by the Augustinian Recollect Fathers. The Congregation is the fruit of the Missionary labour of the Augustinian Recollect Fathers in the Philippines.
Sister Ma. Jeana is based in Doonside, in Sydney's western suburbs. Aside from her religious life in the convent, she also works in the nursing home in Concord, the Augustinian Recollect operates - the St Ezekiel Moreno Nursing Home and is involved in the AR Fatima Group.