It was a not-so bright day when Sr. Elizabeth Ratih Maharani went into the rendesvouz place. Ashes were everywhere, floating listlessly, waiting to be inhaled into a human lung and residing there. As Suster Lisa, that's how she is called, walked in, her aura dismissed the bleak environment, exuding confidence and rejuvenation spirit.
In the following article, Suster Lisa, the winner of the Faculty Award 2013, shared her stories, feeling, and perception. Excerpt:
Question (Q): Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Sr. Lisa (L): I was born 39 years ago from a Javanese family. My father is a painter, whose talent I admire most. He is a role model for my keen interest in art, especially sculpture.
Q: Why do you choose English Department, instead of ISI or other institutions majoring in arts?
L: Well, my interest in literature stemmed from the years when my brother attended English Department USD. I read his books and stuffs and they are so intriguing that I have a dream to attend the same department someday.
Sr. Lisa's brother is Johanes Wisnu Permadi, an alumnus of English Department of Class 1993.
Q: Why did you decide to be a nun?
L: Well, it's a long story. Initially it never crossed my mind to be a nun. I led an ejoyable life, working as a fashion designer, earning some money, having a boyfriend... (laughing)
Q: Oh, really?
L: But, then I eventually thought that I did not find meaning in such a life. I want more. I want LIFE. I wanto contribute to the betterment of life.
Q: Wow, that's a noble cause...
L: That's why I joined SPM (Suster Perawan Maria) to reorient my life, to make my life as beneficial as possible for others and life. SPM is mainly concerned with education, we have an objective of education for all.
Q: How do you juggle your life between a nun and a student?
L: I used to live in a strict environment, where time had to be managed well, otherwise you'll be left behind. This conditioned me so that I do not find some problems managing my time as a nun and a student.
Q: How do you handle your friends who are much younger than you? Are you compatible with them?
L: Well, I try to adapt myself. I adjust my mindset that I have to place myself nicely among them, not being too old, but at the same time I cannot let myself drawn too deep in their way. I have to walk between the fine line of being a 'mother' and 'a friend'.
Q: That's hard to do?
L: Initially, yes. But I can get along nicely with them. I am well received.
Q: Are you interested in politics?
L: A little.
Q: What's your political affiliation?
L: Hahaha.. I admire Megawati. She is a tough and determined woman. I admire her.
Q: Well, then it's obvious. How do you see Indonesian politics today?
L: Well, I guess I find many politicians forget their sacred duty of making their nation grow and develop. They have been vested with great power so they should have great responsibility towards the people. But, this is something that they ignore.
Sr. Lisa then shared her political view. She felt that some legislative members do not have enough competence and capability. Their views, she said, did not reflect their being statemen, but only petty officers vying for cash. She also reiterated her view about religious life in this country which according to her still had optimistic outlook although some religious violences sparked in some regions.
Q: How do you feel when receiving the Award?
L: Well, at first I thouhgt that I don't deserve it. There must be a mistake here. Many students in the Department are smarter than me.
Q: So, you plan to return the Award?
L: Hahaha... Of course not. Then, I felt encouraged. It motivated me to be better and achieve higher.
Q: Your hobby?
L: I love drawing, listening to music, cooking, reading.
Q: Your favorite subject?
L: All subjects related to culture. And translation...
Q: Cool! What's your plan after graduated from here?
L: I plan to dedicate my life to my congregation and my community. I want to be beneficial for others.
Q: Dreams not yet achieved?
L: I want to write books. Religious books, motivation books, any books which can give hope to people that life is still good. And we have to fight for the greater good.
Walking the path of her life