On 10th and 11th February 2017, a group of 42 sisters, staff, volunteers and friends gathered in Good Shepherd Place to give their rapt attention to Sister Inigo Joachim as she unpacked the topic, “compassion”, which she described as “weak”.
Sister Inigo Joachim is from the Sisters of St Anne’s of Chennai. Currently when she is not serving as a counsellor in the infamous Tihar Jail, Delhi, she is busy sharing Biblical truth with religious congregations and laity all over India and in many other countries, including Singapore. In 2008, she was the only female religious to present at a Catholic Bishops Conference in India; and the list of outstanding engagements goes on. It is nearly unbelievable that her mentor, a priest had admonished the young timid nun, “Sister Inigo, please go and tell your general to keep you in the showcase. You are not fit to be novice mistress. You are fit to be in the showcase.” By God’s grace, mercy and compassion Sister Inigo was the Superior General of her Congregation from 1990 to 2002, and became a quietly confident, inspiring speaker whose teachings are deeply based on Scriptures.
Over the two days, Sister Inigo repeatedly reminded the audience that God is compassionate; “God’s love endures forever” as intoned 26 times in Psalm 136. She drew out two dimensions of compassion: sensitivity and generosity through parables that our Lord taught, especially the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Compassion essentially means to suffer with the one in pain. The Samaritan’s heart was moved into action; he was sensitive. He was generous to the wounded man by dressing his wound, taking him to an inn, paying for his expenses and promising to pay the dues on his return. The audience were urged to move from merely verbalising mercy to making mercy a concrete act; to move from the heart to the hands just like the Good Samaritan. A two-day seminar, even espoused in Biblical truth will not make any difference to the world which is full of pain and injustice, unless our hearts are transformed to be like God who is full of compassion.
There was never a dull moment during the seminar as petite Sister Inigo weaved humour into her lived-out experience of showing mercy and compassion to the inmates of Tihar Jail. Through her stories, we learnt that the poor has the capacity to teach us many lessons, and values like hope, patience, resilience, gratitude and above all, a deep faith in God and Biblical truth.
If you are reading this and feeling that you have missed out on something, look out for the next time Restful Waters invites Sister Inigo to feed our spirituality — August 2017
Articled written by Ms Martha Teo