GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

By Glen Burua

She walked into Jacksons International Airport the first time she arrived from Germany.

Now she had to leave Papua New Guinea for the last time by wheel chair.

She came when she was so young but now she had to say goodbye at her old age.

Many may care so much about their money, position or reputation. However, here is someone who served selflessly and is about to leave silently.

As I sat down next to sister Mary Anthida on the international flight, tears formed in my eyes as she was telling me her story.

She came to Papua New Guinea as a nun. She spent almost all her life in Sepik working as a nurse and her final years in Divine Word University as a School Councilor.

She delivered hundreds of babies, helped saved countless patients from death and also taught other Papua New Guineans treatment techniques.

When students have personal problems, she is always there to listen. She gave more than she could receive.

“Are you coming back?” I asked.
There was a long pause before she could answer.

“I have heart problems”, she finally spoke. “This is my final trip out of the country.”

As the plane landed on the Singapore runway for transition, I asked my final question.

“What would be your final advice from all your experiences?”

She smiled at me and spoke in a soft tone. She said:

“Life is short, so live it to the fullest. As for me, I have completed my journey, I have lived my life, I fulfilled my purpose and I have served our good Lord as a nurse and a student councilor here in Papua New Guinea.”

The plane came to a stop. In her soft voice, she said, “Son you can go now. I will have to wait for them to bring in my wheel chair and wheel me out.”

I stood up and took a final photo bidding her good bye.

Sister Mary, you may be gone but you are not forgotten.

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