Son In Sook

I am the third of five children in my family. I have two elder brothers and two youn­ger sisters.  I was born on February 8, 1940.  In 1963 I entered the Society as pre-pre postulant and became a novice in 1966 in Susono, Japan.  I was happy but suffered difficulties due to my lack of English. The novices showed appreciation of me as I was and valued my experiences. I realized, praying over Genesis 1: 26-3I, that God appreciated what He had made and He had made woman and man according to his own image.  Experiencing the love of my sisters led me to a realization of God's love and to an acceptance of myself.
As a second year novice I wondered if I were called to be a common laborer among the poor rather than an educator. Sister Keogh returned from the I967 Chapter and said that the Society was seriously concerned with the poor and that our educational view had broadened. I made my vows saying I had nothing to give except the love I had received.
After my first vows I worked in the dormitory of the Sacred Heart College in Chun Cheon while trying to find ways to serve outside the institution. I was sent to work with prisoners and boys in a reformatory school. These people are products of social sin. They need to be trusted as persons, not according to our expectations. Through sharing deeply with some of these boys I began to see more clearly the beauty of the human person. My awareness of this beauty of the mystery that is each individual person continues to grow.
After probation in March 1978 in the Philippines, I joined four of our religious in a coal mining area in the Korean mountains. We went with a view of sharing the life of the poor, of being good neighbors, of finding what needs existed. But I felt the need of being involved in a definite work. Wanting to know I am doing something to change people's lives caused tension in my life. "Take up your cross and follow Me" meant doing great things, yet one day I looked at the crucifix and was struck by the wastefulness of the whole thing. Jesus was a young man just beginning a great work. Yet it was this sacrifice - so waste­ful - that was the manifestation of God's glory. I still feet this tension of wanting to see results and probably will be free of it only at death.
In line with the needs of the province, I worked in initial formation, on the provincial council for nine years and as provincial from 1993 to 1999. After that I had a year's sabbatical course at the Graduate Theo­logical Union, Berkeley, California, USA.  In 2000-2008, I lived in Rome as a member of the General Council.  I accepted this service as a call to show the hidden faces of the poor, who have been my teachers in my spiritual life.
Witnessing to Christ's work, "I have made known your name to them..." (Jn. 17:26) is to be an educator and gives my life meaning as an rscj.  Fulfilling the mission of education means finding the poor in the Heart of Christ and finding the Heart of Christ in the midst of the poor.
My interest is in doing the theology of the life and experience of the poor. My way of relaxing is to take a walk in nature. I also like reading and meditating. Recently I became interested in Asian spirituality and its prayer methods. This helped me to be aware of myself, self-centeredness, of the many attachments within which enslave me and can be obstacles to union with God, to peace of heart and to love of others.  Through this way of prayer I can experience more and understand the Buddhist philosophy or spirituality of "Interdependent Origination."
"As with the condition of Nature, there exists Life. So does our country exist together with the condition of our neighboring country. I also exist interdependently with you, in your condition. This is the Principle of Life, the Principle of Interdependence of Origination".
This is the principle of the Universe.  I find there are answers in Asian spirituality about ecological issues.  And I believe a vital concern for ecological justice is also a means of bringing peace to this world which is so seriously troubled at this moment.   This is reason why I am practicing this way of prayer.