Time really flies and it's been over a year now that Sr. Wendy returned from her posting in Nairobi, Kenya and took on her new role as Mother Superior with the Daughters of St. Paul in Singapore. It was only last weekend that Sr. Wendy and the FSP gals managed to catch up for a meal. Guilty as charged for the long overdue meeting.
Knowing Sr. Wendy, with her love for life and her abundant talents, she would have found the most creative way to present her Godly experiences in Kenya during the last five years. From her blog entries in www.chilliandlime.blogspot.com, she published "Notes from Kenya - A Missionary’s Experience". I recalled Sr. Wendy sharing about the book release and mentioned there were numerous comments from the gals and myself documented. Now who would have thought that some of my comments would actually be published in a book! Mind blowing!
As soon as I got the chance, I picked out a copy of the book from the Apostolate of the Media Bookshop in Risen Christ Church. Reading at length the sharings of Sr. Wendy in the book was quite different from individual blog postings. There was better flow creating a deeper insight to the situations and thoughts experienced.
Sr. Wendy personalizing my first edition copy
I brought along my book to be autographed and Sr. Wendy decided to pen a longer message because my copy was a first edition release. She commented that first edition copies signed by the author always worth more. Probably a lot lot more when she becomes a Saint! Of cause she reminded me that we are all living saints! She also gave us the second print of the book and with trained eyes highlighted the differences in both copies. There were 2 to 3 differences on the book cover and pictures updated within a few pages.
Us with our proud copies of Notes from Kenya!
A total of 5,000 copies of the book were printed. 3,000 in the first release and another 2,000 there after. Christopher Smith pretty much summed up the review of the book beautifully below.
Sr. Wendy's book review featured on the front page of Catholic News
Book brings you into world of modern-day missionary
Notes from Kenya - A Missionary’s Experience by Sister Wendy Ooi, fspMore Notes from Kenya - A Missionary’s Experience Pictures
Reviewed by Christopher Smith
The world is continually changing, and the Daughters of St Paul, an international community of religious women, has made it its mission to propagate the Gospel using modern forms of communication. In doing so it has needed to acquire the skills necessary for working with modern media, from a knowledge of studio recording methods for producing CDs and DVDs through to the computing skills necessary for developing websites and establishing a presence within social media, such as Facebook. A new type of nun is clearly required for such work, and one such person is Sister Wendy Ooi, the author of Notes from Kenya, who, some years ago, left her work with the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation to take up her vocation with the Daughters of St Paul.
Sister Wendy’s most recent posting, five years ago, was to Nairobi, the capital of the East African country of Kenya. During her time there she kept in touch with distant friends and colleagues through the medium of an on-line ‘blog’ www.chilliandlime.blogspot.com, or diary, as a means of letting them know what she was doing, and that blog forms the basis for her book, Notes from Kenya - A Missionary’s Experience, now embellished with additional photographs and text.
The focus of Sister Wendy’s work in Nairobi was working for the audiovisual or ‘AV’ sector of the Paulines, and she describes in the book the production of CDs like the Heart of Peace, a collection of peace songs produced in response to the regional violence there, and the production of DVDs on subjects such as the Stations of the Cross and the Parables.
But this book, far from being a dry description of Sr Wendy’s working routine, provides a complete and colourful picture of all aspects of her life throughout her five years in Kenya.
She describes the relationship between the convent and the local community, with subjects ranging from outreach work in nearby villages through to the sometimes surprising cultural differences that she encountered in attending gatherings like local funerals.
She doesn’t shy away from discussing difficult subjects, with reflections on the extreme tribal violence that was widespread on her arrival in Kenya, the kidnappings of fellow Sisters and the murder of a Priest, and the extreme poverty faced by locals on Nairobi’s doorstep, in the Kibera slum.
Scattered throughout the book are Sister Wendy’s reflections on her cultural and religious influences, from literary figures of the past through to contemporary performers like Suzanne Vega. Sister Wendy experienced her own taste of fame when, after producing one CD, Unconditional, she found herself mobbed by admirers in search of her autograph!
During her time in Nairobi she would make a point of meeting up with fellow ex-pats and, by chance, VIPs - Prime Ministers, Ambassadors and Nuncios included - to celebrate Singaporean and Malaysian National and Independence days, and a feast of a time was had by all.
On the few occasions when she was able to take leave from the convent Sister Wendy took the opportunity to venture away from Nairobi, on safari in the Great African Rift Valley. The book is lavishly illustrated with over three hundred of Sister Wendy’s personal photographs, many of them covering the wildlife and landscapes that she encountered on those expeditions. The book has been designed by Sister Wendy herself, and the care with which she has created it, with special African-themed graphics throughout, has resulted in a book that is a pleasure to behold.
I began by saying that Sister Wendy, with her modern media skills, was a new type of nun, but the truth is that she is only one of many, each bringing their own skills and abilities by way of adaptation to the ever-changing world. With Notes from Kenya Sister Wendy has successfully captured the life of just one ‘modern nun’, and has illustrated, with good humour, how it is possible to maintain the more conventional roles of a nun while, at the same time, actively participating in the modern world
(Priced at S$18. Available at Apostolate of the Media bookshop, Church of the Risen Christ, and selected parishes in Singapore. Online orders please write to email@example.com . Sales proceeds go to the Pauline Mission in Mozambique, Africa.)
Sr Wendy's Unconditional CD
Bali Boom Box Recording Tracks
Ciao Sr. Wendy (Part 2)
Ciao Sr. Wendy
The Planetshakers Earthquake!
Sing to Dawn
Sr Wendy & Olivia Newton-John (Part 2)
Sr Wendy & Olivia Newton-John
Little Shop Of Horrors