Sister Lucy, a life of luxury abandoned for Mother Teresa
by Mathias Hariyadi

She was born into one of the richest families of Indonesia. Conversion while she was in Hong Kong in a luxury hotel: "I saw so many poor people who felt sick. Then I realized I had to do something for them". She entered the Missionaries of Charity, and is now based in East Timor. The joy of Indonesian Catholics for the canonization of Mother Teresa.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Leaving the comforts of a rich family to devote herself to the care of the poor in Hong Kong, the United States and East Timor. That's what Indonesian Maria Donna Dewiyanti Darmoko of ethnic Chinese origin decided to do, who joined the Missionaries charity taking the name Sister Lucy Agnes.

Born in Kudus into a wealthy Catholic family - close to the richest in Indonesia family, owners of PT Djarum cigarettes  - Maria Donna graduated in the United States, and went on to study in Australia. Her first contact with the Missionaries of Charity took place in Illinois, where she joined the work of the religious to take care of the homeless.

Her final conversion to the missionary life took place in Hong Kong, where Maria Donna went on vacation with her family in a luxury hotel. Her conversion, she says, was a moving experience: "At first I was very disturbed by seeing so many homeless people on the streets of Hong Kong, who were huddled, sick and dirty. My first emotional instinct was to run away at the sight of them and I was about to throw up. " "Then – she continues - as I was leaving these people behind, something made me slow down, as if she told me to come back to them to do something good for those unfortunate people ".

Maria Donna decided so to enter the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity with the name of Sister Lucy Agnes. Her parents strongly opposed this choice.

From that onwards day Sister Lucy has worked for the poor and the most marginalized in society, avoiding the stage and  press attention. Now she is based in East Timor, one of Asia's poorest countries, but it is very difficult to contact her because she gives her details to very few people. The same applies to the Missionaries of Charity in Indonesia, who work in silence and without publicity.

The canonization of Mother Teresa, founder of the Missionaries of Charity, was greeted with joy by Catholics in Indonesia, very close to the new saint. Irene Setiadi, a physician and the founder of the charitable Kelompok Bakti Kasih Kemanusiaan (Kbkk), decided to appoint Mother Teresa patron saint of its activities. The Kbkk, which includes dozens of doctors, provides free health services to the poor in 30 dioceses spread throughout Indonesia.