One visitor to East Timor described Sister Nora Maulawin: “Her life and work are so imbued with Gospel values that she would frighten any dictator, major or petty.”
Sister Nora Maulawin was among the first five Maryknoll Sisters to arrive in East Timor in 1991. They had spent many years in Indonesia, when Bishop Belo, who later received the Nobel Peace Prize, asked them to work in Aileu, a rural community in the mountains.
In the island country, Sister Nora did pastoral ministry and parish administration, visited villages, supervising the lay catechists and “empowering them to be able to lead the people to deeper faith life.” In September, 1999, the “Popular Consultation results were an overwhelming vote for independence from Indonesia but within half an hour, the Sisters witnessed burnings everywhere and were advised to leave on the last Australian Hercules. In Darwin, they joined a Timorese ministry team.
When they returned to Aileu in November, they faced the same fate as the people. The Indonesian army troops and paramilitary had burned their convent and clinic to the ground.They worked with the people for reconciliation and peace and continued their ministries. Sister Nora was a member of the national commission on civil education and human rights curriculum for high school. With gifts of chickens from the people, she even initiated a chicken farm with the local youth.
In Bandung, Indonesia, she chaired the Bandung Catechetical Commission, supervised diocesan catechists, lectured in the Bandung seminary, and found time to teach religion in junior public high school.
Born in Manila, Philippines, she entered the Maryknoll Sisters novitiate in Manila in 1965 and supervised catechists for public schools in Malabon.
Completing three years as a creative writer in the Sisters’ Development Department, Sister Nora returned to the Philippines, where she is now serving in family ministry.