Growing up in Papua New Guinea, Sr. Arnolda Kavanamur, SSpS, learned a lot about faith from her grandmother. They went to church every Sunday, received the sacraments and prayed the rosary every night. Occasionally, she would see religious sisters. Sr. Arnolda admired them and developed a desire to become one. In junior high, she attended an all-girls boarding school that was operated by Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Sisters. Many religious sisters worked at the school, but one in particular inspired her to want to follow in her footsteps. Years later, Sr. Arnolda’s call to religious life was affirmed at the Holy Spirit Mountain, Bogia-Madang. She was asked to accompany Sr. Cecilia Koester, SSpS on a pilgrimage to the Holy Spirit Mountain where the early missionaries lived during the war. It was after that encounter that she decided to join the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters.
Sr. Arnolda says her early formation journey was an integrated year of ministries and studies as she continued to discern vowed life. “The process was challenging but necessary to help me grow in my relationship with God, whom I chose to follow,” she said. “Participating more deeply in community life, apostolate and spiritual life helped me commit myself totally to God. I am forever grateful for the many people who journeyed with me through my formation years, because without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Since entering religious life, Sr. Arnolda has served in ministries around the world:
Papua New Guinea – Involved in socio-pastoral care and teaching at the Wabag Diocese in the Enga Province. Later, she served in the HIV/AIDS ministry in Madang and Port Moresby.
Epworth, Iowa – From 2014 to 2016, Sr. Arnolda studied at Divine Word College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Intercultural Studies. During her time in the United States, she frequently did outreach work with children and the poor. She was also involved in various ministries of the Paraclete Province, like JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation) and Summer Peace Camps both in the South and at the Holy Spirit Life Learning Center in Roger’s Park, Chicago.
Antigua and Barbuda – During this time, Sr. Arnolda worked at St. Joseph’s Academy School. She was in charge of the study hall and supervised exam periods. In addition, she visited the sick and brought them Communion. She also worked with young girls at the Good Shepard Home and helped with youth programs at the parish.
Jamaica – For six weeks, Sr. Arnolda helped at Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Preparatory School in Morant Bay, St. Thomas.
St. Kitts and Nevis – While on these islands, Sr. Arnolda taught CRE at Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Basseterre for a few months. Later she worked at Holy Spirit Catholic Preschool in Molineux. She also visited the sick and brought them Communion.
Papua New Guinea – In 2022, Sr. Arnolda returned to her home country. She spent a year assisting the Provincial House in Madang. Then she was appointed to her current role as a research officer at Melanesian Institute in Goroka.
Reflections on Consecrated Life
“I would say living a consecrated life means striving to live in holiness, a life-long process that entails deep faith and trust in God,” Sr. Arnolda said. “I’ve been in religious life for 23 years and the journey has its ups and downs, but most importantly I am grateful to God for the many lives I have touched and have blessed me in so many different ways. I am blessed, broken and shared that others may have life.”
“I never expected to share life and mission with people from different parts of the world, but that is the beauty of our intercultural living,” she continued. “Basically, I’ve come to realize that being on a divine mission, I make love visible in the world, a beacon of light. That is my passion – to make a difference where I am, to make the love of God known and be glorified by all people.”