The Lourdes of Indonesia
Updated on 16 September 2018
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You will reach Sendang Sono after passing through bending street at the foot of Menoreh hill. There are two alternatives in order to reach the place from Yogyakarta, namely via Jalan Godean to arrive at Sentolo before turning right, or via Jalan Magelang to come to T-junction of the market in Muntilan city before turning left. The distance is around 45 kilometers from Yogyarta, or it will take you one hour to get to the place by motorcycle.
An entrance with stone wall on both sides will lead you to the vast pilgrimage complex where you will find small chapels, the path of Jesus Sacrification, the Cave of Maria, shelters, and kiosks selling praying goods. Cool weather will greet you upon entering the complex thanks to many growing trees there.
Sendang Sono was named by its location. Sendang means water spring and Sono means the sono or sonokeling tree, denoting that the spring is located under the sono tree. If you will see the spring and the sono tree, please turn right upon entering the gate. Unfortunately, you will not be able to see the spring clearly because it is closed with glass box.
Before 1904, this spring was wellknown as Sendang Semagung, which functioned as the resting place of the bhikku who left for Boro area, the area to the south of Sendang Sono. Since 20 May 1904, however, by the arrival of Father Van Lith and baptism of 173 people of Kalibawang by using the spring water, this place changed its function to the pilgrimage place for Catholic people.
Entering the main chapel in this pilgrimage complex, you can commemorate the baptism event happening 102 years ago, since there is relief describing the baptism procession. Entering the Mother Mary chapel and the Desciples Chapel, you will remember the struggle of Mother Mary and the twelve disciples with Jesus Christ.
If you are interested in remembering the struggle of one of the Catholic community activists, you can pay a visit to the tomb close to Mother Mary chapel. There, you will find the tomb of Mr. Barnabas Sarikromo, a good friend of Father Van Lith who also one of the people baptized in 1904 and was determined to be the first teacher of Catholic religion in the area.
Sarikromo who was born on 1874 was a person full of blessing because his persistent effort to be close to God. When he was young, he suffered from skin disease that was difficult to cure. In his prayer and promise to serve his life to God if he was cured, he met Father Van Lith who brought him to a brother for medication.
The short-distance path of Jesus Sacrification can be an alternative celebration to commemorate Jesus' misery to shoulder the Cross. At every stop of the sacrification path, you can light a candle and say your prayer while remembering important events of Jesus' to Golgotha hill, such as the events of his three falling while shouldering the wooden cross, when Veronica wiped His face with her handkerchief and the last minutes of the death of Jesus Christ.
Praying in front of the Cave of Mary that is located close to the sono tree is another way of seeking tranquility. Many people say their prayer by kneeling down and lighting candles in front of this cave. You can even write your hopes or wishes on a piece of paper and then put it into a firing pot in order for God to receive it. For your information, the statue in this complex was directly shipped from Spain.
In addition to pacifying yourself and praying, you can also enjoy the enchantment of the complex architecture designed by Father Y.B Mangunwijaya Pr and it won AGA Khan Awards. You can also sit relax in the shelter while enjoying the surrounding buildings dominated by stone as the material, or stand on the small bridge to enjoy the beauty of the flowing river underneath.
When you are going to leave, do not forget to take some spring water flowing from the taps at the side of the river. The water is believed to give blessings to anyone who drink it or use it for many other purposes. It will complete your contemplation and wishes that you say in your prayer.
Text YUNANTO WIJI UTOMO Photography DANIEL ANTONIUS KRISTANTO
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