Brother Johanes B. Sadiman Wongsodikromo O.Carm. was born in Yogyakarta on September 6, 1932. He had his first temporary vows as the Indonesian Carmelite on September 16, 1953 and his solemn vows on September 19, 1960. He is currently 82 years old and living in Saint Prophet Elias Carmelite Monastery, Jalan Bukit Dieng D4 Malang, Indonesia. Due to his health condition, he can only lay down on his bed. His eyesight also starts to fade because of the diabetics which he has suffered for ages. Nevertheless his spirit is still blazing. His memory is still strong and there are no signs of dementia.
When he was asked to tell about his experience as a Carmelite brother, he immediately remembered of his experience in 1974. At that time he lived in the Carmelite monastery of Regina Apostolorum Batu, Indonesia. The prior of the monastery was Fr. Athanasius Sudibyo O.Carm. At that time Indonesia was experiencing a financial crisis. The Indonesian Carmelites had to face financial problem. At that time there was a rumour that the Carmelite students would be sent home because the province could not afford good living for them. This condition encouraged Brother Johanes to act creatively, looking for ways to earn money to support the lives of the brothers. He started a business by opening a store at the monastery. He named it ‘Karmel Store’. He contacted some factories whose owners were his good friends and asked them to supply goods for the new store. Because he got the supplies directly from the factories, he got good price. With his trading expertise, Brother Johanes managed the store professionally. Undoubtedly Karmel Store developed into a big store. Customers shopped from 07.00 am to 17.00 pm. Seeing the good development of the store, Brother Johanes started to plant apple trees in the field of the monastery and sell the products in the store. He also started honey production. Carmel’s apples and honey became very popular in East Java. The demand kept increasing and came from other parts of Java island.
The success of this fund raising effort made the Carmelite monastery of Regina Apostolorum financially well off, even excessive. This made the Prior Provincial of that time, Fr. Djanardono Poespowardojo O.Carm., worried. He was afraid that the Indonesian Carmelites would lose their Carmelite identity due to this business. He came to the monastery in Batu and talked directly to Brother Johanes Sadiman O.Carm. about his concern. He suggested Brother Johanes to stop the fundraising efforts. As a devout religious, Brother Johanes accepted the decision and closed the store.
Br. Johanes, then, asked to be transferred to the Parish of Tumpang, located at a small town near Malang, Indonesia. He worked there as the pastoral worker, together with Fr. Demmer O.Carm. as the parish priest. Knowing that the local people were living in poverty, Brother Johanes worked hard to empower the people. He said, “I did not want to give them fish, but a fishing stick.” He visited the houses of the people and advised them what they should do to improve their lives in accordance with their talents and ability. He served the people of Tumpang parish for seventeen years. In 2005, he left the parish and moved to Malang. His creativity, adherence to the leadership, simple lifestyle, sense of humour, and great love for the people, make Br. Johanes Sadiman loved by many people. The people and the parishioners who he had served often came to visit him at the Carmelte monastery of Sint Prophet Elias.