“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (Jn 3,16)

The Feast of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus – October 1st 2022, was a joyful day for the Sisters in the Region of Vietnam. It was the first profession of our Sisters Teresa Dung and Anna Son in the parish of Chau Binh, Thu Duc, Ho Chi Minh City. The presider was Father Joseph Le Quang Chung, SJ concelebrating with seven other priests. Present were the Sisters of the region, members of the two families and many friends.

This day was more special for us, especially for Teresa Dung, because her parents and relatives are not Catholic. The family did not agree with her decision to become a Catholic and they felt even more offended when she decided to become a religious sister. The initial stages of her formation had been a constant struggle between choosing to follow the “call of God” or to fulfill the dream of her parents by “going home to get married.” In spite of all the opposition, Sr. Teresa decided to continue her response. Aware of her difficulties, we all united with her in our prayers, hoping against hope that Sr. Teresa would have some close member of her family present on her great day. But miracles do happen! Two days before the DAY, her mother called up with all her complaints, but ended up saying that she would come to the profession! In addition her father would attend too! Another group of relatives joined the venture! Needless to say, we were all praising God and giving thanks! The greatest surprise! During the Mass, the mother cried a lot. This was the first time she had entered a Catholic church, and I think she was touched by the celebration. After the Mass, she said “TODAY I AM VERY HAPPY!” and she asked many questions about “the Man who is hanging on the Cross” – “ Who is that man “Chin-Su” (Having never heard of Jesus’ name, she thought his name was “Shin Su” (the name of a brand of soy sauce!!!) ?” “Why are people so cruel to him? “What nationality is he?” etc.

In the homily, Father Joseph addressed some words with the parents and relatives of Teresa Dung:

“I believe that you, Teresa Dung’s father and mother, who are not Catholic, must be surprised today to see that your daughter, the only daughter in the family, is not only a believer but also a religious Sister in a Congregation of the Catholic Church. It was in this event of vows that your daughter becomes the link between your biological family life and our Church’s universal family of faith. In that connection, may God pour out His blessings and peace on you and all members of your family.”

“Your daughter’s religious profession today in the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a great event and an important milestone in marking her dedication. Your being present and witnessing this courageous act shows your approval and sharing in her choice of life. That is, in a few minutes, before the Eucharist, not only did your daughter make the vows, but you also made a vow with your daughter to offer her to God. This shows that your giving birth and bringing up your daughter have not ended but continue in the dedicated life of your daughter. Therefore, it can be said that from now on, although not openly declaring it, you also ‘commit your lives to the Holy cause’ with your daughter! That is, to be united with her in her holy pursuit, praying for your daughter in the love of the Most Holy One.”

Let us continue to pray for the two newly professed Sisters and their families, that they may be filled with God’s abundant graces and blessings.

Sr. Maria Kim Loan, ACI