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Vietnamese sisters find an Ursuline home away from home

Posted February 25, 2022 in Articles
Author: Sister Susan Mary Rathbun

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Sister Hien and Sister Thu currently live at St. Mark’s Center on the Ursuline College Campus with Sisters Ann Winters, Susan Mary, Etienne and Denise Marie and are taking the same courses in educational administration at Ursuline College. They come to us from different parts of Vietnam, different religious congregations and attended classes in different parts of the United States at different colleges.

Sister Hien, from South Vietnam, is the youngest of seven children.  Her full name is Njuyen Thi Mai Hien. She is a Dominican Sister of Go Vap, a community established in the Go Vap District in the Sai Gon Archdiocese in Vietnam in 1978.  Sister Hien has been in her congregation for ten years and has been a kindergarten teacher.  In 2018 when she was 24  years old, Sister came to the United States and earned her BA in English from Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland.  She has a biological sister who is married and lives in Arkansas where Hien spent the summer.  Sister Hien took her first vows in 2017 and renewed her vows in 2020 before coming to Cleveland on August 11, 2021. She hopes she will be able to go back to Vietnam to take perpetual vows in 2023.  In the meantime, Sister Hien spends time joining her new Ursuline friends for activities, helping to care for their home, and shares her enjoyment of cooking with the Sisters residing at St. Mark’s and their guests. She has become a pleasant part of the Ursuline St. Mark’s community.

Sister Thu from North Vietnam is thirty-six years old and has been in the United States for four years.  Previously, she spent one year preparing to study in Italy by learning Italian.  However, even though she taught accounting in college and helped set up the online finances for many of her convents in North Vietnam, her superior decided to send her to Ursuline College to study Educational Administration.  Before coming to Cleveland, she lived with the Sisters of Jesus Crucified in Brockton, Massachusetts and attended Stonehill College as a part-time student. Sister Thu Doan is a member of the Congregation of Our Lady of the Rosary from North Vietnam. Sister will take her final vows when she returns home to North Vietnam. She has had a variety of experiences, such as working in a coffee bar to earn money for her school books and other expenses. Thu’s father is ill so she “Facetimes” him every day to keep in touch.  She is very energetic, exercises daily, walks to Merici Crossing for Mass when weather permits and has even joined the line dancing classes. At St. Mark’s, she cooks almost every day and helps with the housework after she joins one or more of our Ursuline Sisters in Morning and Evening prayer.

Though both Sister Hien and Sister Thu came to Ursuline to enrich their own learning and ability to contribute to their communities, they are already enriching the lives of us here at Ursuline. Learning about their experiences and lives gives us a way to expand our understanding of people from places different than ours, and by doing so helps us be better able to contribute to different communities, so it has been a blessing for us all.