November 30, 2019
“This is the day that the Lord has made, we rejoice and are glad…” 25 years of Assumption’s presence in Vietnam…25 years of blessings. Today is an important moment to thank God for His many blessings. He is the God of History, accompanying and blessing us in our personal and community journey.
In 1994, the mission in Vietnam started in a difficult and precarious situation, lived as a hidden and humble insertion for so many years but experienced as having the real protective presence of God. This mission was special for it was under the jurisdiction of the General Council for some 20 years. In 2014, Vietnam formed part of the new South East Asia Province together with the Philippines and Thailand. In 2018, the South East Asia Province welcomed Japan and the Asia Pacific Province came to be.
The Jubilee Celebration began with a Session that gathered and re-read the 25 years presence of the Assumption in Vietnam. It was a grace that all 32 Vietnamese Sisters were able to participate. In August of this year, the Youth Festival gathering about 200 young people from different parishes for a day of prayerful reflection. Then the 8 days retreat of the Sisters focused on: Jubilee, a Time of Thanksgiving.
Today, we gathered at the Parish Church in Bhui Phat for the culmination of this year-long celebration. We give praise and thank God for His fidelity and love. We give special thanks to our ex-Superior Generals who took special care and gave much attention to this emerging mission: Sr. Clare Teresa, Sr. Cristina Maria, Sr. Diana and Sr. Martine. We also thank our present Superior General, Sr. Rekha Chennattu, who sends her greetings and love from Congo as well as all the Provinces who have sent the sisters to join this celebration: France (Sr. Catherine Myriam and Sr. Marie Reine), Europe (Sr. Emmanuel Bac), East Africa (Sr. Vicenta), U.S. (Sr. Nha Trang and Sr. Clare Teresa) and Spain (Sr. Cristina Maria). We are very grateful to Bishop Joseph (Main Celebrant) and the 18 priests who concelebrated in the mass and showed their support for us. Thank you to all those who laboured quietly, patiently and lovingly in all the preparations that made this event beautiful and meaningful. Finally, to all those who have come from near and far and those who are in spiritual communion with us, thank you and God bless us all and our mission in Vietnam.
Blessing of the Convent in Honai, Vietnam
The next day on December 1, 2019, we had the blessing of our new convent at 9:00 a.m. in Honai with Bishop Giuse Dinh Duc Dao, Bishop of Xuan Loc, as main celebrant. After many years of trying to be discreet and almost invisible, our presence in this part of Vietnam has now become very public and visible. Indeed, many things seem impossible until they happen…for with God nothing is impossible. In the afternoon, the sisters gathered for a sharing of experiences. History came alive as the sisters who were there at the beginning of the mission in Vietnam shared their stories…Sr. Clare Teresa, Sr. Cristina, Sr. Marie Christine, Sr. Emmanuel Bac, Sr. Catherine Myriam… We saw more clearly the hand of God…teaching, guiding and protecting the first sisters. Truly, God was with us just as Mother Marie Eugenie was with us all throughout those years.
To watch the whole video, please click on this link.
25 years of Grace, a Reflection by Sr. Maria Hong
25 years of grace, the love of God has given us.
25 years of grace, thousands of blessings ever flowing.
We are gathered here to praise His Name
and give thanks for His love.
Though there were moments of ups and downs
God always loves. He guides us in His Spirit.
This is the 2nd Communion Song that our Inter-congregational Choir sang during our thanksgiving Mass for the 25 years of Assumption presence in Vietnam.
The song echoed what was in our hearts… a deep sense of thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness through our first 25 years.
It was a very humble, a very much hidden beginning, challenging the first Community to TRUST in God’s plan for the Assumption in Vietnam. There were no road maps nor concrete plans, no assurances except that God has opened a way for us. The “ups and downs” were many but “thousands of blessings ever flowing.”
On November 30, 2019, at Bui Phat Parish, we gathered for the thanksgiving Mass with the Assistant Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saigon, Bishop Louis Tuan as main celebrant and with 22 priests concelebrating. There were 45 Assumption sisters from France, Spain, England, (the) USA, Kenya, Japan, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam. We are honored to have Sr. Clare Teresa, Sr. Cristina, former Superiors General in this Celebration. It was good to celebrate the event with our religious sisters and brothers, catechists, parishioners, our partners in the mission as well as members of our families and lay friends. The small and hidden Assumption presence in 1994 has grown to be a big family.
In the Homily, Bishop Louis said: “25 years presence of the Assumption Sisters, success or failure, all by the love of God. First is the experience of Faith because without faith even when our eye sees and our ear hears, we may not understand. Therefore, we should thank God for the gift of Faith first then we become a precious instrument of Christ‘s love in this world. We express and share His Love to every one we encounter”. We can see the strong Faith through the presence and stories of the sisters who were instruments in building the foundation. Now we feel the joy of those who were part of the preparation of this event, especially the beautiful and meaningful liturgy; many were struck by the intercessory prayers read in diffirent languages as a way to acknowledge our internationality; and the offertory procession with the two children dressed in traditional unique ao dai. We see the fruit of faith through those who have come to share the joy and blessings of our Jubilee. God’s love is so abundant for all.
Next day, December 1, we were so happy to have the blessing of our new Chapel and convent in Ho Nai, which was aired live in the Xuan Loc Diociese TV channel.
We felt the warm fatherly love of Bishop Joseph. In his Homily, He invited us to really build a “Home” where love is made manifest through small and ordinary gestures; and to love and support one another despite our human weaknesses as well as express forgiveness to one another each day in order to live joyfully and serve happily. The good Bishop also expressed his joy and gratitude to have the presence of the Assumption Sisters in His Diocese.
In the afternoon, we gathered to share our experiences and also had a chance to expressed our gratitude. Through the sharing of our sisters, we discovered many things that we didn’t know before. History was once more revealed to us through the lively sharing of many sisters. Thanks to our former General Superiors and the first sisters who inspired us with the stories of our beginnings, for all you have been through…
Thank you does not seem to be enough to express our grateful hearts to God and to all who have come to share the blessings of our jubilee, but we say it just the same: Thank you! Cam-on! Alleuluia!
A new path is (wide) open before us. May we walk it joyfully and courageously.