An indigenous women’s congregation based in Nghe An province is rapidly increasing in numbers and is expanding its mission work in many dioceses.
At a recent ceremony at Quy Chinh Church near the northern city of Vinh, 17 Missionaries of Charity nuns made their final vows while 30 others made their temporal vows.
Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop of Vinh presided at the ceremony attended by 70 priests, 300 Religious and 2,000 Catholics.
“Despite working quietly and humbly over the past 31 years, the congregation is growing fast and has established 54 communities throughout the country,” Bishop Hop said.
He urged the nuns to establish new communities and serve people with physical disabilities, the poor and abandoned children in four Nghe An provincial districts where no Religious work has been carried out since 1954.
Father Joseph Nguyen Dang Dien said he founded the congregation on May 31, 1980 with only five nuns. Now the Missionaries of Charity congregation has 317 nuns and 300 postulants.
“We receive all girls who want to lead a consecrated life and serve poor people,” Father Dien said. Members come from poor families and are illiterate and in poor health. Some were turned away from other local congregations.
The congregation creates opportunities for nuns who are illiterate to study from elementary through high school level and study catechism, theology, Church history, morality, music and English.
There are currently 20 nuns studying at college and three others studying in Italy and the U.S.
Sister Teresa Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, 35, who took her final vows on May 31, said she entered the congregation when she was 18 years old and a second grader.
She finished her studies at college and heads a three-member community making clothes and looking after 50 orphans in Ho Chi Minh City.
Missionaries of Charity nuns serve orphans, elderly people without relatives, lepers, psychiatric patients and unwed pregnant women in 11 dioceses.