Teaching English to our Sisters in Vietnam

For the past three years, I have lived for three months each year with the Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in their large Community of almost 200 sisters in Thu Duc, a region of Ho Chi Minh City.   This is a Formation House, plus a community of Finally Professed sisters and, more recently, the Superior-General and Council.  I join the Monastic style community life, rising at 4.00 am and answering the bell, which calls us to prayer, work and meals throughout the day.

Each day, Monday to Friday, morning and afternoon, I teach English to the Postulants, the Pre-Novices, the Theology students and other Professed sisters …. some returning from, or preparing for, overseas study.   Sometimes, I am the pupil; at other times, I am the teacher.  The sisters are keen students, and we have many laughs, some, at my expense!   The sisters agree that “sometimes the light comes on,” while, at other times, we struggle on, waiting and hopeful.   Each year, a small group from The Dominican sisters of Tam Hiep have also joined the English classes.

There is an eagerness in the country, generally, to learn English.   At the Pre-School at Thu Duc (700 Preschoolers from 2yrs – 5yrs) the parents pay extra for their Children to learn English.

To the question that is put to me each year by different sisters, “Are you here to take postulants?” – I assure them that I am not.  Rather, I am adding to what several sisters in the Federation have already done and continue to do - to be Sister to our Dominican sisters in Vietnam, in whatever way is helpful for them.

Mary Oliver writes: “You only have to stand where you are to be blessed”…. and I think of this often, and give thanks for the truth of these words, as I walk the cloisters of the convent in Thu Duc.

Sr Margaret OP