Something very special is taking place in the remote village of Pleiku, Vietnam
I was first introduced to the Missionary sisters from Vietnam approximately two years ago when a local Catholic grade school Parent, Julie Treanor, upon recently returning from Pleiku, Vietnam, was inspired to tell the story of her trip to the parent body of Notre Dame School (our local Catholic grade school). As she was telling us about her trip to this remote place in Vietnam, I could not help but notice that all of us in the “upper meeting room” were being touched by what she had to say.
The essence of what she had to share was very much about God’s work in a little village in Pleiku, Vietnam, where Mother Theresita and the Catholic Missionaries of Saint Paul de Chartres are literally saving lives. Among other things, was the deeply moving testimony of how the Vietnamese nuns are taking in infants who would otherwise be buried alive with their dead mothers. The faithful sisters are not only adopting them as their own, but also educating them in the Arts and Sciences, and most importantly the faith. For more on the Vietnamese sisters, click here (http://www.liveandgive.eu/saint-paul.html).
Since the time of Julie Treanor’s presentation, Notre Dame School of Chico, CA has adopted the Vietnamese boarding school Thien An and the kindergarten Thien Phuc for disadvantaged kids.
My initial contact with these heroic sisters came just a few weeks ago, and I was deeply moved and intrigued.
By way of background, approximately two weeks before the Sisters of Saint Paul de Chartres were to arrive in Chico, CA, I had a conversation with Julie about the possibility of one of them, preferably Mother Theresita, joining me on the radio program to talk about their work. God “opened the doors” and made it happen. On June 9, I had the privilege of meeting Sr. Theresita, and alongside Julie and Mother’s translator, Sue, we had the wonderful opportunity of discussing her work and how the Holy Spirit is using her community to save lives and educate children. You can listen here (http://joehollcraft.org/listen-now) (scroll down to June 9).
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI likes to talk about the Christian faith as an event of grace, a personal encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ. Alongside this overarching Christian truth, stands another: every once in a while, God puts someone in our path that very much stirs the heart and inspires us to go deeper in our faith. In other words, God places someone in our path that reveals to us that conversion is constant, and that we can always—and should, do more. Sr. Theresita, and the witness of her faith in action, has very much been that person for me.
That being said, something most interesting happened to me while on the air with Mother Theresita. As I was engaging the conversation that was being aired, I was prompted to quote Blessed Teresa of Calcutta several times, and as I was quoting Mother Theresa’s words about being among the poorest of the poor, I looked across the room and saw Pleiku’s version of Mother Theresa—Mother Theresita. Mother Theresita is not only among the poorest of the poor in the material sense, but also the relational sense. Mother Theresita saw that the people of “the Highlands” (where the children were being buried with their dead mothers) suffered from an even greater poverty—the poverty that is the absence of family. In establishing the boarding school Thien An and the kindergarten Thien Phuc for disadvantaged kids, Mother Theresita is not only “Mother” to her religious community, but also “mother” to the many infants that she saves and cares for. Indeed, she is “mother” to many in Central Vietnam.
Moreover, their work needs our help. First, we should be encouraged to pray for the continued faithfulness to their saintly ministry. Remember, faith in action is an event of grace; a stirring to do more for Jesus Christ. Great deeds are sustained in and through prayer. Second, we should be encouraged to offer aid in the form of a monetary gift or food. Our little sacrifices that we make in saying no to one thing, is at once a great act because it says yes to another thing; yes to the gift of giving so that others would benefit in the form of an additional meal or opportunity to study. Every prayer and material gift counts!
As noted above, Notre Dame School has adopted the aforementioned school that the sisters founded and it has been wonderful to witness the natural goodness that comes from the little ones. Let us be reminded that we should give as little ones give: without reserve and calculation
If God inspires you to give, please send your material gift (preferably check) to the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres at the following address: Fawn Imboden, Care of: Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres, 16564 Daisy Ave., Fountain Valley, Ca 92708.
May God keep us united in his most perfect, eternal exchange of love in the life of the Trinity,