by NZ CATHOLIC staff
The Dominican spirit and charism are alive and well in Vietnam.
on the Dominican Sisters International Council at the gathering of the Auckland Dominican Family on May 25.
Sr Marie Constance reported that the four congregations in Vietnam are now under one federation. “We have 91 junior [not professed] sisters and 98 aspirants, 35 novices. Thank
God. This is such a blessing,” she said.
The congregations encourage and support one another — especially for formation. They have a common habit, one constitution, one programme of formation.
The Auckland Dominican Family was also amazed to find out that there are 10,000 Dominican religious in Vietnam and more than 100,000 Dominican laity.
Sr Marie Constance said they are still strictly controlled by the government, although the government is slowly becoming more open. She said they are allowed to teach in state schools and universities as laity, not as sisters.
They run kindergartens, but not as a religious school.
She said they do not teach the children to pray nor do the sign of the cross, but they learn anyway from seeing the sisters pray.
They also feed about 100 patients in the hospital daily as well as working among lepers and the TB patients, the mentally and physically handicapped. “They know our love,” she said.
She said Dominican laity are accepted in Vietnam because they pray and don’t do any harm to the government.
Sr Marie Constance celebrated her golden jubilee last year. She was eight years old when she joined the Dominican convent and was 17 when she made her profession.
The group also welcomed Sarah Hynes, a volunteer from a Dominican college in Rhode Island in the United States.
They concluded the day with songs and prayer.