One of the amazing things we have been given as humans regardless of gender, age, race, or position is the desire to have dreams of a better life and the ability to achieve our dreams. Have you ever looked deep into your heart and asked yourself: who are you created to be? Who do you wish to become? Or will some things be better because of you? Yes. I have.
Before becoming a sister, my concept of a sister was that she needed to have a profound prayer life, play music for her parish church, know how to cook for her parish priests, be able to teach catechism for her parish kids, have a kindergarten degree for her community’s income. Before entering in the Congregation of the Lovers of the Holy Cross, a very old, small, and even unknown convent in a countryside where people often call “khỉ ho cò gáy,” one of my former parish vicars asked me, “Why didn’t you choose another well-known congregation for better education and future?” At that moment, I did not understand and was concerned much about what he said.
During my formation in the postulancy and novitiate, besides being taught by my superiors, I was taught and lectured by other professional priests from the diocese or other orders. Other sisters and I had many experiences of missed class because the priests canceled due to their own personal duties, or the severe weather. I will never forget all the times that we waited in the study room, but the priest could not come, for he was busy. Also, I remember how my heart was touched when I could see one of our receptionist sisters wearing a raincoat and holding an umbrella at our convent’s gate to wait for our lecturing priest, in case she could not hear the bell ringing in the rain from the house when the priest came. Indeed, our sisters had been getting outside lectures like that for years, because we didn’t have many professional sisters who were able to teach our young sisters. Observing the situation, seeing the difficulty and the need for education, I dreamed that I could be a professor. This dream was a tremendously strong impulse in my heart when I became a sister, and especially when I came to the U.S, where I have learned that education has the power to fulfill my dreams.
Now I am in the fifth year of temporary profession. Having been studying in the U.S. for years, now I have changed my perspective about what makes a sister. Now for me, a sister can be better than who she used to be as a cook, teacher, or a student. With education, she can move out of her kitchen and her kindergarten classroom to her college. With education, she can move out of her student’s chair where she thought she would be forever to the podium as a professor.
Now I am majoring in English and applying for a master degree in theology. If I had a master degree, I believe that I would be able to help my convent in educating other young Sisters. This is my little dream. However, when I am dreaming alone, it is only a dream. When I dream with others, it is the beginning of reality. Therefore, we, the members of the Lovers of the Holy Cross congregation in Vietnam, who have studied in the U.S, will dream and accomplish that together.
Now I believe that I have enough courage to reply to my former vicar, “Yes, father, I understand what you meant, but I can make my convent become a better place; because this is my family, my future, and a part of my life, and where I have a dream.”
Sr. Huong Nguyen