News

From 2019-09-27 to 2019-10-15

A Second Chance

The trip from Saigon to Malaysia took four days. We were placed in Pulau Bidong refugee camp; we were very thankful because we knew that God had spared our lives and gave us a second chance to live freedom again. This camp received one or two boat loads of refugees every day from South Vietnam. The Island was filled with thousands of boat people crammed into temporary houses that were built by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); some stayed in shacks built by the refugees themselves. Wanting to help others, I volunteered to teach English to other refugees and my sister worked with the children in the camp.

Life was simple and our basic needs were met. The refugees were united and helped each other in many different ways. My sister and I stayed at the camp for two months. It was a time of anxiety and uncertainty concerning our future, but I was anxiously anticipating a new life. It was a relief when our names were published on the list to leave for Canada and to be reunited with our brother who had been living in Montreal for two years. We left with little possessions but with plenty of optimism. We were warmly received in Canada.

Since then, I have been living in this country and have adapted to the Canadian culture and climate. I now consider Canada as my second
homeland; it has welcomed me, has given me the opportunity to rebuild my life and to receive all the benefits of a Canadian citizen, for which I am deeply grateful. After 13 years in Vietnam’s concentration camp my father was released; in 1990, he was reunited with the rest of us here in Canada.

Looking back at all the events, I see that my family and I have been under God’s protection at all times. My journey in search of freedom ended here in Canada, but I have embarked on a new journey which is to serve others. Through volunteer work, I have found a meaningful
way of growing closer to God and of witnessing His Love as I walk with others on the path of life.

Nguyen Thi Minh Tam

From 2019-09-20 to 2019-09-30

WOMEN ON THE ROAD

In the solitude of her mystery, her heart filled to the brim, still beset by questions, she turned to Elizabeth. Mary arose and hurried off to a town in the hill country of Judah. Lk 1:39 She paid no attention to distances, annoyances or eventual risks; she kept no record of her time or fatigue. Sheathed with the Holy Spirit, Mary set out on her journey. Swiftly and cheerfully she went, riding on a donkey, on a tortuous and perilous road, risking danger at every turn. The fullness of her heart gave wings to her feet.

From Nazareth to Ain Karim, from the Fiat to the Magnificat, a pilgrim of faith and of an unreserved YES to God’s plan, she set out. The love she bore, shaped as thanksgiving, became in the silence of her heart the wellspring of a Magnificat. A song, a prayer, a dance woven into the fabric of her people’s history intertwined with the desires of her heart and with those of her God. Silence fosters the maturing of the Word. The fruitfulness and the beauty of the Magnificat are the product of her deep prayerful reflection on the way into the hills. Mary’s joy was overflowing, contagious, startling. The God who dwelt in her was a God of happiness and serenity. A tireless pilgrim, she carried in her knapsack the roadmap of thanksgiving which gave meaning to her journey.

Your paths overflow with a rich harvest (…); they shout and sing for joy. Ps. 65: 12.14

They were barely twenty. Their names were Délia, Joséphine, Germaine, Blanche and Rachel. They were fascinated, sent on a mission by a dream beyond their reach which gave zest to their daily activities, by dreams full of joy, sharing and solidarity, dreams of love and liberty.

They arose and took their leave forever, with no other baggage but their YES, not knowing, like Mary, where it would lead them. Filled with daring confidence and all the fervour of their youth, in the name of the Love that had come to seal a Covenant, they travelled the roads of their homeland and of the earth. China was the first land of the first mission. Joyfully, they watered fields of which they did not always see the harvest. They were not discouraged by the many obstacles along their way. They faced them patiently, courageously and even with song, so firm was their trust in Him for whose sake they had ventured their whole lives. Mary lovingly guided their hand in planting a few flowers in the great garden of humanity.

Day after day, year adding on to years, the fields spread beyond borderlines and many other peoples welcomed them into their homes and into their hearts. In joy or in sorrow, in happiness or in suffering, in war or in peace, one note calling for another, a symphony was born and got every heart singing. With Mary as their companion, they wrote the melody of their daily lives on a staff of praise. Like a prism that captures light, there they were, with open hearts and hands, receiving and welcoming their God and the cries of their brothers and sisters, allowing it all to flow in a colourful Magnificat. Unbeknown to them, they were writing history and preparing the way for so many others who would, in the appropriate time, join their efforts and their love to those of their predecessors. As they walked together to the beat of a hymn of thanksgiving, these women staked out the course for us, and today, they are inviting us to take over from them.

Mary and Elizabeth, two women in the expectancy of their future as mothers, two women who carried in their womb an ineffable mystery, an astounding miracle! Like Mary and Elizabeth, like our Mother Délia and our sisters of the past, the present and the future, we realize that we bear a common mission and cooperate in a grandiose and exciting plan that impels us to burst into a song of blessing and praise. As women, we are, with Mary, the place where newness is generated, the womb of the future, the venue of the advent of God.

The past moves through the present on its way to the future. It is up to us, as it was up to our M.I.C. sisters of the past, to dare take the risk. The strength of life, of His life, can still spring out of the cry of a new birth. Like Mary, we can ask: How will this be done? Lk 1:34 But also like Mary, we can hurry off with the assurance of His presence, and even more so, of His love. Even if age makes the walk a little heavier for some of us, the heart has lost none of the audacity of its dreams. No one better than Mary of the Magnificat can incite us to reveal the wonders of God to the world of our times. Faced with the many paths open to our fledgling steps, we pray to you, O Mary:  Instil in our lives the appeal of the deep and the joy that accompanies the Good  News. When we tarry inside our houses, where the cries of humanity fail to reach us, give us the courage to get out and relinquish our securities.

Is the One who started this excellent work not opening for us new horizons? How can we doubt that he will be by our side as we strive to attain them?

When Sarah laughed, the angel responded: Is there any wonder beyond the Lord’s doing? Gn 18:14

When Mary questioned, the angel responded: Nothing is impossible with God. Lk 1:37

These words were written for you and for me. Let us dare believe them and