and Scholastic Journey
wE, the Daughters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, are all aware that study is a mission that our congregation entrusts to us wherever we are. Our Sisters study theology, education, arts, music, acupuncture, and nursing in various colleges across our country and in other countries, some of them becoming physicians in order to serve our congregation’s mission. For us, studying is more than just seeking knowledge; it is also a witness to the world of our desire to use our gifts and education to serve others.
Some of us are assigned to study abroad and attend Catholic colleges, studying alongside the other students. Students find it strange at first to see young Catholic Sisters in their habits, because they rarely see Sisters in their habits. Some students are shy and are afraid to talk to us because of the language barriers and cultural differences, but others are comfortable enough to approach us, reflect on their religious faith, and converse as friends.
Moreover, we recognize that living and studying in a foreign country presents some difficulties for us. We are Sisters and students living far from our convent, and we are confronted with some challenges, such as homesickness, a language barrier, and a strange culture especially when we first arrived in the United States. Everything was strange to us when we first came to the United States of America. We found it difficult to eat foods from other countries because we grew up eating rice as our main dish. Some of us are good at grammar but sometimes stumble when it comes to speaking English. As we recognized the differences between our culture and a foreign culture, we accepted the challenges ahead of us. Our difficulties might last forever if we only relied on our strength. We, on the other hand, realized that our faith in God needed to be strengthened. We couldn’t stay safe in our own comfort zone, so we embarked on an adventure to learn from our experiences and make an effort to study and live as a religious Sister and student day by day. We focused on the positive rather than the negative to open our minds and hearts to the outside world. After all, faith is simply trust in God. In one sense, we recognized our limitations in the modern world, but in another, we recognized God’s strength in us, helping us to do our best.
Although we might face challenges daily, God bestows countless graces on each of us. We are still in a foreign country on an academic journey, and we are becoming increasingly convinced that God, our congregation, families, teachers, and friends are always with us. The most important source of strength that helps us live good lives is the time we spend with God as a group as well as individually, and also the time we gather to share our struggles and support one another in our consecrated life and academic journey. We arrange our schedule after each school year of hard work to have annual retreat days desiring to renew our relationship with God and others, especially to rearrange our lives in order to live our lives according to God’s will.
In addition, the summer of 2022 was designated as a memorial mark for our Rosarian Sisters studying in the United States. Four of us had the chance to engage in a thirty-day spiritual journey at the convent of the Sisters of Jesus Crucified and the Sorrowful Mother in Massachusetts. We entered the Spiritual Exercises longing for God’s love to fill our hearts so that our consecrated life and mission would have the same heartbeat as Jesus. Our thirty- day retreat allowed us to walk slowly together to reflect on our life journey and give thanks to God. We are convinced of St. Paul’s words “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made in weakness” (2Cr 12,9).
Thank you is the voice of our hearts that we say to God for the many blessings that have been sent down on each of us during these thirty days of spiritual exercises and during our daily life.
We also recognize that each of us in our congregation has been given different talents which we share in communal life, offer to God, and use in the spirit of service to God and His people. We wish all our Rosarian Sisters who are starting a new semester in the fall of 2022 to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so that we may learn, love, and thank God in our lives and be more zealous in our mission.
May God always light up our lives, giving us love and strength so that we can join hands in serving God in the spirituality and charism of Rosarian Sisters. Amen
M. Đa Minh Ninh Phạm Thị Nguyệt