Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Missioned to Fiji

by Sister My Hanh Cao, D.C.

When I was a young girl, I often heard stories told by one of our parish priests during Mass for Youth about lives of the Saints or Catholic heroes. I loved these stories. I especially liked the stories of St. Maximilian Kolbe who volunteered to die for one of his prison partners in the Auschwitz concentration camp, and St. Damien of Molokai and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta  who both missioned and served the leprous people. I admired the lives of the missionaries who sacrificed their lives and left their home countries and families to go to new places to live with the poor and the suffering to share Christ with them. Knowing the Daughters of Charity were missionary by nature gave me more reasons to continue my discernment to become a Daughter of Charity after I first made contact with them.

In 2007, when I had just completed 10 years of vocation as a Daughter of Charity, I was asked to attend the Cross Culture Ministry program in San Antonio, a program that trained those preparing to work overseas as missionaries. Upon finishing the program, I was assigned to serve in Taize, the central South of France for four months in a clinic providing first aid for pilgrims who came to Taize to worship with the ecumenical Brothers.

I then was asked to serve in the Cook Islands. I served the elderly, sick, homebound, disabled and children, as well as supporting parish work on a small island of less than 300 people. I lived in the Cook Islands for more than five years until the two missions there were closed in 2014.

Earlier this year, I was missioned to Nausori-Tailevu of the Fiji Islands. I have been here for a little more than a month. I am still in the transition stage where I have a lot of things to learn about the places, the people, the culture, the customs and the languages. Most of the things I do now are observing and discerning to see where I am most needed or where God really wants to place me.

The important thing for us, being missionaries, is to live the community life with our companion Sisters and to share in the burden of the poor to bring Christ's comfort, healing, hope and salvation to them.

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