Double Solemn Profession (July 2011)
I HAVE MADE WITH YOU AN EVERLASTING COVENANT
July 16th is always a day of joy and special blessings for the Carmelite Nuns whose Monastery is located at 1250 Carmel Drive, but this year it was a time of extraordinary jubilation! Sister Marie Camille of Jesus (Hoang Thi Thuong) and Sister Marie Joseph of the Eucharist (Pham Thi Lan) made their profession of Solemn Vows at a Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael Jarrell. Fifteen priests joined as concelebrants. Msgr. Keith DeRouen was Master of Ceremonies. A highlight for the Sisters was the presence of their former prioress in Hue, Vietnam, Mother Marie Ange, who received the vows of Sister Joseph, while Mother Regina received the vows of Sister Camille. Also present were two Sisters from their Carmel in Vietnam who are now helping the Carmel in Salt Lake City. The Homily was given by Father Marion Joseph Bui, a Discalced Carmelite Friar and a special “son” of the Monastery, who was instrumental in bringing the two Sisters to Lafayette. He came from Vietnam as one of the “boat People” in 1981 in order that he might become a priest. He was ordained by Bishop Xavier Labayan, OCD, in the Monastery Chapel in 1995. At the end of the celebration, Father, who celebrated his 25th anniversary of profession of vows on July 16th, was presented with a bouquet of roses by the two Sisters. In his homily, Father Marion noted that the Sisters are here to pray for the needs of the people and of the Church. “Across the street from the Monastery is the cemetery; behind are people who are handicapped; to the right is the Diocesan Office and on the left are the working people. All need help and, like Elijah the prophet, the Sisters pray for everyone.” “Water is the source of life. Through their prayers, the Sisters obtain the waters of grace for all…. with Mary who stood beneath the Cross of her Son, the Carmelites stand ready to sacrifice all for the needs of Church and the world. They are ready to follow Mary’s command: ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” This is the reason the Sisters left their homeland and families to come to Lafayette, Father Marion pointed out. In expressing gratitude for the prayers and support they have received, the Sisters thanked the members of their community in Vietnam for the training they received, and their families for supporting their decision to come to the United States. “It was truly a sacrifice made with much love and surrender to God,” they said. “We also thank Mother Regina and all the Sisters here for receiving us so lovingly and for helping us as we endeavored to incorporate ourselves into a new Community and culture. We left behind a Community which we cherished, but we have found here in Lafayette, a Carmelite family which has become as dear to us as the Carmel in Hue.” The two Nuns have interesting backgrounds. Sister Camille is the youngest of nine children. Two of her sisters are Religious; one belongs to a diocesan congregation of the Visitation while the other is a Sister of St. Paul de Chartres. The remainder of her siblings, three brothers and three sisters, are married. Sister’s father died when she was fourteen. It was a surprise to many when Sister entered the Carmel in Hue in 1998 since she was always the talkative and “naughty” one, ever ready to get into mischief! Sister Joseph is likewise the youngest in the family. She has one brother and three sisters, all of whom are married. Sister was a quiet person and very close to Our Lord in the Eucharist from early childhood. Sister’s father died just a few months before she came to the United States, thus making her departure an even greater sacrifice. They feel that they have a true Missionary vocation and have willingly chosen to come here. “For us, it is not a matter of being Vietnamese, Filipino or American. We are all Carmelites.” And in Lafayette, we are happy to welcome them.