I was born in Vietnam, and I grew up in a big happy Catholic family with nine brothers and two sisters. I have greatest memories of a happy childhood and bonding time with my family. My parents were devout Catholic people, and they taught my siblings and me to pray in the morning and evening. We attended Mass every day, we were faithful to God, and we had great love and care of each other. We helped the poor and took care of each other.
In 1975, North Vietnam (the Communists) took over South Vietnam and many things changed. I felt everything was upside down. It was a difficult time for Catholic people living under the communist system. We had no freedom to live and practice our faith. My parents did not see a future for their children in Vietnam. They worried and did not know what would happen next to them and the family. My parents decided to escape Vietnam and they sent my brothers and sisters, one by one, on small boats. It took several years for the whole family to escape, but we were eventually reunited in the United States.
It was in the summer of 1988 that I started my journey to escape Vietnam. I was in a small boat with 66 others (including Deacons, Religious and small children). On the third day, we were rescued from the coming thunderstorm by a ship from Denmark. After going through all the refugee camps and transitions in Singapore and the Philippines, I safely arrived in Seattle and was reunited with my siblings.
In November 1989, I started a new life in Seattle. I was used to living in tropical climate and at first I found it difficult adapting to the gloomy weather of the Pacific Northwest. I lived in Seattle for eight months then moved to San Jose, California and started school. I graduated from college and worked in the engineering field. I gained knowledge in computer technology, but I lost focus in my spiritual life.
I knew I was missing something in my life and did not feel fulfilled. I prayed that the Holy Spirit would guide me. In 2011, I attended the ceremony for Sr. Rosina Pham, as she took her temporary vows with the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. I met many of the Sisters at that celebration. This was the first time I felt inspired and that I could feel at home with a community of Religious Sisters.
I visited with the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon for several months and I moved to the Motherhouse on March 3, 2013. I love living with the Sisters in Community. Living in community with Sisters helps me strengthen my relationship with God through communal prayers, daily Mass, and interaction with the Sisters with whom I live. This is my second year of novitiate. I am a full-time student and taking the requisite courses for the Nursing program and Occupational Therapy.
We are pleased to share photos of the day that Sr. Anna joined the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.
We have also shared photos of Sr. Anna’s life with the Sisters.