Sister Thanh Pham

I was born and raised in a Catholic family. When I was 13, my family migrated from Vietnam to the US to reunite with my grandparents. Ever since I was young, I have been involved with all the activities in my parish. But, the changes between the two cultures were a challenge for me when I first moved to the U.S. Although it was hard to adapt, my faith did not falter, thanks to my family who always showed me their strong faith.

After I graduated from high school, I entered college without knowing what I wanted to do. It took me a while to decide that I wanted to become an elementary teacher. However, difficulties kept blocking my way and I couldn’t get into a teaching program. I was very unhappy and stressed at that time. I decided to take a year off from school during time which I started to pray seriously about my life, my ministry, and my vocation. Occasionally, the thoughts of joining religious life popped into my head, but I brushed them off because I thought it was impossible.

I got to know the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon (SSMO) through my aunt, Sr. Rosina. However, my grandfather, who had suffered a stroke, was most instrumental in leading me to find my calling as a SSMO. After spending days in the hospital, he was sent to Maryville Nursing Home for rehabilitation. During this time, I had the opportunity to take care of him. While staying with my grandfather, I got to meet several Sisters when they came to Maryville to visit him. Their smiles and genuine care for him touched my heart and I thought to myself, “I want to be one of them”. Once in a while, they invited me over to the Motherhouse for lunch. Then, I met with Sr. Michael Francine, who was the Vocation Director. Sister led me through the discernment process. During this time, I learned the reason why I was struggling and was not happy with my life. It was because “I” was the one who was making the decision, not God. Ever since, I have recognized that God had been leading me; I just have to listen to Him. When I find peace and joy in anything that I do, I know that I am following His voice!