Tam Ha (Vietnam). On 28 May 2021, the Province of Mary Help of Christians (VTN) celebrated 60 years of the presence of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Vietnam, at the service of young people. The FMA, united in prayer and in gratitude for the memory of the beginnings, in the passion for the salvation of souls, are committed to working together to face future challenges with renewed enthusiasm.
Remember the story with gratitude
On 28 May 1961, the first FMA missionaries arrived in Binh Tay-Cho Lon, in South Vietnam, giving life to a community made up of 3 sisters (from Italy, China, and the Philippines) and 6 Vietnamese aspirants. A few months later, on 12 December 1961, with other missionaries from Germany and Italy, the first community was officially constituted. The sisters quickly fit into the new environment, thanks to their cordial presence among the people, carrying out school activities, oratory, and catechism in the parish. In October 1966, the FMA received the management of the Lina Nursery School in Tam Ha, a gift from the Italian government for poor children and victims of the war in Vietnam. The presence of the FMA is required to offer a significant contribution to the Church and to society. In addition to the commitment to study the Vietnamese language in order to communicate and become witnesses, the missionaries focus on the formation of local vocations and on the integration of the Salesian charism into Vietnamese culture, laying solid foundations for the FMA Institute in Vietnam. Trust in Providence is the attitude that guides the first FMA in carrying out their works with hope, even in difficult situations.
Live the present moment with passion
The FMA Institute in Vietnam continues to grow with fidelity and creativity in the mission at the service of the young. The field is expanding with many new frontiers. The new vocations are a sign of God’s blessing. In communion with the Church and in response to the needs of society, the FMA open vocational centers with work orientation, university resident housing and resident houses for indigenous girls/students. The educational network is enriched by state kindergartens, elementary and middle schools, after-school, pastoral activities in the parish, oratory, and by the activities of the Salesian Youth Movement, Vides, FMA Past Pupils, Salesian Cooperators.
Look to the future with hope
In this year of preparation for the event of the 60th anniversary of FMA presence, the Provincial, Sr. Rosa Vu Thi Kim Lien, invited the Sisters of the Province to a deeper communion through the Our Father during the morning community prayer. The FMA commit themselves to live the Hymn to Charity of Saint Paul (1 Cor 13) and to read together the pages of the history of the Institute in Vietnam, nurturing gratitude for the first Vietnamese missionaries and for the first FMA. Each page of history evokes vivid memories of people and events, awakening in the sisters the desire to give themselves completely to God and to the mission.
In May, the Province celebrated the Marian Month with particular gratitude. In these 60 years, Mary has protected, supported, and guided the Province in its difficulties and challenges. Relating the graces received through Mary’s intercession and the spiritual experiences lived with her accompaniment helps the sisters to increase their love for Our Lady and their commitment to imitate her virtues.
The communities continue to give thanks to God and to Mary Help of Christians who intervenes with her maternal love, and to all the FMA who have contributed and contribute to the growth of the Province. The event of the 60th anniversary is an encouragement to renew one’s vocation in joy, living the charism in depth. The mandate “I entrust them to you” urges the FMA to continue walking in faith and hope with and for the young, especially the poorest.