06/15/2009, 00.00
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Ho Chi Minh City “moves” sisters, despite their church, nursery, clinic

by Emily Nguyen
Authorities take over the very last sliver of a complex, already largely requisitioned, that has gone up in value over the years, ignoring the religious sisters work in favour of the poor and children on the area.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – Another case of nuns being deprived of their home in Vietnam.  On June 11th the religious sisters of the Cross Lovers in Thu Thiem, a suburb of Ho Chi Minh City, were called to a meeting by the head of the second district, during which they were informed that the authorities had decided to “move” them from their only home, in which they have lived for over 170 years.

It was crushing news for the nuns, as well the children of their school and the poor in the area who are helped by the sisters.

The house is situated on 3.5 acres (less than 15 thousand square metres) of land, all that was left to tem to carry out their charity after authorities already confiscated 100 acres (over 40 thousand square metres) which housed the junior and high schools, when Saigon was taken by the communists.  Since 1840, the sisters spent an incalculable quantity of time in transforming the tropical area of humid jungle into homes, schools and farms from which they earned their living and supported the poor of the area.

Tears were shed silently when the first confiscation took place: their peaceful and loving nature and fears of revenge should they speak out ensured no protests from the religious over the authorities illegal acts.  With broken hearts they pusher ahead with what they had left.

This time however, they have no other choice, given that they are being thrown from their only home and they have decided to break their silence and no longer submit to this injustice.  They want to stay in their home and fight for their rights and the good of those who have benefited from their charity; the disadvantaged and the children of the school.

In fact in that tiny piece of land, the sisters have built a Church, a convent, a school for vocations, a farm, a shelter and clinic and a nursery school for 400 children.  Many lives that will be badly affected if the sisters are moved to another area, given that no-one will be able to follow them to their new  home.

It must be pointed out that over the past years, the economic reforms have been accompanied by increasing land speculation, particularly along the Bach Dang River in the suburbs of Ho Chi Minh City. The value of the land in the area where the convent is situated has grown enormously, resulting in the growing desire of civil servants turned businessmen to move the nuns.  


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