02/29/2016, 14.31
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Missionaries of Charity in Vietnam: the spirit of Mother Teresa with the poor

by Nguyen Hung

The Jubilee of the Volunteers of Mercy will be celebrated on 4 September, the anniversary of the Albanian Blessed’s death and perhaps of her canonisation. The Missionaries of Charity of Christ in Vietnam were founded in 1975, but in 1995, the Communists drove them from the country. After returning ten years ago, they now work with orphans, the poor, prostitutes and people living with AIDS.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – Reliving the spirit of Mother Teresa, "we are proud to be Missionaries of Charity of Christ. We are part of the religious family of the Vietnamese Church, and we serve the poor and the less fortunate through public vows of charity, poverty and obedience, dedicating ourselves wholeheartedly to the service of our brothers and sisters,” the Sisters told AsiaNews.

The Order of the Missionaries of Charity of Christ was born from Mother Teresa’s charisma. They will celebrate the Jubilee of the Volunteers of Mercy on 4 September, anniversary of their foundress’ death, and the probable date of her canonisation.

The Missionaries of Charity of Christ were set up in Vietnam after the government banned the Sisters of Mother Teresa. Later, they became the local branch of the international institute.

The bond between Mother Teresa and Vietnam was established in July 1973, when the then Archbishop of Saigon, Mgr. Paul Nguyen Van Binh, invited the nun to send seven Indian seminarians to help and serve local poor.

On 30 April 1975, when Saigon (later renamed Ho Chi Minh City) fell to Communist forces, men and women religious were forced to flee to Hong Kong, but the archbishop organised a group of local nuns to follow Mother Teresa’s spirituality, the ‘Missionaries of Charity of Christ’.

Between 1991 and 1995, Mother Teresa, who is an ethnic Albanian, went to Vietnam five times. The first time she met with government officials; the second time with the archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City, where she spent a week meeting and advising her Vietnamese sisters about their work with the poor and the less fortunate.

During the third visit, in 1994, Mother Teresa worked together with the eight nuns who ran the orphanage at 38 Tu Xuong Street in Ho Chi Minh City, which welcomes thousands of abandoned children from different provinces of the country.

During her last visit, in December 1995, the Communist Party told her that all the sisters of the congregation had to leave by 23 December.

"We will accept God’s will and shall learn from it what God wants from us,” some of sisters said quoting Mother Teresa. “The world is full of bombs, which cannot bring peace and happiness to people. Only God’s love and mercy can. Smile, smile at least five times a day to the people who do not want to do it. Do it for peace!"

In June 2006, a delegation that included Sister Nirmala (Mother Teresa’s successor), Sister Lysa (deputy general superior) and Sister Leon (in charge of Asian congregations) came to see the work performed by the Missionaries of Charity of Christ and expressed their approval for the latter’s merger with the Missionaries of Charity International, whilst keeping their original name.

On 28 February 2008, the Holy See gave its approval for the permanent constitution of the Missionaries of Charity of Christ in Vietnam.

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11/03/2016 17:00
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