The 58th World Day of Vocations
Testimonies from Việt Nam
In the Message for the 58th World Day of Vocations which is celebrated on Sunday 25 April, the figure of St. Joseph is indicated by Pope Francis as a witness: "God looks on the heart and in Saint Joseph he recognized the heart of a father, able to give and generate life in the midst of daily routines. Vocations have this same goal: to beget and renew lives every day. The Lord desires to shape the hearts of fathers and mothers: hearts that are open, capable of great initiatives, generous in self-giving, compassionate in comforting anxieties and steadfast in strengthening hopes. The priesthood and the consecrated life greatly need these qualities nowadays, in times marked by fragility but also by the sufferings due to the pandemic, which has spawned uncertainties and fears about the future and the very meaning of life. Saint Joseph comes to meet us in his gentle way, as one of the saints next door. At the same time, his strong witness can guide us on the journey".
The Society of St. Peter the Apostle promotes, in Christian communities, the awareness of the need to develop local clergy and consecrated life in the recently founded particular Churches.
The Congregation of the Lovers of the Holy Cross Sisters was commissioned by His Exc. Mgr. Pierre Lambert de la Motte and founded on February 19, 1670 in Việt Nam: it is Divine Providence that inspires this apostle to found a Congregation of local sisters to collaborate in the work of evangelization of their own Vietnamese people. The experience of persecutions became the forge of a missionary method: asking local Christians to be responsible for evangelizing their people and to continue the work of missionaries where they cannot be present. Then, the sufferings caused by the persecutions intensified even more the spirituality of the cross already existing in the heart of Mgr. Pierre Lambert de la Motte, to the point of pushing him to the foundation of a Congregation of Sisters who participate in the saving work thanks to their communion with the Crucified Christ.
"Gradually I realize that becoming a nun means not doing what I like, but loving what I do, not living with who I choose, but loving who God sends me. It is said that doing what you want is freedom, but loving what you do is happiness. In fact, the vocational journey is really demanding, I almost fall and want to turn in another direction, but I need to go forward to look for Jesus who loves me so much and gives his life for me and for the whole world", writes a novice of the Congregation, Maria Phạm Thị Lộc, who continues: "I aspired to achieve many things because I thought that a religious must have different abilities to serve well and be irreproachable in the eyes of others. I was wrong. I understood that when God was not placed at the center of my life, everything would become meaningless". The novice Martha Nguyễn Thị Bích Thương writes about the mystery of vocation: "What is a vocational call? For me, a vocational call is a very sacred thing. It is a great gift from God. I cannot understand it clearly, but I think I have experienced it. Like any girl in her twenties, I have planned my future with a bright image. My heart was restless until it was touched by a call. I could neither clearly perceive nor exactly understand that call. When I realized it was Jesus' call, I really hesitated. However, in the depths of my heart, I wanted to respond to the call of Jesus". Another novice, Maria Nguyễn Thị Ánh Vân, writes: "I trust that God will always accompany me and guide me. If I had the possibility to choose once again, I would continue to choose consecrated life. For me, everything in the world is limited, only God and belonging to Him are infinite".