God’s missionaries have many different faces and backgrounds! As fall heralds the return of Divine Word College students, we have some new feminine faces in the classroom this year – three Sisters from Vietnam. Here as part of an academic extension program, Srs. Nga Kieu Le, Phuong Kim Thi Nguyen and Hong Quy Vuong Nguyen are members of the Catholic ICM Society of Apostolic Life. ICM stands for “Incarnation – Consecration – Mission.” These words represent the spirit of the Society and its fundamental doctrine founded on the mystery of the Incarnation: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).”
Composed of Sisters only, members of the ICM Society follow Jesus’ simple way of life, embracing love and service to others. Founded in 1949 in North Vietnam, the Society aims to combine spirituality (the Word) with apostolic ministry (the flesh): serving the poor, uneducated and marginalized people in Vietnam. By 1969, the ICM Society had some 300 Sisters in missionary work. With the fall of Saigon in 1975, it lost nearly all its houses and members. But today, ICM Sisters have recreated their structure and apostolic service through 33 years of hard religious work, despite laboring under the confines of the Communist government. Continuing their mission of service to the poor, the ICM Sisters open kindergartens for children; maintain houses for the aged, poor and homeless; perform pastoral work in parishes and promote human development in remote areas of their native country.
“Their presence here will make our school more dynamic and enhance the spirit of everybody,” says Fr. Khien Luu, SVD and Dean of Students at Divine Word College. “Their demonstrations of prayer, simple lifestyle and seriousness in studies will set good examples for the other DWC students as they continue to discern their vocations in the religious life.”
Sr. Nga has already professed her perpetual vows. Srs. Phuong and Hong are currently in temporary vows. After learning English in our Intensive English Language Institute (ESL), these three Sisters would like to continue their studies at Divine Word College, earning their bachelor’s degrees in either Theology or Cross-Cultural Studies. “It would help them tremendously when they return to their native land,” says Fr. Luu. “The Sisters feel fortunate to be a part of the DWC community and are impressed with our hospitality and the service of the SVD members,” he adds.
Divine Word College is beginning to feel like an extended family, a home away from home, for our new ICM Sisters. They like our environment, the quiet beauty of nature all around them here in Epworth and the spirit of everyone in the school.
Please join our college community in giving a warm Midwestern welcome to the ICM missionary Sisters studying at Divine Word College!