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MISSION and GLOBALIZATION at DIVINE WORD COLLEGE

Globalization today has changed the way we perceive our world and our mission, fostering a sense of connectivity and interdependence. Last semester at Divine Word College, we shared news of the arrival of three ICM Sisters from Vietnam on our website and in our local newspapers. In this cold winter of the new year, the Divine Word College community feels warmer and more energized because our Vietnamese Sisters have multiplied in number to a total of 15. The Sisters represent three more Catholic religious orders: the Servants of Jesus, the High Priest (SJP), the Lovers of the Holy Cross (LHC) and the Daughters of Mary Immaculate (DMI). These Sisters join our four Holy Spirit Sisters (SSpS) as students here at Divine Word College. The Qui Nhon Diocese has sent two Vietnamese priests, who, in addition to two other diocesan priests from Vietnam, also join the ranks of our new students.

Fr. Khien Luu, SVD, is Dean of Students at Divine Word College. “The cheerful, smiling faces of the Sisters have really given our school a spirit of happiness and beauty of life,” he says. “They are gifts from God to us. And we are happy to receive these gifts and ready to learn from the richness of their experiences, their endurance in life and their dedication to the religious life.”

How did they come to be students at DWC? Dr. Le Xuan Hy, former DWC trustee and currently a professor at Seattle University, is one of several who have been instrumental in helping Vietnamese missionary Sisters and priests come to Divine Word College to study English and eventually earn degrees. Dr. Hy explains, “Youth learn English. Major international organizations use English. So, to operate effectively in the new world, even at the local level, religious leaders need to know English.” Hy adds that “Divine Word College has probably one of the best facilities on earth to train religious missionary leaders in both English and cross-cultural studies, so it is the right match.” 

“Vietnam is beautiful,” says Hy. “People are extremely devout. They are appreciative of opportunities, so they help us appreciate our own opportunities and work hard. They help us learn about sharing, which is essential to the life of missionaries.”

What will their education at DWC enable our new Vietnamese students to do in the future? “The Sisters have the determination to leave their homeland to acquire and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to communicate the Gospel of love to others,” says Luu. Each of these religious orders has endured and survived in Vietnam, helping to spread the Word in many ways. The LHC Sisters come from three dioceses – Vinh, Vinh Long and Hung Hoa – and dedicate their lives to God by providing many different services: teaching catechism in parishes; taking leadership roles in youth activities; serving as nurses and physicians; counseling those who need direction; and serving in pastoral ministry to the elderly, homebound and sick. The SJP Sisters are from the Xuan Loc diocese. Their motto is to “Serve with Love;” sacrificing their lives as Jesus, the High Priest, has sacrificed his for the redemption of the world. They pray for the sanctification of the priesthood and provide aid to priests in many ways, including parish ministries, formation and health and social services. The DMI Sisters, from the diocese of Hue, dedicate their lives as servants of God, like Mary. They teach general education and the Catholic faith; serve as social workers and physicians; provide care to the deformed and physically challenged; and provide scholarships or financial assistance to poor children. The ICM Sisters come from the diocese of Da lat and dedicate their lives to God like Jesus the Incarnate Word (Incarnation-Consecration-Mission). They serve the poor and propagate the Catholic faith. For more about the ICM Sisters, read their recent story at: http://www.dwci.edu/News/News/ICM-Sisters-join-college-community.aspx.

Students at Divine Word College, themselves preparing for work as missionaries, are inspired by our new students with their unique and enduring sense of mission. “Their participation in the liturgy and communal prayers has truly offered us a lively sense of celebration as a community of faith,” Luu says. “The Sisters’ readiness to help has set a good example of service to the students, and their diligence in studies motivates our students. We are blessed with their presence and eagerness to be a part of the college community.”