Auckland Dominican Family gathers with Sister Marie Constance OP

On Pentecost Sunday (25 May) the Auckland Dominican Family gathered to share time with Sister Tran Thi Sam Marie Constance OP from Vietnam.  Sr Marie Constance is the Asia Pacific Representative on the DSI Council.  Also spending time with us was Sarah Hynes, volunteer from a Dominican College in Rhode Island USA.   Helen welcomed everyone and Susan offered a Mihi.

After a short period of silence members of the Family shared how they connect with and live out the charism of Dominic .. following in Dominic’s footsteps, Dominic on his knees with the scriptures, seeking truth, trying to teach truth, Veritas, Justice and Peace, ministry to people of all faiths and people of no faith, contemplation, lay people finding the gift of preaching, the four pillars: respect, aroha, perseverance and unity, learning from Māori, respecting the earth, Dominic’s walking with joy through Europe, receiving faith from the Dominican Sisters, working with people of other nationalities, receiving a foundation of belief from the Dominican friars who inspire us to always question, working with refugees, supporting the rights and responsibilities of people, supporting those at Alcoholics Anonymous, studying the scriptures more deeply and more….

Helen invited Marie Constance to share something of her experience of the Dominican Charism:

Marie Constance was overjoyed to be in Aotearoa New Zealand recalling memories of Sr Margaret and when she first met Fr Kevin Toomey back in 1994.

Her connection with the Dominican charism came when she joined the Dominican Convent at age 8 years (grade 5). She continued her studies and made her profession at age 17.  Last year she celebrated her Golden Jubilee

Sr Marie Constance shared something of the Sisters’ ministry in Vietnam.   A key ministry is that they teach in kindergartens.  Some sisters who have studied abroad teach at state schools and universities, not as a religious sister but as a laity.  Every day they feed about 100 patients in the hospital.   They have worked among the lepers and the TB patients, the mental and physically handicapped – they know the love of the Dominican Sisters.

Four Vietnamese congregations are now one Federation.  We were amazed by the numbers of Dominican Sisters and laity in Vietnam:  91 junior (not professed) sisters and 98 aspirants, 35 novices.  The congregations encourage and support one another – especially for formation.   They have a common habit, one constitution, one programme of formation.   In total that are more than 10,000 religious in Vietnam and more than 100,000 laity!

The traffic is very crazy busy in Vietnam.  Sr Marie Constance tells us that she only rides a bicycle.  Lucky she only wears a habit for the liturgy (can’t imagine her getting along in a habit on a bicycle in the Vietnamese traffic).

We concluded our day with song Celebrating God’s Spirit and in prayer.  Thanks to all those who gathered.

More photos of the gathering on our Facebook page.