Our new friends at the convent of Jesus Christ Crucified
In December 2013 I answered a call to begin working with 4 Passionist sisters from Vietnam who were staying at the nearby convent of the Sisters of Jesus Crucified (CJC sisters). The sisters, from south VIet Nam, were learning English in preparation for college studies. Three of the sisters didn't return to Brockton after the Christmas break, and I continued working with Sister Trang until May, when she returned to her convent in Viet Nam for the summer. But as she left, 5 (soon to be 6) Dominican sisters from north Viet Nam arrived. They didn't speak a word of English when they arrived, but I soon began spending two afternoons a week with them to help them build vocabulary and other language skills. The sisters have several teachers, so knowing that most of their class time was pretty formal, I've done lots of activities with them.
For example, the first week we toured the gardens on the convent grounds and planted seeds.
We also baked pita bread; although the sisters soon improved on my boring plain loaves and created whimsical loaves with faces.
To help them celebrate St. Dominic's feast, we practiced long and hard to learn the psalms and canticle for first Vespers, and on August 7 the sisters formed the choir to chant Vespers for their patronal feast. All of the CJC sisters also attended, along with several guests. My friend Fred Brewer played the organ and we had a great celebration, during the service and afterward in the refectory. Vincent, who is the uncle of Sr. Quyen was visiting from his seminary in Denver, and was officiant for the service.
In the photo above you can see all 6 of the sisters in the front row. From left ot right are: Sr. Yen, Sr. Lanh, Sr. Ngoc, Sr. Thuy, Sr. Quyen, and Sr. Thoa.
Above are 5 of the sisters (Sr. Quyen was ill and ended up missing the post-service reception) with Laurie and me, Vincent and Richard and Helen, two long-time benefactors of the convent.
A few photos as we ended the night. And below the YouTube version of the Vespers service.