Dubuque: Celebrating Unity through Diversity

Pictured above, left to right: Sisters Teresa Marie, Huyen, Nuong

Reflection by Sister Teresa Marie Tran, SCC
In August 2015, Sister Teresa Marie Tran, a Sister of Christian Charity, moved to the Presentation motherhouse to live while teaching at Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa. Below Sister Teresa Marie shares how she continues to experience and celebrate unity through diversity.

Being the only Sister of Christian Charity ministering in the Dubuque area, I was looking for a religious community to call “home.” After living on campus at Divine Word College for two years, I connected with the Sisters of Presentation and moved to Mount Loretto in August of 2015 as the new school year began. Since then, the Presentation community has been “home away from home” for me. Although living here requires me to commute to and from the college, I appreciate the ride, which gives me space and time to process and celebrate the day. Besides, coming home to a group of wonderful religious women has made life more invigorating for me! I appreciate the opportunity to join a scripture sharing group, to recreate and sharpen my skills in card games, and pick my brain with jigsaw puzzles, just to name a few. Although we do not share the same charism, ethnicity nor culture, I feel right at home with the Dubuque Presentation Sisters.

As I settled into my new home, the sisters were preparing to welcome two Sisters of the Lovers of the Holy Cross from Can Tho, Vietnam. Sisters Nuong and Huyen arrived in Dubuque three days before I returned from my Christmas break. Before we even met, Sisters Nuong and Huyen already connected with my friends in Chicago, who brought the newly-arrived sisters to Mount Loretto. What a small world we live in! There is no boundary in God’s world. We are ONE! Living at Mount Loretto has helped us celebrate unity through diversity!

Transitioning from the tropical weather of Vietnam to Iowa weather in January was a challenge for Sisters Nuong and Huyen, however, they have been adjusting very well to their new environment. The sisters at Mount Loretto have extended their hearts and home to welcome them. Sisters Nuong and Huyen go to classes to learn English at a nearby college four days a week. On the days they do not go to class, a number of sisters teach them English skills as well as skills for different hobbies.

Both Sisters Nuong and Huyen are taking piano lessons from Sisters Damian O’Brien and Sharon Kelchen. Sister Nuong is learning different skills in art with Sister Marie Barth and Sister Huyen is mastering her skills in basket weaving with Sister Dolores Zieser. It is wonderful to see that these skills are being passed on to the next generation and the talents and gifts that are being developed. Even more beautiful is that these skills will someday be shared with the people half a world away in Vietnam.

Although my desire to go back and serve in Vietnam did not become a reality, Vietnam came to me through my ministry at Divine Word College and here at Mount Loretto. It is this unity we celebrate, through which our world becomes smaller and God’s family become more inclusive!