The Congregation of De La Salle Sisters was founded by the Brothers in Vietnam in 1966 to take care of poor infants who had been left abandoned as a result of the Vietnam war. The Sisters became established in Thailand and then in Texas USA in 1975.
The Sisters devote themselves to working for others in a spirit which is the same as the one Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle bequeathed to his Brothers. They are active in Vietnam, Thailand and the USA, caring for infants aged two to five, and in the USA up to twelve years old. Many of the children come from needy families, especially in Vietnam and Thailand.
“On Saturdays in America the lessons are devoted to catechism and to vietnamese language classes for the Vietnamese residents. There are thirteen Sisters who undertake after-school activities up until 6.00 p.m. They are the ones who work with the Lasallian Scouts and Lasalle Youth who are involved in volunteer work.
In Vietnam, on the other hand, the number of Sisters involved in teaching and after-school activities is much greater (around 100), and they form a more extended community. In Thailand there are only six Sisters.”
When asked about the current situation with regard to vocations in America, Sister Thoa admits that things are very difficult. “We are trying to get as many young people as possible interested in volunteer work so that they can learn more about our work through their involvement in social action.
In Vietnam, the situation is much simpler. There are more vocations, and we also have a training programme for teachers who work with us, and even for those in establishments other than Lasallian who can join in the training sessions and learn our methods of teaching.”
Turning to another topic of discussion, the recent experience of the hurricane in Houston had a profound effect on the local community of Sisters. With the help of local people, the problems have been resolved and the Sisters are ready to accept the will of the Lord with regard to their immediate future. “As things stand, we will probably not be able to occupy our buildings for another two years. They will need to be cleaned up and restored after all the damage done to them. Let us hope that this disaster will make sense and help us to understand what lies in store for us.”
Interview by Ilaria Iadeluca – Director of Communications
Institute of the Brothers of the Christian schools, Rome