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Two Vietnamese women religious transfer into Sisters of Providence in Seattle ceremony

Sisters Lang Tran and AnnMary Vu, both natives of Vietnam, will complete their transfer into the Sisters of Providence in a ceremony on Saturday, October 18, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Seattle. The presider and homilist will be the Reverend Patrick Brennan, vicar for clergy and judicial vicar for the Archdiocese of Portland. American and Vietnamese priests will serve as co-celebrants and the Our Lady of Lavang choir will provide the music.

These two perpetually vowed women are bringing their gifts and talents and are now going to live out and express the charism of Providence in their lives. "That charism is in service to the poor," says Sister Barbara Schamber, provincial superior of the Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph Province. She and Sister Kathryn Rutan, General Superior of the international community headquartered in Montreal, will participate in the transfer ceremony at 1 p.m. at the church, 7000 35th Avenue SW, followed by a reception in the parish hall.

Both Vietnamese women joined the Adorers of the Holy Cross in their native country.

Sister AnnMary was born in 1947 to a family of 12 children in the northern part of Vietnam, five of whom lived beyond infancy. In 1954, when the Geneva Treaty divided the country into North and South Vietnam, her family was among the nearly one million Catholics who moved from the north to the south to be able to continue practicing their faith. Those Catholics who remained in the north faced death or arrest by the Communists.? In the summer of 1957, she was sent to a boarding house in Saigon that offered special training for children who wanted to be nuns. She entered the novitiate in 1962 at the age of 17.

When Saigon fell in 1975, giving the Communists control of Vietnam, they also took control of the Catholic schools and prohibited the Catholic nuns from teaching. They were forced to choose between working in the factory or the fields. Sister AnnMary worked for six years in a bamboo curtain factory and taught piano and tutored children.

Her family decided to escape from Vietnam together, and joined another group that escaped in a small sailboat in 1981. There were 11 people in all, ranging in age from 71 years to 2 months. They reached a refugee camp in the Philippines and were saved by a German ship. Sister AnnMary was reunited with her religious community when she came to Portland, Ore., in 1983.

Sister Lang was born in 1952 in North Vietnam to a family with seven children. She became a pre-candidate in the Adorers of the Holy Cross as a fifth-grader at the age of 11. She professed first vows at the age of 20 and began teaching first grade. Like Sister AnnMary, she was unable to continue teaching with the fall of Saigon, so she worked in the fields. She escaped from Vietnam to France, and eventually made her way to the United States. In 1997 she moved to Portland to join her religious community there.

Sister Lang taught for two years in a Portland day care facility and also in Sunday school. As part of her three-year transfer process into the Sisters of Providence she has studied English and has been taking early childhood education classes at Spokane Falls Community College.

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