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Our Hope of the Resurrection

Nicole Patterson

Sr. My Nguyen and Sr. Thuy Hoang

Sisters My Nguyen and Thuy Hoang

“In Vietnam, we’re prohibited from talking or sharing about God in public,” says Sister Thuy Hoang, an undergraduate student studying theology at the Mount.

Before arriving on Mary’s Mountain, Hoang was a nurse for two years working at a small clinic that belonged to her convent. Then for another two years, she worked with lepers. Friend and fellow theology major Sister My Nguyen was an electrical engineer in the convent. While Hoang’s and Nguyen’s hometowns are in Bắc Giang province and Hanoi, Vietnam, the sisters belong to the Our Lady of Unity order. Cardinal Paul Joseph Pham Dình Tung founded the order in Vietnam in 1963.

garden-fence-in-text.jpgThe sisters' youthful enthusiasm, cheerful smiles, and warm presence can be felt throughout the Mount campus. The sisters serve by helping to clean linens in the IC Chapel. Dawn Walsh, director of the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, is thankful the sisters greet pilgrims and join the faithful for Sunday Mass. The sisters’ hospitality is a special gift to Vietnamese pilgrims who feel welcome. The sisters also arrange flowers and decorate for feast days. Last summer, they grew a beautiful garden full of lettuce, garlic, tomato, kale, onion, potato, and lemongrass in their backyard. Regulars in Bradley Hall, the sisters have added so much joy to the Mount family since their arrival in August 2021. 

The sisters of the congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame helped Hoang and Nguyen when they first came to the United States to study English and were living with them in Missouri before moving to Minnesota and then coming to the Mount.

“When we first arrived here, President Trainor saw us looking lost. We weren’t wearing our habits, but he welcomed us, and Dr. McCarthy gave us a tour of the campus,” Hoang recounts. “God gave us an angel.” The sisters have intense faith and dedication to their vocation. Nguyen adds: “Every day we pray for the students—and here we have found our hope.”

The Rev. Peter Bao Nguyen, assistant director of international programs and coordinator of international Jesuit collaborations at Loyola University Maryland, helped the sisters obtain scholarships to study in the United States through his nonprofit organization Formation Support for Vietnam, which has raised millions for Vietnamese sisters and priests to study at Catholic colleges and seminaries.

At the Mount, Hoang enjoys learning about ethics, cardinal and theological virtues, and Saint Thomas Aquinas. Nguyen appreciates her theology courses and Mathematical Thinking course. “Sometimes we struggle with English, but all of our professors are very understanding,” she says.

Both sisters want to minister to others and share the wonders of God’s ever-loving kindness. Hoang would like to help those who struggle to solve their problems and work toward making their lives different. Nguyen would like to educate children through catechism and assist those confused about a vocation to find happiness and a deeper understanding through higher education.

“We hear about many Mount alumni achievements and contributions,” says Hoang. “We admire them and want to follow and imitate their example.” Nguyen adds: “I would like to give them the gratitude in my heart. Their contributions gave us this school. We are grateful to help and build up the Mount.”

Nicole Patterson