Career Passion and Appreciation Growing from the Inner Attitude

Blog by Sr. Mai-Dung Nguyen, OP
Blog by Sr. Mai-Dung Nguyen, OP

I used to think religious life was only a life of praying and serving people and certainly didn’t involve science.  But then, I accepted a job in the scientific research field as a research assistant three months before I entered religious life in 2000. Eight years later as a religious sister, I still worked in research and felt that research work was boring and wasted my time and energy.  I believed I should put my energy and time into helping people, and I felt guilty that I was not doing that.  Many times I wanted to quit doing research. I was like Jonah in the Bible trying not to be the messenger of God to the people of Nineveh (Jonah 1).

After a long discernment with the help of sisters in my community, I experienced a transformational moment.  With God’s grace, I felt free to accept the unknown future unfolding.  I became an engineer, specializing in biomedical research.

Through research, I have met God in nano and micro technology (one nanometer and one micrometer is approximately 80,000 – 100,000 and 80-100 times smaller than the size of our hair, respectively) and under the biomolecular level of life (ex. protein or DNA levels). Research was neither boring nor wasting my time as I had thought it would be.  It was my attitude toward research that prevented me from seeing the opportunity God was giving me. Under a different perspective of understanding and recognizing God, my bond with God became stronger.

God, in the scientific and technological field, has been waiting to unite with and transform me so that I may see the beauty of the research ministry.  I became more aware of the impact of research on the life of human beings and the universe. I began to love research under the eyes of God.  Every time I read a scientific article, I am inspired and filled with a deep gratitude toward God’s creation, even though I often encounter challenges from my research ministry.

I realized that being a religious person is not praying and serving our human species only, but being transformed in order to grow in unity with God through daily ministry, to search for the truth and see reality in God’s eyes with passion and appreciation.  Being a religious person involves entering an on-going discernment process in order to be open to God’s plan.  It is a blessed journey and calls us to trust in God’s providence.  For Scripture tells us, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

I am grateful for God’s revelation to us in various ways. With this appreciative mood, I invite you to consider joining the Dominican Sisters of Peace in serving and praising God with one voice for GOD IS THE CORE OF OUR CREATION. Amen!

Posted in God Calling?

10 responses to “Career Passion and Appreciation Growing from the Inner Attitude

  1. Thank you Mai-Dung for your thought provoking article. I know from our Rhine mystics trip that you are a profound spiritual thinker.

  2. What a gift you are to us! And what a gift your blog is! My writing is late, but not my appreciation of your struggle and of God’s revelation and grace to you. Would that we had more dedicated scientists to help further God’s mercy on this earth. My love and thanks to you and God for you, Martha

  3. What an insightful article. We need wonderful religious medical scientists like you in our world today. I am sure you are helping many people. Weren’t we lucky to have found you???? God bless. Sr. Kathleen

  4. As a scientist too, I know exactly what you are talking about, Mai-Dung. God has always been with us and more and more we realize it, sometimes only in nano and micro amounts. God wants billions and trillions amounts of love to and from us. Isn’t God wonderful?

  5. Thank you, Mai-Dung for sharing this inner attitude that helped you to stay in research which very much helps people in many ways. Without it we would still be in the
    “dark ages”. And that you are closer to God in all this, it is really inspiring. Sister Jolene Geier

  6. Mai-Dung,

    I am so grateful for your blog on “passion & appreciation”. To read of your transformation “on the job” and sharing your journey of growth in the process. You inspire me and give hope to future discerners and researchers.

  7. As usual, Mai-Dung says it right. I always love the way she can take these kinds of truths–and make others appreciate her perspectives. I certainly do and admire all she is and all she does for the cause of science and religious life. She excels in both. I am pleased to know Mai-Dung, Sister Diane Traffas

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