Behind the Scene: Experiencing Sisters’ Life through Residency Program

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

After I finished my bachelor’s degree, I saw an article about a residency program for inquirers or discerners like me to stay and have a real experience with sisters.

– “Should I go or not go? How about my search for a job?” I debated back and forth.
– Well, just a few months with them would be like going for a long vacation. Why make it a big deal?

Finally, I decided to participate in the program and moved forward.

I lived with professed sisters from different stages of life as well as those who were learning to become sisters. They treated me as another member of that community. I signed up for cooking, did house chores, and was involved in other activities. Every week day, we came together to pray and went to Mass, then to work, volunteer, or study. In the evening, we ate and prayed together. After prayer, we stayed in the community room or went to our own rooms.

From the outside, life in the convent seemed very much routine and boring. But, I found that it was not what I thought or observed from the outside. The first week I moved in, the community spent about one hour each evening eating and chatting around the dining table. I thought to myself “Don’t these people have a lot of things to do besides talking like this? It wastes time!” Making this wrong judgment, I left the table while people were still talking.

Later, I realized that by spending time at the dining table, we shared our life stories from work and school, blessings, challenges and difficulties, good and bad news. We also laughed, joked and enjoyed multicultural food and traditions through the meals we cooked. Most of the time, after work, I was eager to head home because I knew that there would be something wonderful waiting for me to receive from this community. Opening the door, I could smell the food and hear laughter from the dining table. It replaced my tiredness right away. Gradually, I began to build up my trust with them, and learned sharing and listening skills as well as how to support and care for each other at a deeper level. All of these activities represented the images of living daily Eucharist.

Laughter and joyful moment can be spontaneous at any time even while washing dishes. Photo was taken at the Dominican Sisters of Peace House of Welcoming in New Haven, Connecticut.

We continued to carry life sharing from dinner table to washing dishes then to prayer time. When we prayed, we shared the word of God that touched and moved us. A lot of times, sharing around the dinner table and listening to the Word of God became interwoven. It was a such profound experience of how to live Scripture on a daily basis and how to bring the Word of God to life, right in the midst of our busy life.

All of this sharing connected me to the outside world as well as to my inner world. I must admit that without this Residency Program experience, my life may have turned in another direction. No words can express enough about my wonderful experience because it was “behind the scenes” and came from the love of God through the community.

If you want to experience living with our Sisters through our Residency Program, or if you want to have a conversation with a Sister about your vocation, you can text, email, or make a phone call to one of our Vocation Ministers. Click here for our contact information. We look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in God Calling??, News

4 responses to “Behind the Scene: Experiencing Sisters’ Life through Residency Program

  1. Have to agree with everyone who made a comment. It’s wonderful when someone “shares” their personal experience particularly when it started out “poorly” but ended wonderfully.

  2. Mai-Dung, i love both the concreteness and practicality of this blog as well as the depth of meaning you found in your experience of daily community life. Thanks so much for sharing your perspectives!

  3. Wonderful article, MaiDung! You are a great advertiser!!
    God bless. So glad I had a chance to live with you.

    Kathleen

  4. Thank you Mai for sharing your searching experience in another way that may help others to also try it.

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