Sr. Goretti joined the Good Shepherd sisters during the war. She happened to be working at a refugee camp in Hong Kong when Fr. Binh, as a 16 year old, came through the camp there.
Sr. Goretti has had a remarkable life and ministry. They are an international order and have sisters in Portland. They are best known for there work helping women escape the chains of prostitution. But the sisters are involved in many other works assisting the poor and we visited two locations in Saigon and gave a red envelope (with financial support from our parishes) for each of those works.
The first place we visited was a school for children who drop out of, or are kicked out of the public school system. Then we went to visit a home for unwed mothers. Those we met and their babies are from the North, are all Catholic, and were sent away from their families to give birth to their babies, often due to a lack of financial means. These women were happy to meet us and have us hold and bless their babies. They seemed so proud of their children. There are few things more delightful than playing with babies. Fr. Binh and I had a great time there.
After lunch at the Quang family home we went to the Airport to pick up Marty Quandt from St. Juan Diego Parish who will be traveling with us for a week in Vietnam. These coming days will be more “vacation” in nature. But I have to say that I am feeling very rested and inspired by the amazing Catholics I am meeting here.
We spent the evening on the opening night of Lunar New Year festivities downtown all gearing up for February 3 to usher in the “Year of the Cat”.
Meet the Quang Family, who have been my hosts this past week. From left to right: Phong (Fowm) 19, Ngoc (GNowc) 15, Hong (Howm) mother, Quang father, and Phu, 21. The children have done their best to speak English to me and Hong and I have been teaching each other simple expressions in each other’s language and laughing at our poor pronunciations. The shrine above our heads is very common in Catholic homes in Vietnam.
Sr. Goretti showing me one of the Classrooms at the Good Shepherd school.