Please join in celebrating Sister Theresa Ðặng Ngọc Uyên-Chi, who has made her perpetual profession to God as a Handmaid of the Sacred Heart of Jesus this past August 13th, 2016. She has embarked on a lifelong commitment, a covenant and vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience which was bred from a culmination of years of discernment, reflection, prayer, study, work, and trust. Admittedly, days and events like this happen ever so rarely. For the USA Province of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, seventeen long years had come and gone since we have celebrated the perpetual profession of a new community member.
On October 15, 2006, Uyên-Chi entered the postulancy of the Handmaids. Three years later, she made first temporary vows, followed in 2012 by a renewal of temporary vows. In 2015, she began her tertianship, the final part of temporary profession, which generally lasts for six months and serves as a time of spiritual reflection, education, and cultural orientation. In that same year, in Martinez Campos, the house where St. Raphaela Mary lived and made her final profession, she again renewed her temporary vows for the last time. Sister Uyên-Chi tells of the struggle it sometimes can be as a young sister. She states that, “Religious life is an ongoing process. You have to live it – renew it – transform it – everyday.”
She credits her parents and her large family for creating the foundation that set her on the journey she has so passionately embraced. Sr. Uyên-Chi speaks of the “very large love” that was ever present in her family life. One need not look very far to find evidence supporting that claim. For as Uyên-Chi readied herself in the back of the church to profess her perpetual vows, her brothers, sisters, their spouses, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins – too many to count – were there in full measure. They hailed from North Carolina, New York, Texas, Virginia, and some as far as California. Walking down the aisle, she was escorted by her mother, Liên Ðặng, and Sister Belén Escauriaza, the Provincial Superior of the Handmaids, as she processed into the church. It was unmistakingly apparent that the woman who brought Uyên-Chi into this world was graciously and lovingly accompanying her daughter, giving her a mother’s blessing as she was about to join a new “family” of women religious.
Sr. Uyên-Chi describes her relationship as totally centered on Christ, relating that “if we are Christ-centered, we cannot afford to be angry or annoyed with others. On the contrary, we learn to love and accept the person as a gift from God, and try to discover the beauty that exists within each person. We are called to act with mercy and to look upon our broken world with hope.” This, too, is at the heart of a Handmaid, the ultimate desire to repair fractured relationships and mend a broken world.
To learn more about vocation with the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus please click here.