A nun feeds a child at Love Home of Huong La.
Sister Anna Nguyen Thi Dinh is superior of the Daughters of Mary of Unity institute in the Luong Tai district of Bac Ninh province. “We’re happy to look after the children, because they’re images of Jesus,” says Sister Anna Nguyen Thi Dinh. “When we serve them, we’re meeting and serving Jesus.” There, 12 sisters look after 23 children with severe physical and mental disabilities, as well as two elderly people without relatives. “We give them lots of tender loving care,” says Sister Anna Nguyen Thi Truc, who has worked at the home for 15 years. But while the atmosphere is loving, the challenges are by no means easy. “Most of the children suffer complete paralysis,” she says. “They lose consciousness and absolute control of their bodies and go into convulsions.” “It’s difficult feeding and washing the children,” adds Sister Dinh, “because they cry loudly or go into convulsions all the time. Sometimes sisters only sleep one hour a day.” As well as looking after their charges, the nuns also have to find time to grow rice and vegetables and farm fish, so they can earn a living and support the home. The children come from a variety of places and circumstances, most of them desperate. Some are abandoned on the streets or in cemeteries, some are found wandering aimlessly, while some are handed over by parents who can not afford them. The home was a Church-run orphanage, housing 100 orphans and children with physical disabilities. It was closed in 1954 and fell into disrepair, but was then restored by the local Church in 1999. It has been caring for children with physical disabilities since 2002. The sisters all come from the Daughters of Mary of Unity institute, which was established in 1998. The institute’s 300 nuns give health care, faith education and accommodation to poor people and unmarried pregnant women. Related reports: Nuns work hard to support poor