St. Joseph Discalced Carmelite Monastery of Kontum aims to evangelize among ethnic communities in the Central Highlands
Bishop Aloisius Nguyen Hung Vi of Kontum and Discalced Carmelite nuns pose for a photo on June 7. (Photo: giaophankontum.com)
A new monastery for Discalced Carmelite nuns has been established in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, marking the growth of contemplative life in hard times.
On June 7, Bishop Aloisius Nguyen Hung Vi of Kontum officially founded St. Joseph Discalced Carmelite Monastery of Kontum based in Chu Pah district of Gia Lai province. Present at the special ceremony were 15 priests and many people including Carmelites from other places.
Bishop Vi called on participants to express heartfelt gratitude to God for giving numerous graces to them, especially local Discalced Carmelites who are chosen among small, humble and weak women.
He said this is truly mysticity and divine predestination as God arranges a vocation or path for each person.
Noting that praying occupies a crucial role in Christians' faith life, the 70-year-old prelate said: “The ascetic life with constant prayer and silent sacrifice is definitely like breath and lungs to bring God's blessings to Kontum Diocese. The monastery serves as a heart of prayer giving vitality to the local Church."
The local Church is happy to have Discalced Carmelite nuns who walk with and pray for its pastoral needs, especially evangelization work, he added.
The 90-year-old diocese covering the provinces of Kon Tum and Gia Lai needs many priests and nuns to serve ethnic villagers
The prelate said he hopes the youngest monastery in his diocese will grow steadily and the Church also benefits from Carmelites' prayers and sacrifices.
Bishop Vi gave special thanks to the Discalced Carmelites Monastery of Sai Gon based in Ho Chi Minh City who generously shared its staff and provided emotional and material support to the new monastery for the past few years. He also gave sincere thanks to those who worked hard for the new monastery to be in the diocese.
The 90-year-old diocese covering the provinces of Kon Tum and Gia Lai needs many priests and nuns to serve ethnic villagers.
At the invitation of Emeritus Bishop Michael Hoang Duc Oanh of Kontum, a group of Carmelites from Ho Chi Minh City came to stay in the compound of the Bishop's House in Kontum city in 2006. Bishop Oanh bought a plot of land in Hoa Phu Parish in Gia Lai province, and the construction of the new monastery began. The nuns moved to the unfinished building the following year.
Soon after that, they returned to their home in Ho Chi Minh City and did not move to Kontum until 2017, when the new facilities were completed and blessed by Bishop Vi.
The new monastery with 11 professed sisters and four novices was approved on March 14 by the Rome-based Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
With the inauguration of the chapel, the monastery would enter a new developmental stage and maturity after more than two decades experiencing difficulties
The diocese said the new chapel, which started construction in 2016, would be the heart of the monastery to pray, contemplate and attend daily Mass. The monastery serves as a new lung full of vitality to provide fresh air for the diocese to be in peace and grow according to God’s will.
With the inauguration of the chapel, the monastery would enter a new developmental stage and maturity after more than two decades experiencing difficulties.
In 2000, the late Bishop Nicolas Huynh Van Nghi of Phan Thiet invited Carmelite nuns from Ho Chi Minh City to work in the diocese. The nuns had problems with the government for years and had to return to their home. They started to work at the new facilities years ago.
Since the first Discalced Carmelite nuns from France landed in Sai Gon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in 1862, Vietnam has had 11 monasteries with some 300 members.
Discalced Carmelite nuns live in cloistered monasteries and make a commitment to contemplation, simplicity and community.
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