Sisters make final vows in Vietnam and Senegal

Two former international students who came to the Mid-North America Province Center while learning English as a second language made final vows recently in their home countries.

Magdalen Bui pronounced her vows on December 16, 2020, in East Asia Province, Vietnam Sector. She came to St. Louis from the East Asia, Vietnam Sector on July 19, 2017. She returned to her Province on May 30, 2018. Sister Emilie Mane Ngom made final vows in Senegal on December 19, 2020. She came to St. Louis from the West Africa Province on April 2, 2018. She returned to Senegal in July, 2019. Both Sisters were Temporary Vowed Sisters during their stay in the United States.

Sister Virginia Gordon served as Directress of Good Shepherd International Students at ELS (English Language School) for both of them. She was also the liaison with ELS concerning their studies and all related matters.

“It was a delight to work with Magdalen and Emilie. In our studies together we covered matters pertaining to English. We also discussed Congregational heritage encompassing our spirituality and charism. We accomplished this through dialogue and sharing, as well as grappling with the English language,” Sister Virginia said.

“Through this dialogue, I learned about the cultures of Vietnam and Senegal. I learned how the Good Shepherd heritage and charism are expressed in their native languages of Vietnamese and French. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with these Temporary Vowed Sisters. And I feel blessed to have continued our relationship since they left the United States,” said Sr. Virginia.

As Magdalen and Emilie progressed in English, Sr. Mary Carolyn McQuaid began helping them prepare for final vows.

Magdalen Bui

final vows
Magdalen Bui (right) and her biological sister Myriam Theresa Bui took their final vows together on December 16, 2020.

Sister Magdalen made final vows with two other Good Shepherd Sisters in Vinh Long, Vietnam. Vinh Long is the place where Good Shepherd Sisters first located when they started missions again in Vietnam after being forced to leave the country during the Vietnam Conflict.

Magdalen expected to take her final vows on March 19, 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic emerged and the ceremony was postponed. Two other Sisters were scheduled to take their final vows on December 16. One of the Sisters was Magdalen’s older sibling Myriam Theresa Bui. The other Sister was Maria Angela Van. Magdalen was asked to join their ceremony.

“Thanks be to God for all His graces towards me and my family for allowing my sister and me to pronounce our final vows on the same day,” Sr. Magdalen said.

“I am grateful for all of the people who have accompanied me in religious life. I am grateful for all of the experiences in my formation, including the people and experience in the Province of Mid-North America,” she said.

“I feel deep joy and the love of the Congregation, Sisters, family members, friends and those who know me and prayed for me. This day will always be such a great memory for me to remember. Gratitude is printed in my heart,” Sr. Magdalen said.

The Vietnam sector is in transition at the moment with the transfer of new leadership. In the meantime, Sr. Magdalen will support her community and follow a study program as her main mission this year.

Magdalen was welcomed as the first international student from Vietnam when she came to the Mid-North America province in 2017.

Emilie Mane Ngom

final vows
L-R: Emilie Mane Ngom with Sr. Magdalena Franciscus, who traveled from Rome to receive Emilie’s vows.

Sister Emilie made final vows in the church Saint Andre in Mbour, Senegal. Nearly 300 friends and family attended the ceremony on December 19, 2020.

As is customary on a wedding day in Senegal, Emilie wore red beads to symbolize her new status as the bride of Christ. In Senegalese culture, the beads are a gift to the bride from her family and signify fidelity in a marriage; in Emilie’s case, fidelity is to God and God’s Word. The beads also showcase the joy the bride and her family feel for the celebratory day.

“My family is my strength. They sustain and pray for me. They all cried during the celebration because they were deeply touched by it. My family kept saying to me that they were so proud of me,” Sr. Emilie said.

Emilie went on to say, “For nine years I have been learning to let Jesus live in me and teach me how to express his love and tenderness. I feel loved by Jesus and was grateful to be able to say ‘Yes’ to Him forever when I took my final vows. I am so happy to be a member of this big Good Shepherd family with our great and passionate charism,” she said.

Emilie will now enroll in the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegal’s capital city Dakar, where she will study psychology.

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Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette is the Communications Coordinator for Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America. She is a career photojournalist who has served in various capacities of print, broadcast, and corporate communications. Jeanette is devoted to creation and is particularly focused on saving pollinators and other wildlife species and their habitat. She is an ethical vegan and created the website veganstoryteller.com