Following their vows: Lovers of the Holy Cross sisters renew vows
ARLINGTON — When religious women make vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, they can’t be certain where those vows will take them.
Nine sisters from the Lovers of the Holy Cross religious order made their initial profession of vows at their mother house in Vietnam. When they renewed their vows, they were 8,600 miles away.
These sisters are studying theology in the United States.
The renewal of vows was witnessed by the congregation at the 10 a.m. Mass at Vietnamese Martyrs Parish in Arlington on August 11. Ten other sisters from the order were present, including Sister Maria Ho Thi Quy, who recently finished a four-year term as general superior for the Lovers of the Holy Cross and represented the current general superior.
Sister Maria was especially pleased to attend the renewal of vows. When she was the general superior, four of the women had made their initial vows with her, placing their hands in hers. After the renewal, Sister Maria said, “I am very happy because I see all our young sisters are faithful to their call of following Jesus Christ.”
The religious women of Lovers of the Holy Cross typically renew their vows each year until they take their final vows, typically six or more years after joining the order.
In Vietnam, the renewal of vows is “very simple,” according to Sister Theresa Tran, LHC, who oversees religious education at Vietnamese Martyrs Parish along with Sister Maria Chu, LHC. With more than 1,200 sisters living in community there, about 200 religious women renew their vows each year, so the religious women kneel and recite their vows together.
The renewal in Arlington was much different.
The renewal of vows here was an opportunity to bring awareness and increase understanding of the vocation of religious life, said Sr. Theresa. In her two years at the Arlington parish, she has observed that many young people are not familiar with religious sisters.
Not only was the renewal held during a Sunday Mass, but a reception was held afterwards. The sisters delighted the crowd at the gathering by performing three dances representing joy, God’s love, and God’s strength.
“Living our spiritual vows is not easy, but we try every day,” said Sr. Theresa, who took her final vows in 2013. “I trust in God and believe in God’s providence. He has a plan for me.”