Sister Lang Tran, SP
How is your job going at Providence Wee Care?
I’m working as an on call employee, about three to four days a week. I fill in for those who are on vacation. I also volunteer several days a week at Providence Child Center, working with the children at the Center for Medically Fragile Children.
I love children, and they seem to feel comfortable with me. It’s a gift from God for me to be able to work with them. I come from a big family, with seven children and many cousins who now live all over the world.
How did you come to America?
My family was from the north in Vietnam, where I was born. During the war we moved to Saigon, which is now called Ho Chi Minh City. My father was a soldier in the South Vietnamese army.
I took my first vows with a religious order, Adorers of the Holy Cross, at age 20 in Vietnam, and became a teacher at a Catholic school. However, after the war, the communists took over the school and it was very bad to live there. I was forced to work in the rice fields and got very sick.
Two of my brothers left Vietnam by boat, but there were many problems at sea and they ran out of food and water. Before they got to Malaysia, the older brother had died. He sacrificed himself by saving water to give to the younger brother, who later became a priest in Taiwan.
Eventually, I was able to move to France where a cousin was a priest. Then I came to the U.S., first to Virginia with a religious community, then to Spokane, Washington. Later, other family members joined us in America, including our parents.
Have you been back to Vietnam?
I have been back twice to Vietnam to visit with family members. The last time, in 2006, I saw my great aunt who turned 100 years old! She lived to be 104. Most of my family are doing OK but are poor.
There are now four Vietnamese Sisters of Providence, two novices and one candidate. Sister Karin Dufault [provincial superior] just went to Vietnam to meet them, as well as another woman who is interested in our community.
When did you become a Sister of Providence
In 2000 I joined the Sisters of Providence, and I hoped to return to teaching. However, I still did not know much English, and I needed to get a degree to be allowed to teach. The Sisters sent me to Gonzaga University to study early childhood education. It was very hard for me, but I was able to do it.
The reason I joined the Sisters community is because I was very drawn to their charism [gifts of spiritual grace]. We have a lot of compassion and solidarity with the poor. Also, Mother Joseph started many schools, and education is very important to the sisters.
Providence Wee Care is a great program. I learn from the teachers, and from the children!