Sisters Celebrate Jubilees – The Arlington Catholic Herald


25 years

Sr. Marie-Pauline BichLieu Nguyen

Adorers of the Holy Cross

Born: July 23, 1972, Nha Trang, Vietnam

First profession of vows: August 14, 1997

Perpetual profession of vows: July 19, 2003

Assignments: Fairfax and Portland, Oregon.

Current assignment: Fairfax

What attracted you to religious life? I had the desire to be religious since my youth. When I was in Vietnam, I had the opportunity to go in and out of the local convent for a youth choir retreat and Marian dance practices. The nuns were very kind to us. Their kindness, loving heart, smiles, and holy appearance sparked my young heart and curious mind. I once wished to be like them, and so I am one of them now.

What are your favorite hobbies, family or cultural traditions? I like all kinds of sports. I played football when I was in school in Vietnam. My other hobbies are playing musical instruments and fishing. My family likes to watch football and we like to watch a game together and analyze (or comment on) the game. I like Tet, or Vietnamese New Year, and its traditions such as decorations, fireworks, money lucky charm and the consumption of sticky rice.

Would you like to share one of your fondest memories of your time as a religious sister so far?

I worked in the cross-cultural psychiatry program at Oregon Health and Science University in Oregon. One day, I came home exhausted and couldn’t attend evening prayer with my sisters from the community. I was resting in my room and I heard my sisters singing the prayers. My room was not far from the chapel. My eyes were streaming with tears but my heart was grateful. At that moment, I realized that the benefit of living in community life is holy, blessed and reassuring. This recognition had comforted me so much, especially when I was physically incapable.

50 years

Sr. Lisbeth Cruz

Benedictine Sisters of Virginia

Born: November 3, 1950, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico

First profession of vows: June 23, 1972

Perpetual profession of vows: August 7, 1977

Missions: Prefect, teacher and business manager, Linton Hall School in Bristow; Counsellor, Benedictine Sisters

Current assignment: sales assistant, consultant

What attracted you to religious life? One of the things that drew me to religious life was the example of the Benedictine Sisters of Puerto Rico. I liked their way of living in community and their fidelity to common prayer. They really cared about us in high school.

What are your favorite hobbies, family or cultural traditions? Some of the things I like to do are listen to music, look out my bedroom window and enjoy nature. I also write to several friends on a weekly basis – not by email, but using the postal service. Somehow, my maps and notes seem to brighten up many lives, and that delights me.

Would you like to share one of your fondest memories of your time as a religious sister so far? A tradition that I love and remember fondly that we have in Puerto Rico is the celebration of the “Three Kings” on January 6th. The custom is to get some weed and put it in a shoebox under your bed. The grass is for the camels to eat, and the box is where the gifts are dropped off. Some time ago, I shared this tradition with four other sisters with whom I live. I didn’t think about it until I went to my room that night. I found four boxes with grass near my bedroom door. I was totally amazed and surprised. I then looked for something to put in each box as a gift. I will forever cherish this memory and the loving example of community care.

60 years

Sr. Patricia Anne Driscoll

Benedictine Sisters of Virginia

Born: January 26, 1943, Meadville, Pennsylvania.

First profession of vows: March 23, 1962

Perpetual profession of vows: March 18, 1967

Missions: teaching in Florida and Virginia at all levels, from Montessori early childhood to university; campus pastor, Saint Leo University and Central Florida University; school counselor, diocesan schools; adviser, Benedictine.

Current assignment: monastery service

What attracted you to religious life? My mother was primarily responsible for building a base of faith in my family of seven children. With this groundwork laid, the Benedictine Sisters who taught at the elementary school I attended, St. Martha’s School in Sarasota, Florida, formed my first interest in religious life. This initial call progressed further when I had the opportunity to attend Holy Name Academy, a boarding school for girls, in Saint Leo, Florida. The shared joy and care of these Benedictine Sisters and the quality of their teaching was remarkable as well as the love of God they shared so abundantly with all.

What are your favorite hobbies, family or cultural traditions? A love of learning, again first nurtured at home and then reinforced by the strength of the Benedictine tradition of scholarship, resulted in a wonderful camaraderie with books of all genres. My love of reading continues to enrich so many aspects of my religious life. Often, the ideas generated by reading translate into poetry, art, and written reflections in response.

Would you like to share one of your fondest memories of your time as a religious sister so far? During these aging years, fond memories continue to be generated as the shared life experiences of former students testify to the values ​​and faith they hold and cherish. So many good and faithful young people perpetuate the traditions of our faith and the Benedictine values ​​instilled by their quality education. The most vivid memories, however, should be of the individual women who have walked in community with me over these 60 years. Their love, care, patience, understanding and joy capture the message of the Gospel that we live day by day and continue to nourish that first weak call to religious life.

75 years old

Sr. Andrea Verchuck

Benedictine Sisters of Virginia

Born: May 26, 1929, Crabtree, Pennsylvania.

First profession of vows: March 19, 1947

Perpetual profession of vows: May 27, 1950

Assignments: teacher and principal of Catholic schools in the dioceses of Arlington and Richmond; prioress, sub-prioress and councillor, Benedictine Sisters.

Current assignment: monastery service

What attracted you to religious life? I was first attracted to religious life because my mother had the greatest respect for priests and sisters and spoke well of them. My mother’s prayer life also influenced me. While performing household chores, including kneading and baking bread, she sang softly from memory the Little Hours of the Blessed Virgin. I thought how good it was that a person could sing their prayers. Little did I know then that for more than 75 years I would recite or sing the Liturgy of the Hours as a Benedictine Sister. I knew very little about the life of a nun, having never attended a Catholic school, but I knew that the sisters lived a life of prayer. And the few sisters I met seemed so kind, sweet and caring.

What are your favorite hobbies, family or cultural traditions? My favorite pastimes are reading, assembling puzzles and sewing. I try to be of service to the sisters here by mending or making minor changes to their clothes.

Would you like to share one of your fondest memories of your time as a religious sister so far? One of my fondest and proudest memories goes back to the year 1980, when Benedictines all over the world celebrated the 1500th anniversary of the birth of the founder of our order, Saint Benedict. The four Benedictine monasteries of the DMV collaborated in organizing a regional celebration in Washington. We have invited Benedictine Cardinal Basil Hume, writer, Abbot and Archbishop of Westminster in England, to celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Cardinal Hume was a devout celebrant and an excellent homily. As part of our informal lunch at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Anselme, we were touched by the Cardinal’s humble Christian approach to all of us present.

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