Ministry > Social Work
I came to the United States in 1975 as a refugee; I am one of the boat people. As a Lovers of the Holy Cross Sister, I continue to live my religious life and carry on our Charism, brining God's love to others. Even though I was middle-aged, I started to learn English and study sociology to prepare for my new mission.
In the summer of 1985, I came to work at the Good Shepherd Center for homeless women in Los Angeles Diocese. This program is sponsored by Catholic Charities and consists of three residence homes: Emergency Shelter, called the Languille Residence, Transitional Hawkes Residence, and a Mother-Child Residence. We are also in tech process of constructing thirteen units for disabled women with children.
The homeless women whom we serve come from many nations: American, African, Canada, China, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, and others. We work and play together, learning the beauties of each culture and the charm of each individual. We are one team working for a common goal-building up the Mystical Body of Christ.
Serving in this multi-cultural program, I have faced a lot of challenges, but the most difficult has been the language. At first I was very nervous and afraid. I thought I would be unable to do the work because of my poor English. However, I remembered Sister Julia Mary Farley, the director of the Center, saying: "Sisters, do not worry, you will learn English as you continue to work here. our presence is more important. Your love and your smile count." With that affirmation, I felt confident and continued to work at the Center up to the present, nearly fifteen years later.
Now I see that the language barrier is still a difficult one for me, but it does not prevent me from working for the homeless with many different cultures and races. Love is a universal language. Everybody knows that. With the love of God within me, I can love and help them effectively in order to build up the Mystical Body of Christ. I am happy to have the opportunity to participate in this wonderful multicultural work. I feel that I am a missionary sent to the whole world here in Los Angeles, even though I only serve in this Center in Los Angeles.
I see the image of Christ in the face of each homeless woman, as she suffers and is rejected. A homeless woman who comes to us hopes deeply in her heart that she can find not only shelter, but love and healing from the pain that society has inflicted on her, and is seeking relief from the traumas of life.
I love my work here at Good Shepherd Center because I have the opportunity to love an serve God through ministering to the poor, the less fortunate, and those who are suffering. I can touch and share in their poverty and heal their broken hearts, and especially, it helps me to live out our Congregation's charism as it stated in the Lambertian spirituality: That is "Ministering in the heart of the Church; building up the Mystical Body of Christ in community and society while helping the local Church to establish a firm foundation. We join with priests and religious, native and foreign, to build all the faithful into a united, responsible, and mature people of God; and follow closely the spirit of the Gospel. We try to approach the people with an attitude of respect, gentleness, and humility; proclaiming the crucified Christ, not just by work but by a faithful ministry, giving testimony to the crucified One whom we proclaim." (Lambertian Spirituality 30a, 30b).
My ministry brings me a lot of joy when I think of what Jesus said, "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, and a stranger and you welcomed me" (Matthew 25:35). The happiness derived from my ministry has become, for me, an unexpected reward and overwhelming joy, as Jesus has assured: "I say to you, whatever you do for one of these least brothers and sisters of mine, you do for me." (Mt. 25:40).