“The love of Christ urges me” (2 Cor 5, 14).
This motto is a foundation of my life’s behaviors and actions. God created me, Theresa Pham Thi Uyen Chi on 20 August, 1975 into a devout Catholic family. I learnt the basic catechism and went to Mass in the parish every day since I was very young. My family lived in Ho Chi Minh city, which is a large city with many poor and unemployed migrant people. I used to set aside a little money and food to give them, as well as talking with them - especially children and girls. I helped my older sister in the shop where the girls in prostitution came and bought their clothes. This gave me the chance to talk with them. I felt really touched by their dignity and their vulnerable situation. I had the desire to offer my life to God to serve those who were forced into prostitution and marginalization.
At that time there were many local religious congregations which had been established for about 100 years. These congregations are quite big with many houses and ministries to ensure a safe religious life. But these things did not satisfy me. I was still looking for the meaning of my life. In my aloneness I met a friend, who was a boarding student in the Good Shepherd convent, and I shared with her my desire. After this sharing, the loving and compassionate Good Shepherd images made a strong impression on me. The first image was when he left behind the ninety-nine sheep to look for the lost one. The second image was his simple and poor life style being with the flock to give them a feeling of safety and loving concern. From that day my heart was full of love for the Good Shepherd. The desire was confirmed after I got a Bachelor degree in Computer Programming and had some experience of part time work in a computer shop. I entered the Good Shepherd congregation in 2003, and made First Profession of Vows on 31 May, 2006.
I worked in the sewing class for two years and in the school as supervisor for one year. I made final vows on 10 August, 2012, and then worked in the hostel. I have been in charge of Sai Gon community in Ho Chi Minh city since 2014. There are 12 sisters in three houses for Theology study, hostel and elementary school, also three sewing classes. I am grateful to God for His great love which overcomes my weaknesses and limitations in leading the community to face the challenges, to build up relationships and to move forward for mission together. I feel a sense of joy, happiness and peace in living in the community.
‘A person is more precious than the whole world’ St. Mary Euphrasia
I love the Good Shepherd spirit and being attracted by these words. We do not serve the children and women only, but nowadays also we are concerned for the whole world, the environment and all creatures… Moreover the international spirit pushes us to update and see the signs of the times, to change ourselves, to take risks and to move on constantly. We build up healthy relationships among ourselves and all creation. I believe in the Holy Spirit who can use my little potential to do the useful things for mission.
Responding to an urgent plea, a team from Singapore planned and implemented the installation of a fresh water system in a Good Shepherd School in Ho Chi Minh city
In Ho Chi Minh City, the Sisters conduct a school for children who live with daunting and complex challenges. The resilience of the children is amazing
Comprehensive overview from the GSAPP team - how Good Shepherd Partnership for Mission is developing in this region
The Sisters are establishing a fruit and vegetable orchard to educate young people in ecology, to teach them agricultural skills and life skills