Sister Anna Tran: The needs of Vietnamese immigrants are different
I am Sister Anna Tran. I am a member of the Sisters of Christian Charity. I’m working as a pastoral assistant for the Vietnamese community at Visitation Parish. I have lived in Philadelphia for seven years. I am an immigrant and came to U.S in 1992 with my family.
The needs of Vietnamese immigrants are very different than those of Latino immigrants. In my understanding, most of us came to this country freely and under different circumstances. I myself came to this country with my family, with documentation, because my dad was an officer [who fought with Americans] during the Vietnam war.
Since I came to Philadelphia, and in my work at Visitation, the needs that I am most concerned with in the Vietnamese community, are those of the elderly who are without without family; young children from broken families, and those who have been neglected.
The people I minister to here in Kensington came to this country under such different circumstances than the children being separated from their families at the border. The adults have no knowledge about the mistreatment of children in detention centers, because they only speak Vietnamese. Some may speak a little English to survive in their jobs. But they know nothing about the separations at the border. The priest and I tell them about what is happening, and we ask them to pray for the families.
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The NSM campaign that really touched my heart
I joined with the New Sanctuary Movement community to support and pray for those who are less fortunate than me. The NSM campaign that really touched my heart was the campaign to free Angela from her deportation order few years ago. I joined Father John, many priests, reverends, sisters, and neighbors to pray, to advocate and to support Angela. Being a part of that made me pay more attention to different cultures, races, and ethic groups.
Many of my order's sisters are working with the immigrant community in New Jersey. Because of what has been going on in recent years, the most pressing need — particularly in Philadelphia and some cities in other states — is to tend to those immigrants who do not have documentation.
My intention during this fast was to pray for peace and justice
My intention during this fast was to pray for peace and justice in this country, especially for those who are less fortunate than me. For those who need a way to become citizens of this country, those who need a home to live in, those who need family and food to eat. I also prayed for governments who have the authority to take care of the poor, so they would change their minds to take care of the poor no matter what.
Since we do not have any feast days coming up, this fast became spiritual for me — because it gave me a great opportunity to make a mini-retreat for myself. On my fast day, I reflected on what I have done, and paid attention to things that I need to change, and asked for the grace to be open so that I can live better.
I love to cook, but I’m not a big eater, so I did not prepare or eat anything special after that fast day. I simply joined with my sisters in the convent to have a meal together.