Pentecost Sunday with Reaffirmation of Vows for Elisabeth Nguyen, OP Preaching by Sister Patricia Harvat, OP June 5, 2022 The Gospel narratives were written upon the historical memory of the times. Luke in particular would weave into the evangelical story the reality of what was happening historically at the time, whether it was the story of the Incarnation or the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. So today for our reflection I would like to frame it around the historical memory of St. Dominic and Elisabeth and the reality of reaffirming one’s religious vows. It was on Pentecost Sunday, May 14, 1217, when St. Dominic convened a Chapter at the Church of St. Romain in Toulouse and announced, small as they were in number, he was sending the friars out into the world. Make no mistake, Dominic was imbued with the fire of the Holy Spirit to send the friars out to praise, to bless and to preach the Word that embodied the Holy Spirit. Just as the disciples were gathered in the upper room the Dominican friars were gathered in the upper room in Toulouse and Dominic unlocked the doors for the Holy Spirit to lead them into new adventures. For Elisabeth the call from her upper room in Vietnam to America happened in 1967. Catholic Chaplain Angelo Charles Liteky, stationed at the army base in Long Binh, contacted his elementary teacher Sister Matthew Ann living in Adrian to ask if there were four scholarships available for four Vietnamese Dominicans to study. Elisabeth was one of those sisters. As the Holy Spirit led Elisabeth from her upper room she wrote, “I had never been out of the country before and to go abroad for school, that sounded so foreign to me.” August 28, 1968 the four sisters departed for Adrian, Michigan. Sister Rosemary Ferguson and her Council and the sisters welcomed the Vietnamese Dominicans with much joy and enthusiasm. They joined the junior professed sisters living at Weber under the supervision of Shirley Cushing. They lived, prayed and studied with the Mary Mother of Faith Crowd, of which Sister Pat Siemen was a member, and interfaced with the Mary Mother of Hope Crowd, which was my crowd while the sisters studied at Siena. April 30 of 1975 the South Vietnamese government collapsed and 135,000 refugees were brought to the U.S. Elisabeth’s family was part of that group. This is when Elisabeth’s work of resettling the Vietnamese and other refugees from all over the world brought her to this upper room for many years. The Spirit moved in Elisabeth’s heart to become an Associate and her life continued to be lived beside us. How appropriate that at our Encuentro gathering of three years ago, Shirley Cushing led Elisabeth over to greet Pat Siemen and Pat asked Elisabeth, “When are you going to come home?” The Holy Spirit took hold of Elisabeth in this upper room of nearly 50 years unlocking the doors for her to reaffirm her vows with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. The words of the song Gift of Love that Elisabeth chose for our mass today expresses the significance of the vows Elisabeth will profess: “Where the ancient days, you had chosen me as your torch of light and love throughout the world. What return could I make with my life O God, may I love as you have loved.” Thank you, Elisabeth, for “coming home” and for unlocking the doors of our upper room, where we gather, huddled together with all of our emotions in these troubled times, waiting for the Advocate. Thank you for reminding us of our own love story and to fall in love again with the God of light, fire and warmth, our Comforter who alone is our inheritance and joy and to enable us to believe in the amazing things that await us beyond these locked doors!