Reverend Bernard Maria Bùi Khải Hoàn, CRM (1919 - 2006)
A Loving Father
Even though Father Bernard was revered as the Founder of the Congregation, he was always friendly and loving towards the Sisters, as a father amongst his little children. Because of this, the Sisters still often call him "Bố," or "Dad" in English, a common term however used very dearly among them. With a heart of a father and a mother, Father Bernard lovingly guided and taught his children everything he knew, from life in general, along with topics on the spiritual life and in the charism of the Congregation. He wanted to form the Sisters to first, become a fully mature person, second, an authentic Christian, then a true consecrated religious, and finally, a saint.
In his spiritual life, Father Bernard expressed his outstanding devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and his special devotion towards the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. He wanted his little children to have these special devotions in their hearts as he did, and laid it out for them through his conferences, teachings, and especially by his life, an exemplary model to all. His greatest aspiration was for all his Sisters to become saints, and he constantly encouraged them to enter "the narrow gate," according to the spirit of the Gospel. At the same time, he never hesitated to correct his children if they have wandered down the wrong path away from their goal.
A Virtuous Life
Father Bernard has left a profound impact on each Sister's religious life. His life was a great role model to all. The one thing that he articulated throughout his whole life was his obedience to God's will. He held God's will as the highest desire of his life, and he often asserted that obedience to God's will was the perfection of confidence and trust in God. During his last days on earth, he showed great obedience in everything, even to the Sisters who took care of him.
One of Father Bernard's qualities that stood out was his joyful personality. He always had a smile on his face and big laugh for all to hear. Everyone loved coming to him; if they were feeling down, they would only have to go talk to him for a bit, and they would leave feeling refreshed and uplifted again, thanks to his humorous stories and sayings. One Sister pointed out that his joyous attitude reflects his trust and confidence in God, everything he does, he does with joy, knowing that God provides.
Father Bernard was zealous in living out the charism that he gave to the Sisters. With his great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which led him to place her as Mother Superior of the Congregation and consecrate the community to her, he courageously led the Sisters in the charism of the spiritual childhood, to live as a little child in the arms of Mary, our Mother. He himself lived this spirit out throughout his life.
"I have competed well, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7)
After 52 years of guiding and forming the Sisters of Mary Queen and the Sisters of Mary, Queen of Mercy, Father Bernard Maria rested in God on February 3rd, 2006 at the age of 87. He had been in the priesthood for 59 years and consecrated in the religious life for 52 years.
Although Father Bernard is no longer present among his children today, his spirit and path to holiness of childlike trust in God is still working among them as they walk this journey on earth to their Heavenly Home.
for Reverend Bernard Maria Bùi Khải Hoàn, CRM