Sister Maria Joseph
Lord, what do You want me to do?
I was born and raised in Vietnam. At the age of eighteen, I went to study abroad in America. Life in America in the early days were full of struggles and difficulties; God was the only friend that always accompanied me. About a year later, my aunt and uncle took me to visit the Sisters of Mary, Queen of Mercy in Lincoln to ask if I could join the congregation, but the Superior rejected our request because I was an international student. I left the convent with a discontented heart and intended to return to Vietnam hoping to join a convent there. After this initial rejection, I was hesitant and nervous to leave everything behind. As time passed I drifted into life’s whirlwind and the dream of joining the convent became more distant. In my mind, there was no concept of becoming a Sister anymore. I focused on my studies and hoped to become a successful person to help the poor, but God had different plans.
About three years later, one day while helping my nephew cut a water bottle, the knife slipped and cut the palm of my hand. I was in excruciating pain. At that moment, I thought of Jesus who died on the cross to redeem mankind and how He loved me very much. I got down on my knees and said, "God, what do you want me to do? I love You so much, with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my mind. Please open my mouth so that I can only praise You, speak of you and glorify your name.” From that moment on, I dedicated my life to God. I wanted to serve God completely and even death did not scare me. During this time frame, God showed me many signs. He knew my thoughts, and He was always by my side. As my love for God deepened, I prayed daily: "Lord, what do you want me to do for You?" I thought to myself: I cannot become a Sister because I am an international student. Once again, I decided to go to see the Superior of the Sisters of Mary Queen of Mercy with the sole purpose of discerning God’s will for my life. While driving, I asked the Holy Spirit to enlighten me to know what to say. I was determined to follow God’s will through the Superior’s words or decisions. I met the Superior and the first words I uttered were "Sister, I want to become a Sister." The Superior immediately replied, "Um, come and stay tomorrow." This time I came back and met with a new elected Superior.
I was very happy for I knew I will be closer to God to serve and love Him for the rest of my life. Everyone in the family saw how happy I was and thought I had a boyfriend, but I felt even happier than having a boyfriend. That joy could not be described in words. When people knew that I was going to become a Sister, nobody seemed to be very supportive because they thought I came to the United States to study. They were afraid that I couldn’t survive the convent life and would leave in a couple days and they would be very embarrassed. But I was confident in God’s will for my life, and I made the decision to enter the convent despite my family’s reservations. So, I entered the Congregation of Sisters of Mary, Queen of Mercy on August 15, 2014 on the Feast day of Mary’s Assumption.
When I was younger, I randomly selected a couple bible verses to live by: “You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever” (Psalm 16:1) and “Better one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere” (Psalm 84:11). I didn’t fully understand their meaning until I entered, and I thank God for calling me to the religious vocation and for inspiring me to respond to His call.
I also want to say a word of gratitude to the Sisters of Mary, Queen of Mercy for giving me the opportunity to respond to God's voice. God's love is a mystery! I can only live a humble life in the loving arms of God, Mary, and St. Joseph. I live my life according to God’s Will and every day I ask myself, "Lord, what do You want me to do?"
Sr. Maria Joseph Bui, CMRM