A Vietnam Story

Following Phillip’s sermons on Thích Nhất Hạnh’s Living Buddha, Living Christ, Phillip Scanlan (a member from our Fernandina branch) shared a touching story from his time in Vietnam. Check it out!

A Vietnam Story

Following Phillip’s sermons on Thích Nhất Hạnh’s Living Buddha, Living Christ, Phillip Scanlan (a member from our Fernandina branch) shared this touching story from his time in Vietnam:

I worked with a Catholic Vietnamese nun, Sister Imelda, in 1968. She seemed to me to be living the Thích principles.

In 1968 as a junior Army Communications Officer in Nha Trang, Vietnam, I had my company adopt Sister Imelda’s local Catholic orphanage. My company — young men — wrote letters and got donations from their churches back home. They donated every month from their paychecks, and some worked with me at the orphanage on their one day off-duty each week. I named my first daughter after Sister Imelda that ran the orphanage, who I considered a Saint.

That experience at age twenty-four, of working with Sister Imelda, affected my whole life in a very positive way. It is a surprise to most that I was affected in a positive way (Thanks to Sister Imelda) from a year in Vietnam where I was almost killed several times.

Coincidentally both Thích and I returned to Vietnam Nam in 2005, both with a religious connection to our trip. On my trip I resolved to find Sister Imelda — if possible. The only Catholic Sister named Imelda was in a Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) Convent. She had been made speechless from a heart attack and no one knew where she had come from or what she had done. The Communists after they won the war eliminated the ability of Catholics in the South to influence children, by eliminating Catholic schools and orphanages. The French brought Catholics to Vietnam and the Communists felt that The Catholic Religion was anti-communist and one cause of the North-South war that started with the the French occupation.

I visited the Sister Imelda in the Saigon Convent and when I arrived late morning she was still in bed asleep. They woke her up to meet me. I had trouble recognizing her — and her me — after 37 years. However, I had brought a photo album of photos taken of the children in the Nha Trang orphanage in 1968, including photos of both of us with the children. We turned the pages of the photo album for her and after a few pages she looked up at me and smiled — she was “my” Sister Imelda!

I was asked to come back the next day by Sister Jeanne who ran the Convent — so they could prepare for a good visit. The next day we had a celebration — tea, cookies, children singing, all the Convent members present, and we recognized Sister Imelda for her caring for the children at the Nha Trang orphanage during the war. Because the orphanage had been destroyed by the Communist after the war there was no other record of Sister Imelda’s good work and dedication to the orphan children than the photo album I had brought back — 37 years later. The album also included a very nice letter from my daughter, Maureen Imelda Scanlan, on how proud she was of her name and how thankful she was for the very positive influence Sister Imelda had on her father during a time of war. That letter was read aloud for all to hear at the recognition celebration for Sister Imelda.

After my visit I communicated by mail and email with Sister Jeanne and Sister Imelda. After the 2005 visit and recognition celebration Sister Imelda’s remaining “quality of life” was much improved by more supportive contacts with all who now recognized that she was a war time hero serving orphans.

I have tried during my life to live up to the example provided to me at age twenty-four by having the opportunity to work with Sister Imelda for a year at her orphanage in Vietnam — she seemed to be living the fourteen principles of Thích. A year working with someone living those principles, at a young age, has an impact.


95% of the lives lost in Vietnam were Vietnamese. The US lost 58,600 — each name on the Vietnam Memorial — of 1,313,000 total lives lost from 1964 to 1975.

 

News from Our Partner Church

It’s been confirmed! Marta Zsemberovszsky has notified us that Levente Fazes and his wife, Angela, will be visiting us this fall from October 13th — 23rd. We will be meeting to plan events and activities for them to enjoy during their stay with us. This is a great opportunity to return the wonderful hospitality shown to UU’s when we visited them in Bozod, Romania. More to come!

 

Green Sanctuary Meeting

Sunday, June 25th (12:30 Fletcher Room)

All are welcome to attend our quarterly Green Sanctuary group meeting. This is the group that works on the environmental efforts of UUCJ so that we may continue to live out our 7th Principle and keep our “Green Sanctuary” designation.

Need Co-Chair on Building & Grounds Committee

Chris Lippincott is resigning as Building & Grounds chairman after 7 years of service In that position. The co-chair, Rob McKennon, will become the chairperson and will need a co-chair.  This is an opportunity to be of service to our beloved community and be an important part of caring for our building and grounds.  Chris will continue to be a volunteer and help as needed.

Our Gang for June

Our Gang will visit the Cummer on Wednesday June 28. Please meet in the cafe by 10:50. At 11:00 we’ll visit their current exhibit – Ink, Silk & Gold – Islamic Art, followed by lunch in the cafe at noon. Admission is free for members, $6.00 for non-members. Let me know if you’re planning to attend (but feel free to drop by without notification). Call Leisla Sanson Leisla 904-745-7803 if question

Arlington Food Bank Update

We are on pace to donate 1500 pounds of foodstuffs by June 30.  We are currently at 1440 pounds as of June 12 delivery to ACS Food Bank.

If we keep this pace, we can make 3,000 pounds by December 31.  We did little over 2,000 last year and that required a last minute run to BJ’s.  Keep up the good work and thanks for your generosity to those in need.

Greeter & Usher Training

June 25Th @ 12:30 in the Chapel

Interaction with Greeters and Ushers is one of the most important experiences for guests and visitors. If you are interested in joining this vital ministry, please plan to join us for training. Any questions contact Janine Leland – j9leland@bellsouth.net

Special Collection for June

The special collection for June 11 will go to the UUCJ Foundation Endowment Fund. Our Endowment has been created by forward-looking members and friends who have given long-term gifts to provide permanent financial support for UUCJ’s mission. The Foundation gives 4% of the fund’s assets annually to the church and over the years has contributed $500,000 to UUCJ. Every week we give to support our current expenses. This one time we are asking for gifts for our future health and growth. Please make your check payable to UUCEF and write Jacksonville Endowment in the subject line.