Wednesday, May 3, 2017
“Chúc Mừng Phục Sinh!” -that is, “Happy Easter!” in Vietnamese. I have been at the novitiate in Dalat Vietnam now for several weeks. Dalat is about an 8-hour bus ride north central from Saigon. It is situated in a mountainous area, where the climate is temperate rather than tropical. It's delightful being here with the cool temperatures and the abundance of a variety of flowering plants and pine forests.
In former days, Dalat was the resort town for the French colonists. You can still see the French influence by the architecture and the many gardens that can be found in the area. The novitiate has its share of beautiful gardens with a view of the surrounding mountains as well.
My days are spent with the community of novices in prayer, work, and some English classes. I have spent time doing all kinds of work that I have never done before! I have worked on the farm with planting, feeding rabbits, chickens, and pigs. The novitiate is largely supported by its various nurseries, which employ some 60 workers These are flower nurseries, whereby the flowers are sold to various businesses in the area. I am always amazed at everything the novices are able to do-- from building a hermitage by themselves to maintaining the grounds and novitiate buildings.
This Easter has been especially significant for me in that I renewed my vows at the novitiate here in Vietnam. It has caused me to reflect on how I have responded to the Lord's call. A lot of my response has been to let go of control and to surrender to what God has invited me to. I am truly thankful for the life-changing and life-giving experiences I have had so far a friar living here.
Br. James Seiffert is a temporary-professed friar with the St. Barbara Province. He currently is on a mission assignment, staying with the friars in Vietnam. Br. James joined the Franciscans in 2012 and made his first profession of vows in 2014. To read about his life journey prior to joining the Friars, go to http://sbvocations.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-faith-journey-of-br-james-seiffert.html
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