The Mary Our Help Province (Cambodia-Myanmar) celebrates a unique event in the history of the Institute on Cambodian soil, amidst the raging Covid 19 in the world. On August 5th the Sisters and their Educating Community in Cambodia rejoice for the 1st Profession of Sr. Charlene Jiawen Chua, who is of Chinese origin from Singapore.
Sr. Charlene is the only girl in the middle of her two brothers. Even though her parents were not yet Catholics, they prayed for one year in the grotto of our Lady of Perpetual Help for a second child and Charlene’s life was the gift of their prayers. The whole family received Baptism on December 8, when Charlene was two years old. Ever since, they gradually grew stronger in their Catholic faith.
What is remarkable in the vocation story of Sr. Charlene is that, though the Salesian Sisters have no presence in Singapore, she was led by the Spirit to meet the FMA through her involvement with A Call to Share (ACTS) –Singapore, a group of lay volunteers who come to Cambodia and Myanmar annually to do mission work for one week. She first met the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco in her first ACTS mission trip in 2012 in Cambodia. It was in 2016, during her 7-month volunteer stint in Teuk Thla, Phnom Penh that she felt God calling her to the religious life. Certain of God’s call, she followed her heart and said her goodbyes. A very painful moment, a heart breaking detachment for her family, but God comes first as her parents surrendered whole heartedly to God’s plan and the noble choice of their only daughter.
Sr. Charlene did her formation in the Philippines in Canlubang, where as a group she learned to live, work and grow together as a family. After five intense years of assimilation of the Salesian spirit and impelled by the love of Christ (2 Cor 5:14), Sr. Charlene is ready to commit herself as a Salesian professed Sister.
In this year as her country celebrates 200 years of Catholicism, she is a gift to the Mary Our Help Cambodia-Myanmar Province and to the Institute. We accompany her with our prayers, that she, like Mary our Mother, may correspond to the boundless graces that God continuously lavishes upon her to be a sign of God’s love to all, especially the young.