Incarnation Consecration Mission Sister My Pham began discerning a call to religious life in 1982. God called her to this vocation during a time of tremendous upheaval in her homeland of Vietnam. The communist regime in power was anti-religion and they also attempted to maintain power over the people by preventing them from meeting in groups – even if the purpose was prayer or faith formation.
As the Incarnation Consecration Mission community in Orlando was teaching First Communion and Confirmation classes to the Vietnamese community at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in College Park, Sr. Pham had secretly joined the underground ICM community in Vietnam. Under constant threat of capture and imprisonment by the communist government, Sr. Pham met once a month at the community’s house to learn and to pray together behind locked doors.
“You could not leave the shoes by the door [as was the custom] because the officers would count to see if unregistered people were at the house,” Sr. Pham recalls. “In our notebooks we could only write very simple things or in a code only you would understand in case it was taken. The government was scared of people getting together, that we will plan something against them.”
The women who attended the monthly gatherings would arrive and leave at different times to avoid suspicion from the government. They narrowly escaped discovery one evening by hiding in beds when an officer came knocking on the door. This method of instruction continued for ten years until Sr. Pham was resettled to America with her father, a prisoner of a communist re-education camp. She was finally able to join with the ICM community in Orlando in 1994 where she continues today to teach faith formation classes to Vietnamese children and work as a medical secretary.
“My family lived in a small, very poor town. Around me a lot of people needed help and I heard God call me to be in religious life to help the poor, to live among them, and to share with them,” explains Sr. Pham. “I trusted in God and I strongly heard God call me to help others. Even under control of the Communist rule, I believed that God was always with me to protect me.”