WATERVILLE---The Servants of the Blessed Sacrament celebrated a special moment in the life of the community on Saturday, December 9, 2023, when the Waterville sisters, formerly part of the American province, became part of the Province of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in Vietnam.
“This is a blessing to us,” said Sister Josephine Roney, SSS.
The two communities have been journeying together for a number of years, with sisters from Waterville first supporting the younger province in Vietnam and more recently with the Vietnamese sisters coming to the aid of the aging sisters here. The first Vietnamese sisters arrived in Waterville about seven years ago.
“It’s about 30 years since they were joined to our community, and now, it is going the other way. Isn’t that wonderful?” said Sister Catherine Marie Caron, SSS. “It’s the continuation of the mission here in Waterville and for the diocese. It’s the continuation of our mission of adoration. We haven’t had vocations in recent years, American vocations, but our sisters in Vietnamese are still having vocations. They still have nice-sized families, so they are having vocations.”
“I am so happy to be here for this occasion, to greet you and to thank you for your confidence in the Province of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament in Vietnam to continue the mission of this eucharistic cenacle of prayer here in Waterville,” said Sister Giulia Bich Dung Phan, SSS, the provincial of the community.
The new chapter in the life of the community was commemorated with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert Deeley at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in Waterville, where the sisters have lived and adored the Lord for the past 75 years.
“What a blessing their presence has been. The warmth and welcome of their smiles and their gracious kindness have been a wonderful addition to the beautiful hospitality that the sisters in this house have shown since their arrival in Waterville in 1947. In our prayer today, we can lift up all the sisters who will live here in this house. May their assistance to each other continue to foster the spirit of prayer which is the hallmark of this community. Those of us who visit this house treasure the welcome we receive here,” the bishop said.
The Mass was celebrated on the 61st anniversary of the canonization of Father Peter Julian Eymard, who founded the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament in France in 1858. Father Eymard dedicated his life to the Eucharist, calling it “the great mystery of our faith to which all Catholic truths lead.”
“He said the answer to the cold and the indifference of our times is really the fire of the Eucharist,” said Sister Marie Catherine. “I still believe that. I still believe that the Eucharist is the answer because it’s the presence of Christ in the world among us. It’s his way to be close to us.”
While the sisters no longer offer perpetual adoration as they once did, their chapel is still open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., for anyone who wants to stop by and spend time with the Lord.
“You know that they are always going to be open for adoration and just for a visit or, if you’re driving by, to just stop by and say hello to the Lord and recharge your batteries,” said Tom Couture of Sidney.
“We, as a community, have come to grow and love being able to be in the presence of God any day of the week,” says Kay Spofford of Winslow. “We can just come and sit quietly in his presence and just incorporate his love into our life in a very special way.”
Now, thanks to the presence of the Vietnamese sisters, that opportunity will remain.