Sr. Vich Saren: New FMA Novice in Cambodia

We are living an extraordinary period in contemporary history – that of the Covid 19 pandemic. This catastrophic moment has affected almost every aspect of life in the planet. Even the formation of the novices of the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco.

Take the case of Sr. Vich Saren Teresa. Normally she should be in the Philippines with her co-novices from different parts of Asia. They would all be in the Novitiate House of the Sisters in Canlubang, Laguna, a province near the city of Manila. But due to the pandemic, Sr. Saren, who made it to the novitiate after an extended postulancy here, could not get a flight back to the Philippines, like many other people wanting to travel.

Well and good, this gives us, especially the Salesian Family in Cambodia, a chance to know Sr. Saren more. She comes from Somroung  Village in Battambong Province where she was born on September 7, 1989. Her father is a farmer and her mother is a plain housewife and mother to six children, Saren being the third.
“I come from a family where we follow the Buddhist teachings. In fact, when we were yet small, we would sit down in the prescribed way after our dinner and listen to the sermon of the monk from the radio. Not only that, my parents are very faithful in the practice of their Buddhist faith; they go to the pagoda often,” Sr. Saren adds.

“In 2008, I came to stay with the Salesian Sisters in Battambong to continue my high school in the city. I was touched by the way the sisters lived and how they served the young. In 2009, I joined the catechism class in the parish and then I moved to Phnom Penh for my Teacher Training Course. After completing the catechism course in Phnom Penh I was baptized in 2012.

 “The reason why I joined the Salesian Sisters is because I felt the call to follow Jesus, and as a teacher at Don Bosco School in Teuk Thla, I loved more the mission of the Salesian Sisters in educating and helping to uplift the lives of poor young people. I felt an intimate call of God in this way, and I consider this ‘my first love!’

On one ocassion, during the Khmer New Year holidays, my family and relatives were gathered together for a celebration. Suddenly, there appeared a poorly-dressed young woman who looked just about 19 years old, carrying  her two sons -  one on her hip and the other in her arm. Both boys had no clothes on and she said that she was three months pregnant. She was asking for some money and food for her children and said her husbend was a drunkard. We helped her and when she left, I felt so disturbed in my heart, and a voice from within me was asking ‘what will happen to the children?’ Up to now, from time to time in my prayer, the picture of the three and this question flash back in my mind. And I believe that the voice asking ‘what will happen to the children?’ is God’s call for me.

I decided to respond to this call and joined the Salesian Sisters. I did my first fomative years in the Philippines and lately, on May 24th this year (2020), I was accepted as a novice. I feel I am so blessed by God  in calling me to follow Jesus as a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians.

The Provincial Superior of Cambodia-Myanmar, Sr. Jessica Salvana, looks after Sr. Saren’s studies and formation at the moment. She teaches her about Salesian Consecrated Life.

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