Since 2010 the Daughters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary had been taking care of children of local fish farmers in the Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Dong Nai provinces, creating a dorm for them in a storage area of the convent.
Raising fish on river farms requires long and odd hours in an
environment that puts the kids at risk of mishap or drowning while
parents are focused on the fish.
With nowhere to turn, the farmers sought help from the sisters, but
operating the dormitory was dominating the sisters' time and resources
and keeping them from their pastoral ministries.
In May, Sr. Benigna
Nguyen Thuy Mien, head of the convent, decided they would have to close
the dorm in the fall and send its 26 students, ranging from first- to
ninth-graders, back to their families.
But then, in preparation for the shutdown, Mien and her sisters visited the fish farmers at their homes on the rivers.
"We cannot leave the students who really need our help," she concluded.