At the Catholic chaplaincy of Notre Dame University in Sydney, there is a classic drop-in centre where the students come in for an hour or so and then leave for another class. At the other end of the room in the glass panel office sits a Dominican Sister. She wears the crisp white veil and habit of the novice. Sydney is her old university.
- Catholic Weekly
She studied nursing here and graduated to work in a city hospital. Today she is friend and confidante to these students when they call in. She can relate to them and what they’re going through, she says.
“I used to be the one who was asking the deepest questions in my heart, ‘If God has mapped out a path for each of us, what is mine?’ ‘Why did God create me?’ ‘Who am I before God’?”
Today she is no longer that same person. “I have never been more free and at peace in my life,” she says. “I am the happiest I have ever been because I am doing God’s will.”
Today she has a new name: Sr Cecilia Rose.
As Cecilia Pham she grew up the eldest child of Vietnamese migrants in western Sydney, and, although she discourages the idea that her call to religious life was accompanied by anything as dramatic as “thunderbolts and lightning”, her parents’ devotion to Our Lady, which they passed on to her, is very much a catalyst in her vocation.
“When I was discerning what religious life meant I had this little statue of Our Lady and I went to a retreat where I made up my mind to entrust myself to Our Lady, and I took it very literally.
“I wrote ‘Me’ on a sticky note and I put it under the statue.”