I was born in Vietnam during the final decade of the war. Concerned that the communist Vietnamese government would be oppressive, my parents made the difficult decision to leave their parents, siblings and their country to come to the United States with the hope of providing a better life and future for me. In June of 1975, at the end of the Vietnam War, I immigrated to the United States with my parents. I was ten years old.
Within the next 2 years, we became accepted into the Catholic Church. We had settled in Arkansas with the help of a family that had sponsored many immigrants to work in their saw mill. During the summer of 1976, our sponsoring family took us on a trip to Washington, D.C., to show us more of our new country. During this trip I began to see just how much God loved me and my parents. We were staying at a hotel in the area, when I decided to try out the pool. It was there that I almost died from drowning. I was rushed to the hospital where the medical staff worked to save my life. Although unconscious, I remember hearing my parents cry and how distraught they sounded. I remember pleading with God to please not let me die, because my parents had sacrificed so much to bring me to the United States, and they would be so lonely without me. My prayers were answered. I did recover, and I was so grateful that God heard my prayers. This was the beginning of my conversion to God and growing in my prayer life. I began to ask Jesus and his Mother for help in all kinds of situations for my family, my friends, and myself.
I grew up as an only child and always wanted to get married and have many children. I often prayed that God would guide me to meet a man who was strong in his faith and was kind to all. Once again, my prayers were answered. I came to the University of Dallas in 1984, and it was there that I met my future husband. I met this wonderful man in 1986, and we were married in 1990. During our 28 years of marriage, we have survived many challenges, including graduate school with very few resources. But even then, our faith never wavered as we believed God would provide for us through lean times with our young children. Through our love for God and for each other, we have grown so much in our own faith life. We have been able to instill in our children the truth that through the power of prayer, all things are possible. It continues to amaze my husband and I that our three oldest children are married to their college sweethearts, who all come from strong, faithful families. Our children and their spouses are now raising their own families with a strong sense of love for God through their prayers and devotions. Our unmarried children also seem to have a good grasp of their faith and love for God and Mary.
Throughout our marriage, many blessings have been given to our family, but the greatest blessing came into our life 9 years ago when our youngest child was born. She is a special child with Down syndrome, and she has been the extra ray of happiness for all of our family. Through her we have learned that God’s love is abundant and that he is merciful. Our Beatrice has taught our family to love everyone, and to love the ones that need the extra help the most. We believe that God is loving and merciful, and that through prayer and devotion to him, all things are possible.