The sisters of Vinh Long continue to demand justice
Asia-News7/13/2010
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In a letter, the superior of the religious sisters asks authorities to apologise for allegations that they had educated "a generation" to be counter-revolutionary and to ask for compensation for the destruction of their convent. After attempting to build a luxury hotel, the local People's Committee said that there will make a square with a garden.

Vinh Long (AsiaNews) - The Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres in Vinh Long show no signs of giving up. Every day they go to the spot where their convent, destroyed by the authorities, once stood (see photo) and pray to testify the wrongs they have suffered.

"The provincial authorities - writes the Superior, Sister Patrick de la Croix Huynh Thi Bich Ngoc - must rectify its mistakes consistent with the moral tradition of the nation." In a letter dated July 3 and directed "to any government office within the law of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, journalists and public figures," the nun asks the local authorities to apologize for the false accusations made against her congregation and compensation of 6,376,400 dollars for the illegal appropriation of a " a legal property of the Catholic Church belonging to the diocese of Vinh Long built since 1871 by generations of nuns "

The nun relates to the complex of 10,235 square meters, located at number 3 of Nguyen Truong Tô Street (Tô Thi Huynh Street), where, between 1871 and 1977, the sisters were committed to charitable activities, healthcare and educating children, including the disabled and orphans. On September 7, 1977, without any explanation, the military police attacked the Holy Cross College, and the Convent of St. Paul and seminary, arresting all who were there, including 17 nuns. Released a month later, the nuns were forced to return to villages where they were born.

Since the authorities have kept the property belonging to the religious sisters. Under resolution 1958 of the People's Committee, the convent and orphanage had been expropriated for use as a "children's hospital and provincial hospital”, which never happened.

In 2008, the local government authorised the Saigon-Vinh Long Travel Agency to build a four-star luxury hotel but it faced fierce protests of the sisters. The People’s Committee decided to build a public square with gardens instead.

In addition, local authorities falsely accused the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres of having used “the orphanage on Nguyên Truong Tô Street, a social institution belonging to a foreign religious congregation, built with foreign funds,” to “train young dropouts to create forces that oppose the Revolution and the liberation of the Vietnamese people”, an extreme accusation that could have cost the Sisters their lives.

However these threats have not stopped the sisters, who continue to go and pray at the sight where their convent stood. And now the letter from the Superior, which has created surprise in Catholic and even government circles.

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