Houston, Texas – In just a few days, the population of Da Minh Convent in Houston, Texas, has increased more than 3 folds. The convent which housed 50 nuns received more than 100 refugees, victims of Katrina Hurricane. More are still coming.
Sister Hang Pham said: “Since Monday, while the news of Katrina came to us, Da Minh Convent still didn’t know how we could help. But then, from Saigon Houston Radio, we heard that Hong Kong 4 shopping mall is the place where refugees are coming looking to for help.”
“The first few days, Vietnamese arrived to Houston not knowing where to stay. Some were sleeping in their cars and others sleeping on the sidewalks. So we, along with other organizations, offered some to come to our convent.” Sister Pham laughed: “But don’t worry, we are not asking them to convert!”
According to Sister Theresa, there are now more than 200 people signing up to stay at the convent. More than 100 are now living in the convent’s recreation room. A few more, “are coming once their motel stays run out.”
Nguoi Viet reporter s arrived to Da Minh at noon and found that Sister Lucie Luong was taking care 36 children, “from New Orleans,” taking them to school. According to Sister Theresa, these children are ranging from 2nd to 9th grade.
Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Houston has ordered that all Catholic schools in Houston must open their doors to students fleeing from Mississippi and Louisiana. Sister Theresa said: “you see, it’s very peaceful here. Since the kids are sent to school.” Then she laughed: If they weren’t, it would have been a wild place here.”
Lunch at the Da Minh Convent was very good, with the nuns taking turns cooking and serving, and the refugees doing some barbequing. Vietnamese refugees form New Orleans also made some Vietnamese food, like pickled eggplants and caramel catfish.
Talking with Sang Nguyen who is taking refuge here, he said: “My home is in Buras, [Louisiana,] where the storm really hit hard.” Sang, 31, is here with his family of 8 people and arrived here since Wednesday.
“It’s all gone,” he sighed. In Louisiana, Sang was a fisherman and caught shrimps for a living. He had his own boat, but he didn’t have any insurance. His trailer didn’t have insurance either. “I have no idea what the future would bring, but I’ll have to return to New Orleans to see what’s left before deciding.” [Source]