Living in hope and anticipation was a strain on our Vietnamese Sisters Ut and Oanh in Melbourne and Nhân and Hồng in Perth. The Sisters in Melbourne had completed 18 months of English language study and along with the Sisters in Perth were registered with the Vietnamese Embassy for seats on a repatriation flight home. It was with great excitement and delight when on the 6th May Ut and Oanh were offered seats on the 12th May flight. They had some time to say their farewells to their teachers, fellow students’, friends and to the staff of the St. Vincent de Paul Op shop where they worked on a Saturday.

In Perth it was more stressful as Nhan was told she had a seat two days before the flight, and Hong was informed only the day before. The complication being that Nhan and Hong had to fly from Perth to Sydney to catch the flight to Vietnam, so they quickly packed and prepared to leave for the airport.

Before boarding their flights, they were fully garbed in PPE from head to toe including goggles and gloves. On arrival they entered quarantine for 21 days pending negative COVID test results.

The four student Sisters brought much richness and vitality to our communities, we were very sorry that the Sisters were leaving us but happy for them to be returning to Vietnam in time for them to complete their final vows.

Barlow, Shelley

Sr Shelley Barlow

Shelley Barlow was born in seaside Mordialloc in 1941 and grew up in Oakleigh Victoria. Shelley taught at her Alma Mater Sacred Heart Girls’ College Oakleigh, but her teaching, parish and motor mission ministry was mostly in WA. Short-term Ministry in the Philippines, Vietnam and Myanmar was a great joy for her. The heightened experiences of interculturality and finding the face of God in the other, have been bright highlights in her life. Currently Province Vicar she also enjoys pursuing her passion for creation spirituality through retreats and book clubs.