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Phnom Penh -- Sister Maria Domenica Mazzarello Eng Sarin, a Cambodian member of the Daughters of Mary Help, made her perpetual profession at Don Bosco Teuk Thla School on August 5, 2020 before Bishop Bruno Cosme, Apostolic Prefect of Kompung Cham and the presence of some priests of the Phnom Penh Apostolic Vicariate, the FMA sisters and Fr. Roel Soto, superior of the Cambodia THA Delegation. 

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Sister Sarin is one of the first Cambodian sisters in the FMA Congregation. 

It would be difficult to forget the perpetual profession of the second Cambodian FMA – Sr. Eng Sarin Maria D. Mazzarello – because it took place at a time when the Corona Virus (Covid 19) pandemic was raging all over the world. Thanks be to God, Cambodia was one of the countries with few cases. But although the disease was not as wide-spread as in other countries, precaution had to be observed. 

The event was held last August 5, 2020 in the elementary school hall (not in the chapel) where the capacity of persons attending the Mass, rites and later lunch had to be limited to 50 or less. With everyone wearing protective masks, and seated at least a meter apart, Holy Mass started at 9:30 am., presided by Mons. Bruno Cosme and concelebrated by 9 other priests but later on it was continued by Fr. Hang Ly, the parish priest of Sts. Peter and Paul Church because the main celebrant suddenly did not feel well.

The big family of Sr. Sarin, composed of her widowed mother and six siblings, young

nephews and nieces, all came and participated in the Mass and rite of final religious vows, although they were all Buddhists. In fact, her deceased father had been a Buddhist monk before getting married to her mother. We could say that they were observant Buddhists with open hearts and tolerant minds.

Sr. Sarin was born on September 07, 1981 in the capital city of Phnom Penh. After finishing high school in a public school, she took up the 2- year Home and Food Management Course at Don Bosco Vocational Training Center, Teuk Thla. She went for a 3-month internship in a hotel, and then was asked to be the assistant of the teachers of the kindergarten in Don Bosco School, Teuk Thla.

Later, she worked as the cook for the community of the Salesian Sisters in the Provincial House for 5 years. It was here that “I decided to join them because I was inspired by their lives, their joy, and their mission. But even before this, the Salesian Sisters attracted my attention as women whom I had never seen before. Although I didn’t know who they were, there was a tiny voice deep in my heart saying “I want to become like them.”

“As the years passed, this voice sounded at times loud and at other times soft. However, as I worked for them longer, this voice became stronger, especially when I started to attend the catechism classes in the Parish every Sunday. Finally, I decided to enter the convent, and I started my journey of formation into the religious life in the year 2007. In 2008 I was sent to the Philippines where I spent 5 years of initial formation and as a novice. Then, I returned to Cambodia in 2013 and made my first profession on August 5 of that year.

“Within these nearly 7 years as a Salesian Sister, I was assigned to look after the boarders, teach Values Education to the girls of our vocational training centers, and serve as a catechist at St. Joseph Parish for 3 years. At present, I am a member of the Teuk Thla community and teach Morals and Civics to students of Grades 10 and 11.”

“I thank all the Salesian missionary Sisters who have sown the seeds of God’s Word in the land of Cambodia, and have brought Jesus Christ into my life, passed on to me the faith and the charism of our founders Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello. As a convert from Buddhism to the Catholic faith, I’m still young in the faith. But I am so proud being a Catholic, especially a Salesian Sister. I am so grateful for the formation which I received throughout my formative years, and the on-going formation as a junior Sister in the community. As I continue to follow the Lord, I come to appreciate the beauty of religious life in the charism of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello working for the education of the young. 

It helps me give the best of myself as I collaborate in spreading the Kingdom of God in my country. My dream is to see more Cambodian Sisters, Brothers, and Priests who generously offer themselves for the proclamation of the Good News to those who have not yet known Christ.

“My message to the young people: Jesus calls you not because you are good, but because you are sinners, and He came just for you. So courage! Follow Him, He will forgive your sins, and make you a Saint hidden in His Heart.”

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During the Holy Mass.

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FMA forever. 

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Signing on the book of God.

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Sister Sarin with her mother. 

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The FMA sisters in Cambodia.

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Greetings by her sisters. 

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Mgr. Bruno Cosme, MEP. 

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Father Roel Soto, superior of the Cambodia THA Delegation. 

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Mgr. Bruno Cosme, MEP, is a new appointed bishop of the Kompung Cham Apostolic Prefecture. 

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A time of Salesian mission. 

Photos courtesy RVAKhmer

Report by Sister Maria Elena Estacio, FMA.

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