Sr. Ann's life story includes another experience that few can claim to share. From February to July of 1980, she traveled to Cambodia as a Red Cross Volunteer to assist the refugees living in the camps. She has recently made her story of pictures and experiences written while in Cambodia into an e-book so that others can read, remember and learn from her experience in the hopes that our future will be filled with peace. Her story is one of a war-ravaged time and place from the perspective of a woman of faith. She shares her hopes for the people she cares for, her difficulties in finding a Mass to attend, her friendships with her co-workers and even her homesickness. I was especially moved by the vivid and colorful pictures and stories about young mothers and children. Sr. Ann's missionary story is filled with words of prayer and scripture, ponderings about the people in the photos, artwork and facts that piece together a moment in history that few can even begin to comprehend.
Her story is especially meaningful to me because one of my co-workers and a dear sweet friend of mine, Chue, who is the same age as me, had spent time in a refugee camp in Thailand when she was a pre-teen before coming to the United States in 1979. I shared Cambodian Diary with Chue and it brought tears to her eyes as she remembered those days that had such an impact on her life. Many of Chue's life experiences are similar to those which Sr. Ann shares in Cambodian Diary. How easy and simple my life has been compared to those who have had to leave their homes due to war!
I am so grateful to Sr. Ann for sharing her Cambodian Diary with me and I pray that you will find your heart filled with gratitude as well. Sr. Ann says: "If this diary touches the heart of even one person to realize we are all one in the world, the mission of this website and diary will be accomplished." After having read and prayed over the images and words in Sr. Ann's Cambodian Diary I am pleased to share her story here in the hopes that more than one heart will be touched. Please take the time to read Cambodian Diary to learn from our past and then do what you can to work toward a peace-filled future.