Hey everyone! My name is Linh, I am one of the FaithJustice Fellows this year.  I’ll be sharing snippets of my work, community life, and overall fellowship experience throughout the year on this blog.  Keeping reading to find out how I ended up at CFJ! 

I firmly believe that God uses everything to His advantage, which ultimately is to my benefit. Most times, however, it is much easier for me to believe this in hindsight than during periods of transition, instability, or confusion.

Last year, I was serving as a Jesuit Volunteer at a high school in the Federated States of Micronesia. In March, eight months into my two-year placement, I returned to the United States, like many other international volunteers at the time, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the months that followed my departure from Chuuk, I found myself in a liminal and disorienting space – not knowing whether to begin grieving for a journey that had abruptly come to an end or to remain hopeful for an opportunity to return and finish the work that I had been called to do. Genuinely, I was curious to see how God was planning to “spin” this one. 

Spun, He did. On the very day that I received official news that I would not be returning to Chuuk, I also had my interview with Maggie for a FaithJustice Fellowship position. I found CFJ while casually scrolling through the Catholic Volunteer Network in mid-July. At that point, I was feeling pretty desolate. I was struggling to find employment opportunities in general, not to mention work that would nurture the spiritual formation that I craved. Their website looked quite promising but what really had me hoping for an opportunity to work with Center for FaithJustice was my conversation with Maggie. I was drawn to the ethos of this organization which contrasted most of the faith environments I had grown up in. Somehow, in all the “spinning” that God had done, He called me here to accompany young people in their own growth and discernment. Through this, I, too, could continue to discover what it means to be a contemplative in action and to live out the Christian call to service. 

A little bit about myself – I am a second generation Vietnamese American. I am the daughter of two refugee and immigrant parents from Vietnam. I was born and raised mostly in Worcester, MA but I’ve also lived in the Carolinas and in Kansas for a few years. I am a very competitive person, as my community mates have discovered in our recent community night over a “friendly” game of Taboo. One of the things that I miss the most about being a kid is participating in team sports. I miss being an athlete, specifically a volleyball player, and the adrenaline rush that came with the game. A hobby of mine is “dabbling” with instruments and singing. I am a closeted singer – if you asked me to sing for you, I would politely decline. Singing is a very versatile practice. It can be a prayer, a distress cry, a celebration, a way to build community, or simply a way for me to be present in the moment. 

On the note of presence, this is one of the graces I most desire to receive and live out this year. I pray for the ability to be fully immersed in and to savor every part of this work and space. So, whether I am stressing out over a NeXt Level event, navigating community life with John and Jermaine, receiving a much-needed reminder for patience and humility, or simply laughing with the people I encounter on the job, I want to do it all and to do it well. 

Here’s to more spinning. 

Linh Nguyen