The story of my vocation

My name is Marie HA-SUM, I am of Chinese origin and I am from Réunion Island. I am 79 years old. I live in the community of Notre Dame du Bon Port in Saint Pierre, on Réunion Island. I have two brothers and four sisters, including my twin sister. From birth, I was adopted by my uncle and aunt who did not have children of their own. I received catechism and received the sacraments of communion and confirmation. However, after that, my studies took precedence and religion lost some of its importance. I only went to church for Christmas and Easter.

After middle school, at that time, there was only one high school for girls and another for boys on the whole island. A group of girls, including myself, decided to continue their secondary education in a college in Tananarive, Madagascar, where we prepared for the French Baccalaureate. I landed in a different world and met the sisters. That’s where I learned about the existence of a convent of the FMM sisters in Saint Denis, Réunion, which was very close to my home… During a short stay at the Saint François clinic, I was able to meet the nursing sisters. Students only had contact with their teachers.

The Lord has done wonders in my life! He guided me where He wanted me to go. During the school holidays in Tananarive, I attended a retreat for the Cadettes du Christ led by a Jesuit chaplain. I followed my friends to get out of the boarding school. “What is a retreat?” I wondered. I had already heard this word before my first communion. The Spirit of God blows where He wants, when He wants. He made an appointment with me. That’s where I heard the Word of Life. I discovered the Gospel. I understood the Mass, the presence of Jesus in the Host and in the Eucharist. The adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by the sisters in “habit and veil” intrigued me. The liturgy was in Latin. But I fell in love with Jesus!

During my vacation in Réunion, I would go to Mass in the morning. My parents noticed something in me. They asked me, “Why do you go to Mass? We’re not sending money to Madagascar for you to go to the convent, it’s throwing money out the window!” From that moment on, I never returned to Tananarive. I became a teacher with the Cluny sisters until I turned 21. My parents thought I had found a husband. I had a good salary…

But the Spirit of God even works in failures. With the collaboration of the FMM sisters from Réunion, in connection with the FMM sisters from Paris, I told my parents, “I’m going to take an entrance exam for the Nursing School in Paris.” I was able to get an airplane ticket through “BUMIDOM.” When I left, I thought I was leaving my family forever. The Lord gives the necessary grace for the present moment. I wanted to be a sister without really understanding what “Religious Life” with vows was… I didn’t know about Saint Francis. I was admitted to the postulancy in December 1966, at Châtelets, and received the religious habit on June 13, 1967. My religious name is “Marie Laure HAI-SING” (Star of the Sea).

The Star of the Sea has accompanied me every day of my life as an FMM sister. Before coming to Réunion, I was on a mission in France, in the Aufréry community. Now, at Notre Dame du Bon Port, I am amazed at the journey I have taken and I am grateful for all the graces I have received from Marie de la Passion, Assunta, and our Martyr sisters from China.

Sr. Marie Ha-Sum
Province Réunion/Maurice/Seychelles