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Experience and Empathy Create Connections: Meet Sister Trish

Sister Trish Doan helps build connections with the Vietnamese community through outreach and serving as a point of contact for Catholic Charities of Orange County. Her ministry is focused on finding the needs of the Vietnamese community and helping inform Catholic Charities of the best ways to fill those needs and any current gaps they may be facing.

One way that Sister Trish serves is by arranging meetings with priests at parishes. She discusses the Catholic Charities program with the priests, and she asks for their permission to present the program to the Vietnamese community at the parish.

Like a true Sister of St. Joseph, there is more to Sister Trish’s story. Before becoming a Sister of St. Joseph of Orange and serving at Catholic Charities, Sister Trish earned her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. She also worked for the Federal Government in Homeland Security as an Immigration Officer.

It was her responsibility to interview immigrants to determine if they were permitted to enter the U.S. One of her supervisors shared with her a statement about her responsibility in this role and she has always remembered it. “You see these files right here? This is not just a file; this is a person’s life.”

She truly enjoyed the job and her role in being able to reunite families, especially with her background of being an immigrant herself from Vietnam. Trish escaped by boat from the country at the age of 12, with her older brother who was only 14 years old himself.  Trish spent almost two years living in a refugee camp in Hong Kong and then she lived in the Philippines for nine months. When she was around 16 years old, she came to the U.S.

Through her life experience as an immigrant and her work and ministry experiences, Sister Trish has always enjoyed being able to give back like those who once helped her. Her time spent with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange before joining the congregation, whom she has known since 2004, has always been uplifting to her. She is grateful for their friendliness, especially Sister Rose Marie Redding who often invited her over for dinner. Sister Trish always felt appreciated by the congregation.

“I experience joyfulness here,” she expresses.

Sister Trish recently earned her master’s degree in Theology, with an emphasis in Asian Theology and Historical Theology, from Loyola Marymount University. In her free time, she likes to listen to music and enjoys photography.

“I am thankful for the generosity of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange who helped me through school, because going through school, I find out who I am, learn about my roots, and I become aware of the culture of each person.”

Her faith and her love of service is what led her to discern and ultimately enter religious life.

“God is in no way indebted to us, to give us anything, but God still gives us everything because of His kindness and generosity.”

She is grateful for every day that she is a Sister of St. Joseph of Orange, and for the opportunity to continue serving others.






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