Congregation revives after all members disappeared under Khmer Rouge

.- A Cambodian congregation of sisters, which was wiped out by the Khmer Rouge nearly 30 years ago, was revived last week with the profession of two new sisters, reported AsiaNews.

A sign of new life in the Cambodian Church, Srs. Ang Songvat and Bouang Buntharin professed their temporary vows as members of the Lovers of the Cross Congregation of Kompong Cham apostolic prefecture March 21.

The Lovers of the Holy Cross was founded in Cambodia in 1772, and by 1942, it had 115 members. But, under the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s, all of its members were killed, died of hunger or escaped to neighboring countries.

The communist regime of Pol Pot came to power in 1975. Pol Pot led the Khmer Rouge, a radical group held responsible for the deaths of up to two million Cambodians before Vietnamese troops forced it from power in 1979. Among the targets of the Khmer Rouge was the local Church.

Sisters of the Lovers of the Cross of Ubon Ratchathani in Thailand had sent four sisters as missioners to Cambodia and were responsible for the training of the new sisters. The Thai congregation will continue training the Cambodian nuns and help sustain them until they become independent and can run the congregation themselves.

In 1996, Paris Foreign Mission Father André Lessouef, then apostolic prefect of Kompong Cham, started a formation house to revive this lost community. But it was not until 1999 that two postulants, now Srs. Ang and Bouang, began their formation. They entered the novitiate in 2002.

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