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Bernhard H.Holst

A belated thanks to an exceptional nun, Saigon 1955

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Hello readers.

After discharge from the French military hospital Roques in Saigon because of a severe case of dysentery and awaiting transport back to North Africa I was transferred to the Centre Thevenet. This center was an annex of the military hospital Medecin General Roques and provided recovery from severe illnesses or wounds prior to return to the home garrison areas, in my case the French Foreign Legion's North African garrisons in Algeria or Morocco. Since hostilities had ended the year before only those  recovering from illnesses were  inhabitants of the facility.

The director of the center was a nun belonging to the Saint Vincent de Paul order. She must have been of Spanish origin which I believe her accent revealed. She was assisted by a small number of Vietnamese novice nuns ( if that is a correct description ), some kitchen help and a French Army  aspirant, M Morvan who handled administrative matters. BTW the only one with that rank I encountered on active duty.

The director knew every man in her care, either by name or a very fitting description. She handled every hot meal distribution by handing out the food items herself. The food in my memory was the absolute best ever had while in Vietnam. She was very concerned that nobody skipped meals and had a knack to register those who were absent from meals. And who in his right mind would spend money eating out when the best was to have free of charge?

 The now nameless sister was the recipient of the French Legion of Honor. I had occasion to see her once wearing it when she received a high ranking officer at the gate ( photo enclosed, unfortunately not revealing the wear which was beautiful to see on the white clothing ( habit?)

This is a very late acknowledgement and thanks to a dedicated person in the service of the church with which I was never associated otherwise.

 I believe the facilities of St. Vincent de Paul in what was Saigon are no longer owned by the church or the order.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2015/post-351-0-03392100-1424531511.jpg                http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2015/post-351-0-90352800-1424531553.jpg          



Liberal leaves of absence were granted but I made it a point to be present for meals having lost too much weight.

Bernhard H. Holst

Edited by Bernhard H.Holst

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