Happiness in Service

Witnesses of Compassion: A Series on the Vocation of Cooperator Brothers in the Order
Frère Dominic Do Van Thai, OP

The vocation of the Cooperator brothers in the Order remains a vital part of our preaching mission. In a bid to promote this Vocation, we will be featuring the works of different Cooperator brothers from different parts of the world. We invite you to follow this series on the website of the Order (www.op.org) and on IDI.

This month, we are featuring: Brother Dominic Do Van Thai of the Province of Viet Nam.

Brother Dominic Do Van Thai is the fourth of 6 children from a very Christian family of farmers. He was born on the 19th of March 1931 in Xuan Truong District, Nam Dinh Province, Viet Nam. He spent his childhood working in the fields with his neighbors in the countryside.

Although he entered the novitiate in the capital, Ha Noi, (Northern of Viet Nam), he was professed in Saigon City (Southern of Viet Nam) in 1954 because the country was divided into two parts by a civil war. After his first profession, he studied theology for three years in his community.

He served his community in various capacities as: keeper of the common room, sacristy, cleaning, cooking, and much more. Today, Brother Dominic is the oldest Dominican Cooperator Brother in Viet Nam. He is 85 years old and an assistant to the conventual syndic. He is a living example of hard work and constant prayer.

- Why did you choose the vocation of a Cooperation Brother?

Brother Dominic Thai: When I was twenty years old, I met Brother Thien Phong Buu Duong, a Dominican priest in the capital, Ha Noi. He guided me in learning about the Dominican consecrated life and spirituality. Because I liked the humble life of the Cooperator Brothers, I choose to follow the call of this vocation. I have never regretted my choice; my parents consented to my choice and they have always prayed for me.

- Are you happy in the consecrated life as a Cooperator Brother?

Brother Dominic Thai: I am always happy in living my consecrated life. Of course, everyone has his/her life challenges, but I always believed that God is with me.  So, I serve God and others in whatever I am doing. In that light, I chose my own religious motto, that is: Happiness in Service

- What is your message to younger Dominicans?

Brother Dominic Thai: The Province of Viet Nam has many vocations to the Cooperator Brotherhood, but this vocation is beginning to disappear in many provinces of the Order. So, I am worried about it and about our mission as an Order. I hope that Cooperator Brothers are convinced that God Himself has called them and that their vocation is noble. They should cherish their vocation and they should trust God in all things. I wish the younger brothers in the Order the best, include clerical and cooperator brothers. I hope they will study hard and live a good consecrated life.

Interview by Bro. Joseph Mai Van Tuyen, O. P.


(15 March 2016)