Father Liem: From a Herdsman to a Formator
by Quyen Truong
Father Liem Nguyen, O.S.B., has served as a formator at Mount Angel Seminary for sixteen years. His vocation had many ups and downs before he settled at Mount Angel Abbey, but these experiences have deepened his calling as both a Benedictine monk and a formator.
Talking about his mission during a recent interview, Father Liem said, “What I like the most about being a formator is to see the outcome, the success of my directees, and to see how they become priests.” Father Liem continued, “I have experience as both a seminarian and a formator, so I can understand my directees’s feelings better and be patient to help them grow in their formation, as well as to deal with situations they may see and face in the future.” Joseph Nguyen, a seminarian from the Diocese of Orange, said this about Father Liem: “Father Liem has helped me so much in my vocation discernment and helped me understand myself and others better.”
According to Father Liem, his vocation came about in a very unusual way.
He was born Cuu Nguyen and grew up in a rural area of
After the fall of
Unfortunately, in 1980 Nguyen was accused of organizing anti-government activities and was put in jail. After Nguyen was released, he tried to rejoin the Franciscan community. However, his superiors did not see any chance for him to be ordained and to serve in
In May of 1983, Nguyen left
When Nguyen was accepted by the American government for entering the country,
As time went by, he became a monk of Mount Angel Abbey and took his religious name Vincent Liem – the name of a Vietnamese martyr. After his formation, Br. Liem was ordained to the priesthood in 1994 and has been serving as a formator of Mount Angel Seminary ever since.