At the end of 1941, twelve nuns belonging to the congregation of devout Reformed Cristercians “ whose only purpose was prayer and penitence” were driven out of Japan. Eight of them as well as the prior wanted to stay in Asia. The French ambassador in Japan wrote to Bishop of Hung Hoa asking that they could be welcomed to Viet Nam.
In february 1942, for the token rent of one piastre per year, the Supperior Resident granted a long term lease over “ The estale of the old fruit growing station of Ta Phin village, uncultivated of fallow land”. On June 11th 1942, the sisters arrived at Lao Cai raiway station and were installed in a wooden building “ in poor condition” each owning only the clothers which they were weared.
On june 19th , the French Resident in Lao Cai gave them 8 cows, 9 calve, 2 oxens, 2 heifers, 1 bull, 24 hens, 6 pigs and farming implements, The arm was starting “ large – scale raising of pigs and chickens” and usefully complement the daily products, milk,butter and cheese by Chapa station in insufficient quantity for the number of summer visitors both civil and military.
Sisters also set about to grow black wheath , oats, barley, buckwheat… and they also develop many kinds of fruit trees, potatoes, vegetables and vineyards. September 1942 sister were producing peach, apple and other fruit jams and had difficulties satisfying “ the numerous order for butter and cheese of the Port Salut type coming from Ha Noi”. Ta Phin was become the main provider of fresh products for Chapa.
The foundation stone of the Cistercian Monastery of “ Our lady of Peace” was laid on october 8th 1942. In fact, only the first phase was to be completed, the rest of the convent which was supposed to welcome a hunded sisters, lay sisters and novices was never to be. Only the farmhouse buildings still visible an part wereever built. During 1947 unrest the sisters hurriedly flyed to Ha Noi and the Monasty was burned down.
Updated by Tuong Nguyen