Cover photo for Sr. Theresa Khen Doan, MPV's Obituary
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1932 Sr. Theresa 2023

Sr. Theresa Khen Doan, MPV

July 5, 1932 — February 18, 2023

Sr. Theresa Khen Doan, MPV, 91 of Worcester, passed away peacefully on Saturday, February 18, 2023 at St. Mary’s Healthcare Center.

Sr. Theresa was born in Saigon, Vietnam, a daughter of the late Khuong Quang Doan and Ngou Thi Nguyen. Sister earned her bachelor’s degree from Marillac College in St. Louis, MO. and later her master’s degree from Boston University both in social work. She entered the Lovers of the Cross Congregation in 1949 in Ho Chi Minh City and professed First Vows in 1957 and Final Vows in 1973.  While in Vietnam, she taught French, chemistry and math at catholic high schools and later became a director of an orphanage of more than 2,000 children.

When the communists took over in 1975, they took over the orphanage and the school, forcing Sister to flee two years later with the help of someone who paid her way onto a fishing boat.  She spent 4 days on an overcrowded boat, which started to sink until a Norwegian ship picked them up and brought them to safety in Thailand. She left Bangkok in 1978 and immigrated to the United States.

Sister was recruited by the Diocese of Worcester to run the Refugee Resettlement Program for people coming from Southeast Asia. Since she could not return to Vietnam and no member of her congregation was in the US at the time, she joined the Religious Venerini Sisters and professed vows with them in 1981.

By the 1990s, her work extended to anyone seeking refuge in the USA from Eastern Europe, Haiti, Cuba, and anyone trying to escape war and oppression.  She was well known not only for helping many people find housing, food, clothing and to settle into life in America, but helping them with the emotional and psychological effects of fleeing a Communist regime. Sister worked with Catholic Charities for many years until her retirement just several years ago. Sister also worked as a translator for both St. Vincent’s Hospital and UMass Medical Center and was well-known for 44 years retiring in 2022. Over the years, she received many awards and recognition for her tireless work throughout the community.

Sister Theresa is survived by a sister, Kim Ngoc Doan and her husband, Wayne King; several nieces, nephews, great nieces, and nephews as well as her Religious Venerini Sisters and Associates.  She is predeceased by two brothers and three sisters.

The Venerini Sisters would like to thank the staff at St. Mary’s Healthcare Center and Jewish Home Hospice, especially her nurse, Marjorie for their loving care and concern for sister in her final days.

Calling hours will be held on Friday, February 24, 2023 from 2-7 pm in Our Lady of Vilna Church, 151 Sterling St., Worcester with a prayer service at 7:00 pm.  Her funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, February 25th at 10:00 am in Our Lady of Vilna Church.  Burial will follow at St. Bernard’s Cemetery, Fitchburg.  MERCADANTE FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL, 370 Plantation St., Worcester is honored to be assisting with arrangements.

Memorial contributions in her name can be made to: Venerini Sisters Retirement Fund, 23 Edward St., Worcester, MA. 01605

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sr. Theresa Khen Doan, MPV, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, February 24, 2023

2:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Mass

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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Saturday, February 25, 2023

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