Vietnamese Cardinal Van Thuan on the road to sainthood

The Vatican (Friday, May 5, 2017, Gaudium Press) Pope Francis on Thursday approved decrees regarding miracles or heroic virtues attributed to 12 men and women who are currently on the road to sainthood, including former Vietnamese Cardinal François Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan.

The cardinal, who died in Rome in 2002, served as head of the Vatican’s Justice and Peace Council, after he was barred by the government from returning to his native country.


Cardinal Van Thuan was born in Vietnam in 1928. He was ordained a priest of the Vicariate Apostolic of Hue in 1953 and appointed Bishop of Nha Trang in 1967.

He was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Saigon in April 1975, six days before the city fell to the North Vietnamese army. Cardinal Van Thuan was imprisoned in a re-education camp by the communist government of Vietnam for 13 years, nine of them in solitary confinement.

While imprisoned he smuggled out messages written on scraps of paper that were copied by hand and circulated among the Vietnamese community, eventually being printed in The Road of Hope.

He also wrote prayers in prison, which were later published in Prayers of Hope. He was allowed no religious items, but after sympathetic guards smuggled in a piece of wood and some wire for him, he was able to craft a small crucifix.

After being released from prison, he spent three years under house arrest before being permitted to visit Rome in 1991. He was exiled from Vietnam from that point until early 2001, and he resigned as Saigon’s coadjutor archbishop in 1994 when he was appointed vice president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. He became the council’s president in 1998.

In 2000 he preached the spiritual exercises for the Roman Curia, which were subsequently published as Testimony of Hope.

He was made a cardinal by St. John Paul II in 2001, and he died in Rome on Sept. 16, 2002, at the age of 74.

Source Vatican Radio


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