Tuesday, 15 December 2015


A Little Hero of Christ

Introduction :

Theophane  was born in a little village called Saint Loup in France. When he was nine years old and looking after the goats of the family a companion read out a piece of news to him from a recent missionary magazine. It was the narration of how the missionary Father Charles Corney was martyred in TongKing, Indo - China (now present day Vietnam).

Little Theophane had tears in his eyes on hearing of the tortures this holy priest had undergone. "I too will go to Tongking and shall die for Christ !!" he said.

Soon after, that Theophane  joined the Seminary and was ordained a Priest. His mind was now set on Indo-China. He went to the South Seas, and in a Chinese Junk managed to get to Tongking.

It was 1858, these were difficult times for the Catholic Church there. The French Missionaries had succeeded in winning over to "Our Lord" 140,000 souls but now due to fierce persecution all this work seemed to be wiped off !!

"We are like birds on the branch of a tree, always on the alert", Father Theophane wrote. We hide in little boats, or in caverns, or in the tombs in the mountains, where we run the risk of being buried alive. "One day we had to remain in one of these tombs for eight hours, being able to breathe only through a bamboo tube".

Then for a space of two years, Father Theophane was on the run. He hid in the mountains, moved from village to village, all the time teaching, preaching, and administering the sacraments.

He saw the Catholic Christians being put to death by the most horrible tortures, and the Catholic Schools and Catholic Churches destroyed.

Conclusion :

In November 1860, Father Theophane was caught and in chains taken from village to village. The executioner asked for a tip to do the work quickly. Poor Father Theophane who had no money replied "Take your time, friend!! The good Father was then stripped of all his clothes, except the trousers and by a blunt sword the head was severed.

The Blood of this young priest drenched the sands of Indo China !! (now present day Vietnam).

All this happened not very long ago !!

Note: The Catholic Church in Vietnam is red with the blood of martyrs. There are at least 100 canonized martyrs in the Catholic Church in Vietnam.

The most prominent Vietnamese Catholic Saint is Saint Andrew Dung Lac. He too was martyred for the Catholic Faith.

Today, in North Vietnam and in the Highlands in Central Vietnam large numbers of people are embracing Christ and the Catholic Faith.

May God bless abundantly the Catholic Church in Vietnam. It is often said that the Blood of Martyrs is the seed of the Church -that is so true in the case of Vietnam.

Vietnam has approximately 8 Million Catholics roughly 10% of the population and growing.

Credits: Don Bosco's Madonna,
             Mumbai, India
             October 1975
            Page 17
           "Theophane Venard"
           By Father Cajetan Lobo S.D.B.


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