Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, an Apostle of Hope

Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, an Apostle of Hope

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The Communist interrogator couldn’t stand it any longer. “Admit it!” he shouted to the priest, “You’re part of a Vatican plot! You’re nothing more than an Imperialist lackey!” But the newly appointed archbishop of Saigon, Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, answered quietly and directly, “No. I will not admit anything of the kind.”

Thuan was placed under immediate arrest. The date was August 15, 1975, the Feast of the Assumption. For the next thirteen years, he would be imprisoned and would undergo terrible suffering in body, mind, and spirit. But God would use that ordeal to transform Thuan into an apostle of hope, a man whose life proclaimed the triumph of the gospel of Christ over the despair and confusion of atheism and materialism.

Preparing for Suffering. Clearly, God had been preparing Thuan for this calling. Growing up in the Vietnamese city of Hue in the 1930s, he learned the value of sacrifice from his family. All were devout Catholics who had persevered in their faith despite intense persecution. They also believed that serving their country was a duty. Many of the men were prominent leaders who would play an important role in…

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