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Rome Reports

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Process of beatification has begun for Vietnamese Cardinal Van Thuan

Fr. Van Ambrogio Syn

Friend of Cardinal Van Thuan

"The Vicar of Rome wanted to take charge of the beatification process because many have been helped by the teachings and example of the Cardinal and his books."

Cardinal Van Thuan was born in April 1928 in the town of Hue, in central Vietnam. ;In 1975, at the age of 47, he was appointed coadjutor Archbishop of Saigon. ;

But was never able to fill this position because a few months later he was arrested by the Vietcong. ;

They accused him of being an infiltrator from a foreign government and an enemy of the communist revolution. ;He spent 13 years in prison, nine of which were in total isolation.

Tien Theresse Van Thuan

Cardinal Van Thuan?s Sister

"While he was in prison, we took refuge in Australia. ;The first year was very hard for my parents. For many years we heard nothing from him."

Van Thuan was able to celebrate Mass every day because he secretly had a bottle of wine with the label "stomach medicine," and a few crumbs of bread wrapped in newspaper. ;Each day he took a drop of wine and bread in his hand and celebrated Mass.

He always wore a crucifix that he made in the prison with wires and soap.

On November 2, 1988 he was released. ;In 1998 he was appointed by John Paul II as President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and in 2001 he was appointed cardinal. ;He unfortunately died a few months later, on September 16, 2002.