The first time I remember reading about this remarkable man was in a book called A Priest Forever: Nine Signs of Renewal and Hope by Alfred McBride, O. PREAM. I still find it astonishing how this priest lived a life of such profound faith, real hope, and genuine joy in the midst of tremendous suffering. A brother in Christ I had loaned the book to was equally inspired by the mention of this man’s dedication to the Eucharist and Christ, so he got a copy of the DVD entitled Road to Hope: The Spiritual Journey of Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan.
My husband and I watched the documentary last evening and are still letting the magnitude of grace, perseverance, holiness, joy, and hope Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan exuded settle in. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for him to be locked in a prison camp in Vietnam for thirteen years, nine of which he spent in solitary confinement. For days, weeks, sometimes months, he lived in complete darkness. The only personal possession he had when taken to the prison was a Rosary.