Around 1953, Father Tiên was put in prison. He had not wanted to escape: the French priests had suggested it and several villagers had urged him to do so, but he did not want to. He said: “I was ordained for the Christians; I cannot abandon them. Those who want to kill me, well, they’ll have to kill me here.” He wanted to live and to die among his Christians.
At the camp in Talang, they put pressure on him a number of times to get married: “If you take a wife, you will be free.” He always refused: “I am there for the Christians.” Among us, we all understood that: he could not abandon his life as a priest. When they brought him into the village, everyone wished him the courage to remain firm: “You are the Father of the Christians; if you give up, all will be lost. If you hold firm, there will also be some Christians over there.” Father Tiên is certainly a martyr, for he shared the sufferings of Jesus. His memory has always been important to us. He is a true model for the Laotian Christians of today who truly have need of courage.
Testimony of Sipéng, a lay Christian born in the paternal home of Blessed Joseph Tiên.