WEEK V – SATURDAY: Blessed Catechist Luc Sy , and Blessed Phô Inpèng, layman, fathers of families

newLuc Sy was a catechist who carried out his mission well. Every month, he made a report. Everything was noted: prayers, care and visits of the sick, communion for the sick, baptism of children, marriages, finances. He worked in the mountains, in the “hot” zones. He loved others; he was a man who shared, a helpful man. He made no distinctions between Christians and non-Christians. The day we spent together on the eve of his death, he prayed all day long, from morning till evening without interruption. In the evening when I saw him, he told me: “Now I am ready.”

Phô Inpèng was a new convert who had been a captain in the army before becoming a Christian. His was a family of refugees. He was a leader; he took charge of organizing the little Christian community. Luc Sy took care of the liturgical aspect and he took care of the day to day affairs of the community. I trusted him totally. He really loved God and was proud to be a Christian and a Catholic. He volunteered to accompany us, Luc Sy and me, when the two of them were killed in an ambush.

 Testimony of an eye-witness, a deacon who today is a bishop,
about Blessed Luc Sy and Blessed Maisam Phô Inpèng

WEEK V – THURSDAY Blessed Student catechist Thomas Khampheuane (05.1952-12.05.1968)

khampheuane-fhjfhMy son, Thomas Khampheuane, born in May 1952, was killed in an ambush at the same time as Father Lucien Galan, on May 12, 1968. A bullet in the head: he died in the field. With another teenager, he was accompanying the Father who was going out to proclaim the Christian faith and say Mass in a mountain village. The guerilla had forbidden movement there and did not want any priest; they detested the priests of the Christian faith.

This was a terrible shock for my family. My wife died of sorrow. I too was troubled and I have no longer been able to teach catechism. The bishop came to see us; he offered some money to compensate us a little for our loss.

Words failed us, but we said no, for it was evident that for us, our son had died for Jesus. In spite of our sorrow, my wife, my daughter and I were in agreement on one point, on the meaning of the death of Thomas: he had given his life for Christ. People told us: your son is lucky; he died with the priest and will certainly go with him to Heaven. That’s what we believe too. If one day the Church designates him as a martyr and a saint, my family will be very happy.

 Testimony of the father of Blessed Thomas Khampheuane,
who died a martyr at the age of 16.

III WEEK – THURSDAY: Blessed Catechist Joseph Outhay (25.12.1933-27.04.1961)

outhay-2Outhay was a very fine catechist. He had a strong personality; he was afraid of nothing. He was a faithful companion of Father Tenaud with whom he was traveling. It was while they were traveling that they were arrested. He was a faithful companion of the Church: he devoted his whole life to the Christians, to the people, through Father Tenaud.

He was patient, simple and humble. He was devoted body and soul to his service as a catechist. He left with Father Tenaud for a village in a disputed and therefore dangerous region. They were ambushed.

From the moment that he left for dangerous regions with Father Tenaud, he knew well of the very serious danger, but he never feared for his life. I truly believe that he chose to follow Christ and serve the people of God, whatever should happen.

His whole life was directed toward teaching the Word of God, in spite of the danger. Still today, even for those who did not know him, he is a martyr.

Testimony of a missionary, today a bishop,
about Blessed Joseph Outhay

WEEK II — MONDAY: Blessed Catechist Paul Thoj Xyooj (1941-01.05.1960)

thoj-xyoojOne morning, I went hunting in the forest, armed with my crossbow. All of a sudden, I heard voices and very loud shouting. I hid in the brush. On the path, I noticed a group of armed men. They were leading two persons who had their hands tied behind their backs—I recognized the Father and the young lad Xyooj. They stopped; they took the shirts off the two prisoners and forced them to kneel. They hit them with rifle butts while shouting at them from above.

The Father remained silent. Xyooj, who was talking to them and answering them, was beaten all the more, with rifle butts to the head, the ears, the whole body, so much so that blood was running down everywhere. A man cried out to him: “Get out of here quickly!”, but he answered: “No, I am not leaving; I am staying with the Father. If I leave, he is coming with me. If he doesn’t leave, I am staying with him!” The other cried out: “You are responsible for having wanted to bring this devil here and for having converted in one day more than 10 families to follow him.” Then I heard Xyooj praying in Hmong: “O God, protect us and protect our destiny; you see them and you see what they have done.”

Eye-witness account of a young man
about the death of Blessed Paul Thoj Xyooj.

 

2. Blessed Joseph Tiên (05.12.1918-02.06.1954)

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.tien-1

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.

1. Blessed Joseph Tiên (05.12.1918-02.06.1954)

Until the very last days, Father Tien remained confident. He asked of the Christians “special fervor, special prayers to prevent the catastrophe.” On the 22nd of March, he wrote of his joy at being able to continue his school…

The last letter received from him is from the 27th of March. This time our fritien-6-1952-directeur-ecoleend is in great distress … Poor Father! He realized his absolute isolation. The priests closest to his station were typically 7 or 8 days away; but due to the Vietminh persecution, these neighbours had to leave their areas to settle in the plains. There was no way he could go to visit them or be visited by them. The Christians were too fearful to give serious help to their pastor in his distress, were it to last. The cross was laid bare before the first Thai-deng priest, four years after his ordination.

In the end, he remained heroically in place (although as a Thai, he could easily have saved himself at any time).

From April 1953, the usual iron curtain separates Sam Neua from the free world. There was no way to contact him…


Jean Mironneau MEP, « Abbé Joseph Thao Thien », in Bulletin MEP 28, 1955