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

galan-rfgdIt’s peace that we lack here; there’s always war, the little war, not very lethal but awfully bothersome. You always have to be on your guard, armed with patience and prudence. The apostolate is suffering because of it. Yet by seeking, we find souls of good will who are looking for the truth; but we cannot do all that we would want for them. We should not complain too much however; the situation could be much worse. We can still do missionary work and even reap the fruits, not abundantly perhaps, but enough to believe that we’re not working uselessly. In spite of everything, we hope for better days. “Fear not, little flock; I have conquered the world.”

I am still in the danger zone, surrounded by mines. The jungle inhabited by tigers and serpents is not dangerous, but when men decide to play a game of war there, it becomes dangerous and it’s always the innocent who suffer. I am limited in my apostolic or other movements. I am going to spend Christmas in a so-called liberated zone; I’ll have to go through the curtain of mines.

Letters of Blessed Lucien Galan to a priest friend,
12 September 1961 and 16 December 1962.

WEEK II — SUNDAY: Blessed Mario Borzaga, o.m.i. (27.08.1932-01.05.1960)

66028318_129845219454On November 21, feast of the Presentation of Mary, we consecrated our district to the Blessed Virgin. They tell us that this consecration to the Madonna is an act of despair. So what should young missionaries like us do, faced with such vast territories to evangelize, in the midst of so many dangers and difficulties? So we have decided to “despair” publicly of our own strengths: once more, we recognize that we are poor men; we solemnly declare that we are fragile creatures, feeble voices who cry out in the desert.

So now we are consecrated to Mary: in an act of abandon, we confide all of our worries and our labors—labors that are apostolic only when in the heart of the Queen of Apostles.

We offer ourselves to her so as to become more priestly after the example of Christ. May she watch over us, as over beloved children who, in this region, see her as their Mother, and over all those who don’t know her yet. With a little sign from her, we will see her great maternal love: we will be filled with the Grace won for us, won for all, through her infinite suffering at the foot of the Cross of Jesus.

Letter of Blessed Mario Borzaga to the “Friends of Laos,”
Louang Prabang, 1 January 1960

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.