Our Lady of
of La Vang
FEast: Nov. 22nd
Patron of: Vietnam, the Vietnamese
Ðức Mẹ La Vang in Vietnamese, Our Lady of La Vang was a Marian Apparition that occurred in 1798. In that year, Emperor Cảnh Thịnh, worried about the growing number of Catholics in the country, issued anti-Catholic laws, restricting the religion and causing persecution to begin. To avoid torture or execution, many Catholics sought refuge in the jungle of La Vang, located in the Hai Lang district in the Quảng Trị region. This jungle was dense and dangerous, which gave them safety from pursuers, but made it hard to survive. Every day at dusk, the community would gather to pray the rosary under a certain tree and ask for peace and health. Wild animals could attack, and many were ill from malnutrition and drinking contaminated water.
One evening, a glowing woman appeared in the tree branches holding a child and accompanied by two angels. She wore a traditional áo dài and called herself the “Blessed Mother”. She taught them how to make a tea that could cure their illnesses, and said she would intercede in having their prayers heard - she knew what they were enduring.
Indeed, not long after, the persecution subsided and many of the group returned to their homes, spreading the story of what they had seen. Many made pilgrimages to the site of the tree, and a chapel was even built there in 1820. This was destroyed during another wave of persecutions, unfortunately, from 1830-1885. A new chapel’s construction was begun in 1886, and was consecrated in 1901. The statue of Our Lady was brought back there in 1954 when it was voted the National Shrine. It, too, was destroyed in 1974 during the Vietnam War. It was finally rebuilt in 2012.
The name “La Vang” is said to have come from a distortion of the Vietnamese for “crying out” or from the name of the plant used to make the healing tea.
Hear us when we cry out. When we are persecuted because those in power do not like us or understand us, hear our cry. When others have fear and we suffer because of it, hear our cry. WHen we are denied opportunities, understanding, recognition, freedoms, or peace, and are continually unheard, hear our cry, and be a mother to us. Amen.
Our Lady is depicted here in an áo dài as she is said to have worn, carrying baby Jesus and a cup of the tea she taught the refugees to make. Her earrings are lotuses, a symbol of Vietnam, and the designs on her clothing also come from Vietnamese art. The Colors are reminiscent of a dark forest with bright, luminous plants and animals.