Our Lady of La Vang

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Church of Our Lady of La Vang, built in 1928 and destroyed in 1972 during the war
Destroyed Church of Our Lady of La Vang today
Statue of Our Lady of La Vang in Ao dai at Phát Diệm Cathedral
External images
http://www.stripes.com/blogs/archive-photo-of-the-day/archive-photo-of-the-day-1.9717/damaged-cathedral-in-vietnam-1972-1.146467 War damage to Our Lady of La Vang church, July 7, 1972. Source: Stars and Stripes.

Our Lady of La Vang (Vietnamese: Đức Mẹ La Vang) refers to a reported Marian apparition at a time when Catholics were persecuted and killed in Vietnam. The Shrine of our Lady of La Vang (Basilica of Our Lady of La Vang) is situated in what is today Hai Phu commune in Hải Lăng District of Quảng Trị Province in Central Vietnam.


Fearing the spread of the Catholicism, the Cảnh Thịnh Emperor restricted the practice of Catholicism in the country in 1798. Soon thereafter, the emperor issued an anti-Catholic edict in which persecution ensued.

Many people sought refuge in the rain forest of La Vang in Quảng Trị Province, Vietnam, and many became very ill. While hiding in jungle, the community gathered every night at the foot of a tree to pray the rosary. One night, an apparition surprised them. In the branches of the tree a lady appeared, wearing the traditional Vietnamese áo dài dress and holding a child in her arms, with two angels beside her. The people present interpreted the vision as the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus Christ. They said that Our Lady comforted them and told them to boil leaves from the trees for medicine to cure the ill. Legend states that the term "La Vang" was a derivative of the Vietnamese word meaning "crying out". Modern scholars believe it comes from the ancient practice of naming a location for a genus of a tree or plant native to the area, La meaning "leaf" and '"Vang "herbal seeds".

In 1802 the Christians returned to their villages, passing on the story of the apparition in La Vang and its message. As the story of the apparitions spread, many came to pray at this site and to offer incense. In 1820, a chapel was built.

From 1830-1885 another wave of persecutions decimated the Christian population, during the height of which the chapel in honour of Our Lady of La Vang was destroyed. In 1886, construction on a new chapel bagan. Following its completion, Bishop Gaspar (Loc) consecrated the chapel in honour of Our Lady Help of Christians, in 1901.

On December 8, 1954, the statue of Our Lady of La Vang was brought from Tri Bun back to the holy shrine. The Vietnamese Bishops Conference chose the church of Our Lady of La Vang as the National Shrine in honour of the Immaculate Conception. La Vang became the National Marian Center of Vietnam on April 13, 1961. Pope John XXIII elevated the Church of Our Lady of La Vang to the rank of a minor basilica on August 22, 1961.

On June 19, 1998, Pope John Paul II publicly recognized the importance of Our Lady of La Vang and expressed desire to rebuild the La Vang Basilica in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the first vision.[1] Researcher Lê Xuân Nhuận[2] published an article on the English-language vnforum@vnforum.org moderated by Dr. Trần Đình Hoành, to reject the “Yes” answer of the dying old-aged believers on which the Trí Bưu Vicar based to report about the apparitions.[3] Subsequently, Pope John Paul II himself, two months later, through L'Osservatore Romano, on August 12, 1998, was really honest and straightforward to confirm that: “Unfortunately, there is no written documentation of these apparitions (of the Virgin Mary in La Vang).” At the same time, a Vietnamese Catholic personage, Mr. Nguyễn Lý Tưởng frankly wrote and published, on August 15, 1998 as quoted above: “The Trí Bưu (Cổ Vưu) Parish priest asked the local old-aged believers when these were on their deathbed, awaiting exoneration and anointment: ‘You must swear to say the truth, did you hear your parents, grand-parents, in the past mention something concerning the Virgin Mary’s Apparitions in La Vang?’ All those persons answered ‘Yes’ and ‘The event happened nearly 100 years ago.’ The Virgin Mary had appeared about 100 years earlier.” Afraid of not being allowed to go to the paradise, those “witnesses” had to answer “Yes” to things supposedly happening long, very long even before they had been born. They themselves did not see (witness) anything. This explains why the Vatican negated it.[4]

In the Philippines, the chapel of Our Lady of La Vang is now the Roman Catholic parish church and national shrine in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan. Became has a patroness of Puerto Princesa and patroness of Palawan.

Churches outside Vietnam[edit]

This plant was brought from La Vang, now in Washington DC


  • Our Lady of La Vang Church - Ottawa


  • National Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
  • Our Lady of La Vang Parish - Quezon City, Metro Manila
  • Our Lady of La Vang Church - Taguig City, Metro Manila


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Our Lady of La Salette and Saint Joseph Church
  2. ^ Le Xuan Nhuan
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]

External links[edit]

Media related to Our Lady of La Vang at Wikimedia Commons