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Our Lady of La Vang

In the late 1700s, the country that is today Vietnam was  divided into two kingdoms: the North, with its capital Hanoi, and the South, with its capital in Hue.

Advisers to the young king of the south decreed that Christians would be persecuted. So many Christians in the south fled to the LaVang forest. Each day they gathered under a tree  to pray the Rosary in honor of the Blessed Mother. One day in 1798, Mary, surrounded by two angels and bearing the Child Jesus in her arms, appeared to them for the first time, assuring them that their prayers would be heard and promising them her protection and relief from their afflictions. Other apparitions followed.

In 1886, the persecutions of Christians and Catholics finally ended. The original chapel in the forest, made of straw, was destroyed at one point by persecutors. From 1885, several chapels were built one after another. Because so many people came to pray there, the bishop made LaVang its own parish.

In 1961, Vietnam was divided by war. The bishops of South Vietnam vowed to Mary that they would consecrate a temple to her when they could, and they asked her to bring peace and freedom to Vietnam. After 1961 the shrine was made bigger and more ornate. But in 1972, all of the buildings were destroyed in the war. In 1975, when the north and south were reunified, the bishops again prayed to Our Lady of LaVang, promising to increase devotion to her.

When Pope John Paul II canonized 117 Martyrs of Vietnam in 1988, he spoke about the Marian shrine at LaVang, and during World Youth Day in Denver in 1993,  the pope spent time with the Vietnamese who were present and entrusted the whole Vietnamese Catholic community to the Blessed Virgin’s protection.

The Vatican today encourages pilgrims to visit the shrine at LaVang. Many Vietnamese Catholic churches in the United States are dedicated to Our Lady of LaVang.

The Shrine to Our Lady of La Vang
60 Kilometers west of
Hue, Vietnam

Feast Day: November 22nd

Prayer to Our Lady of LaVang: Blessed Lady of La Vang, be my mother and comfort me, especially in times of trial and unhappiness.  Enter my heart and stay with me wherever I may go.  Grant that one day, through you, I may find rest and peace in my Father's house.