Sunday, August 16, 2009



Redemptorist monastery torn down

VietCatholic News (10 Jul 2009 01:02)

The defenseless Church in Vietnam has met with another defeat in the battle to protect its properties: a Redemptorist monastery has been torn down to give place to a state-owned multi-story hotel. On the other hand, the call from 37 U.S. senators to immediately and unconditionally free Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly has also been rejected.

The Redemptorist Monastery in Nha Trang, a coastal province in central

of Vietnam, was torn down on Tuesday July 7 to build Hai Yen Hotel, the Redemptorist Province of Vietnam reported.

The beautiful Nha Trang monastery was the eighth Redemptorist

monastery being established in Vietnam, following the ones in Hue,

Hanoi, Saigon, Nam Dinh, Dalat, Vung Tau, and Fyan. This monastery had been the dream of all, including the religious and secular leaders, as

well as parishioners, and even non Catholic residents in the area.

Its history can be traced back to the beginning of the 1930's, when Fr. Louis-Philippe Lévesque, the then Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré's provincial superior, was making his tour of inspection in the area from Aug 8 - Nov 27, 1934. During his tour, the Holy See's ambassador had made a suggestion of establishing a monastery in Nha Trang. His suggestion, however, was not followed through due to unexpectedly difficult circumstances brought by the Second World War.

After the war was ended in 1945, during the period 1949-1950, Bishop

Marcel Piquet of Quy Nhon diocese had repeatedly brought up the suggestion, but facing enormous difficulties as the war had just ended, the Provincial Superior finally decided to put the plan on the back burner indefinitely.

After the communist takeover of the North in 1954, as Catholic population in the South grew up quickly, on July 5, 1957, Nha Trang had been separated from Quy Nhon diocese to become a brand new diocese. Bishop Marcel Piquet, dubbed "a dear friend of the Redemptorists" had been assigned to be the Vicar Apostolic of the newborn diocese. During the same year, the bishop once again had asked the Redemptorists to help build a monastery in his diocese. This time his request had been warmly welcomed by the Redemptorist Provincial, since it coincided with the plan to dissociate the seminary from the Dalat Institute, and to build a pastoral center, with the intention to renovate the Provincial missionary activities as transportation into or from Nha Trang would be more convenient than Dalat.

The monastery was inaugurated two years later and had been continually

expanded during the next ten years. The last renovation, completed in

1967, made the monastery the largest religious building in the area.

On Dec. 15, 1978, while preparing for Christmas celebration, the Redemptorists of Nha Trang was forced to desert their monastery by local authorities.

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