"The late Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan, a prisoner for thirteen years, nine of them spent in solitary confinement, has left us a precious little book: Prayers of Hope. During thirteen years in jail, in a situation of seemingly utter hopelessness, the fact that he could listen and speak to God became for him an increasing power of hope, which enabled him, after his release, to become for people all over the world a witness to hope—to that great hope which does not wane even in the nights of solitude."
~ Pope Benedict XVI, from Spe Salvi ~
Doctors said Joseph Nguyen was dead. His heart rate was dropping beyond recovery, and all brain activity was gone. But while they wrote his death certificate, Joseph's parents were asking an old family friend for help: a Vietnamese cardinal who is being considered for beatification.
Joseph Nguyen has since re-enrolled in seminary. He's seen his own death certificate, now stamped “VOID.” He has only two memories of the 32-day coma, which he says felt otherwise like a “great night's sleep.”
During the weeks that he hovered between life and death in 2009, Joseph says he had two encounters with Cardinal Francois-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan.
“During my coma, there are only two things I remember,” he said. “The only two things I remember are two visions of Cardinal Van Thuan … He appeared to me twice.”
Joseph said he not only saw, but actually met and spoke with Cardinal Van Thuan, during two vivid incidents he described as a “separation of soul and body.” Although he said he couldn't reveal the details of the ecounters, he did say that he suspected that they occurred while his doctors were observing his loss of brain activity and decline in vital signs.
Joseph recalled that his experiences in the coma instilled “the virtue of hope” in his heart, giving him a message he hopes to share with those in desperate circumstances. “That's Cardinal Van Thuan in my life,” the future priest reflected.
~ Excerpts from here ~
~ Related posts about Cardinal Van Thuan ~
Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, Mother of all priests and our Mother, help us respond generously to the Holy Spirit's request, through the voice of His Church, to offer up to God Eucharistic adoration for priests. Amen.