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The Miracle of Hope: Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan; Political Prisoner, Prophet Of Peace Paperback – May 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pauline Books & Media (May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819848220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819848222
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,042,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Known to many Catholics through his writings (Testimony of Hope; The Road of Hope), Vietnam's late Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan's amazing story is told by a former fellow seminarian who knew him from the time the cardinal was 18. Chau initially declined the cardinal's request to write about his life, but in 1999, reluctantly agreed, finishing the book just a few months before the cardinal died in 2002. Chau has meticulously chronicled Cardinal Thuan's life and that of his prominent family, which paid dearly for its involvement in the quest for Vietnam's independence. To help the reader navigate through a complex cast of characters, Chau has included a glossary and an explanation of Vietnamese personal names. He portrays Cardinal Thuan as a humble man who gladly would have served as a rural pastor, but was marked for leadership in the church early on. Even as he prepared for this role studying in Europe, Cardinal Thuan had a premonition that he would suffer martyrdom, and indeed, after being named coadjutor archbishop of Saigon in 1975, he was arrested by Communist authorities. Thuan subsequently spent 13 years in prison, which shaped his spirituality and leadership. Although this is not a critical biography, but the work of an admirer who also wrote a biography of the cardinal's mother, it serves to introduce one of Vietnam's most venerable religious leaders to a wider audience.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Steven K. Szmutko VINE VOICE on December 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan was part of the Christian community of Vietnam, member of a prominent family of national renown, nephew of assassinated leader, President Diem, and an integral voice in the decades of conflict during the tragedy of Vietnam's fall to communism. His great spirituality, his imprisonment and torture for his religious and political beliefs, and his ultimate rise to become a Cardinal in the Catholic Church, are inspiration to readers of all faiths and nationalities.

The author provides a decent examination of the late Cardinal's life (he received the red hat from Pope John Paul II in 2001) with a solid background of his family ancestry, a look at his formative years, a chronology of his ministry and trials with an increasingly antagonistic government. Later exiled, his work at the Vatican and his writings have served to inspire Catholics around the globe.

Although the writer packs a lot of information into the 300 pages, in my opinion, the book lacks the sufficient critical thinking and analysis regarding the various issues that contributed to his ultimate suffering and sacrifice. The tone is respectful, even worshipful, but left me wishing for more information regarding the issues held by his opponents. As Bishop, Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan inspired a great love and affection by the faithful. However, the fear in the hearts of his opponents could have (in my opinion) received a greater examination. Further, his sufferings seemed to be somewhat sanitized in the book. While not seeking lurid details of his experiences, the book did not convey the true depth of his suffering. Additional information in this regard would have actually fostered a greater appreciation of the man's depth and character.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr Neil MacNeill on March 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
"The Miracle of hope: Political prisoner, prophet of peace: Life of Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan" by . Andre Nguyen Van Chau.

Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan was a brilliantly devoted man who was born into the talented Ngo Dinh Diem's family in central Vietnam. The book, which provides an excellent contrast to much of Dennis Warner's book "The Last Confucian," is a story about Vietnam in the Twentieth Century.

"The Miracle of Hope" is in two inter-connected parts and includes Vietnamese view of the geo-political influences that affected Vietnam until the end of the last Millennium. It was interesting to read that Diem was extremely reluctant to accept American suzerainty. This resistance and Madame Nhu's insensitivity towards the Buddhists, led to the assassination of Diem and Nhu by the American influenced Vietnamese Army.

Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan chose the vocation of the priesthood at an early age and he witnessed the Japanese occupation during his early years. After many years of training he was sent to Rome to further his studies. On his return to Vietnam his career was mapped out and he became a bishop just as South Vietnam collapsed in 1975. Thuan had planned for this eventuality and had trained many priests to ensure that congregations would be served by priests in the difficult times ahead.

As with many supporters of the failed South Vietnamese regime Thuan was gaoled, interrogated and subjected to severe psychological strategies designed to break him. Thuan's deeply religious beliefs, and an understanding that God had a plan for him, enabled him to beat the enormous pressure placed on his mental and physical health.

This is a truly uplifting story and readers will salute a brave and pious man who always thought of others even when his own situation was darkly grim.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brandon B. Justice on March 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is one of those biographies that is difficult to put down-even if history has made you aware of the ending. The sory is told in a very descriptive manner and gently informs the reader of the amazing place this family had on Vietnam and her history. The parts are divided into major events of Cardinal Thuan's life and was written while he was still among us.

Do not anticipate a super description of his POW days- it is obvious Cardinal Thuan conjoled the author into tempering and playing down that experience. There are amazing stories about his acts of courage and faith but they are not told here and are played down -perhaps too much for us, the faithful who thirst for those heroic stories in this century.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "ivebinhgood" on July 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
This man have suffered so much, he is the truly lived what Jesus told us, to love our ememies and he did. He suffered in jail for 13 years and never felt any hate or anger toward them. He is such a good role model for us, it wouldnt suprise me he would be made a saint one day, cuz he truly was one when he was here on earth, a living martryr.
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