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A Vietnamese Mary: Our Lady Of La Vang in History and Theology
This dissertation aims to study the history and theology of Our Lady of La Vang (OLLV). OLLV is the Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with her apparition at La Vang in Quảng Trị, Vietnam, in 1798. Holding the Baby Jesus in her arms, OLLV appeared to the suffering Christians who fled to the wild forest jungle of La Vang to avoid the persecution. She encouraged them to “have trust,” strengthened them to endure suffering, affirmed their prayers, taught them how to use local plants to heal themselves, and promised to be there for those who came to her. Devotion to OLLV soon developed and empowered powerful witnesses to Jesus Christ. The historical record shows more than 90,000 martyrs in the 19th century. My dissertation demonstrates that in understanding Vietnamese Catholics, OLLV became the ecclesial Mother of the Church in Vietnam, an exemplar of inculturated evangelization. This theology of OLLV inculturates the teaching of the Catholic Church, namely, that Mary is Mater Ecclesiae. This is an example of inculturated theology based on inculturated devotion. Devotion to OLLV has blossomed in the hearts of many Vietnamese people in many different times. In particular, the faithful devoted themselves to OLLV as they endured and resisted persecution, solidifying their corporate identity as the Vietnamese Christian community. Devotion to her is now a constitutively vital part of the life of the local churches and the faithful, both in Vietnam and in the diaspora, and the basis for further inculturation and evangelization.
Research Director(s)John C. Cavadini
Committee MembersCatherine Cavadini David Clairmont Timothy Matovina
- Doctor of Philosophy
- Doctoral Dissertation
- Theology (THEO)