St Paul Le-Boa Tinh (1793- 1855) was born to wealthy parents at Trinh-Ha village, Thanh Hoa Province, Vietnam. He was educated locally and at 12yrs, went to the Catholic seminary at Ke-Vinh.
St Paul Le-Boa Tinh, following his seminary training, primarily lived as a hermit on a frugal diet, prayer and mortification. With the direction of the local Bishop, he also engaged in missionary work in Vietnam and Laos.
In 1841, St Paul Le-Boa Tinh was arrested during a time of widespread Christian persecution and imprisoned in Hanoi for seven years. St Paul Le-Boa Tinh once wrote, “In the midst of these torments, which usually bend and break others, by the grace of God I am full of joy and happiness because I am not alone, but Christ is with me. He, my teacher, sustains the whole weight of the cross, burdening me but with a little and ultimate part: He himself does battle for me, not just as a spectator of my struggles; He the victor and perfecter of every battle. On his head is the splendid crown of victory, in which the members of his body also share”.
St Paul Le-Boa Tinh described prison life, prior to receiving a death sentence, “[as] truly a living example of hell: to chains, shackles and manacles, are added anger, vengeance, lies, obscene conversations, brawls, evil acts, swearing, slander, plus boredom, sadness, mosquitoes and flies… I write these things so that your hearts might burst with a desire to be martyrs, and that your prayers might strengthen me, who lives in the arena of combat”.
In 1848, St Paul Le-Boa Tinh’s sentence was commuted to life-in-exile in Phu Yen Province but by the end of the same year, a new Emperor granted an amnesty to all exiles.
Upon release, St Paul Le-Boa Tinh enthusiastically continued his Priestly ministry but was again rearrested in 1855. At his final trial, he was found guilty of being a Catholic Priest and sentenced to beheading. His final words on the next day were, “The religion of the Heavenly Master is perfectly true, even though our king and the sovereigns of other nations persecute it and wish to destroy it. But this religion will be victorious, and in the future, it will count more adherents than it ever has had in the past”.
St Paul’s Feast Day is 6th April. He was canonised in 1988 by St John Paul II.
St Paul Le-Boa Tinh:
Pray for us that we will accept the will of God.
Glory be to the…