Our Lady of La Vang
Our Lady of La Vang was a reported Marian apparition (a supernatural appearance of the Virgin Mary) in Vietnam. The appearance was reported at a time when Catholics were being persucted and killed in Vietnam. In Vietnamese she is called Đức Mẹ La Vang or Mẹ La Vang.
|Our Lady of La Vang|
|Location||La Vang, Quang Tri Province, Vietnam|
|Witness||group of Vietnamese Catholics|
|Holy See approval||still pending.|
|Shrine||Minor Basilica of Our Lady of La Vang|
Modern scholars believe the name came from a plant in the area (La means "leaf" and Vang means "herbal seeds"). Others believe the name came from a Vietnamese word that meant "crying out" as if the Vietnamese Catholics at that time were "crying out" to God for help. Some believe the name came from the rainforest's name La Vang.
Fearing the spread of Catholicism, Emperor Canh Thinh banned the practice of Catholicism. Soon thereafter the emperor made an anti-Catholic edict which made the practice of Catholicism punishable by death. Many Catholics sought refuge in the rainforest of La Vang in Quang Tri Province. While hiding in the rainforest, the small community would gather every night at the foot of a tree and pray. One night, an apparition surprised them. In the branches of the tree, a lady dressed in the traditional Vietnamese dress (ao dai), holding an infant in her arms with two angels beside her, appeared. The people who witnessed this apparition said that the lady and the infant was the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus. They said that the lady comforted them and told them to boil the leaves from the tree for medicine to cure the illness.
In 1802, many of the Catholics went back to their villages, spreading the story of the apparition. Soon, many people came back to the site to offer incense and to pray. In 1820, a chapel was built. From 1830- 1885 another wave of persecutions decimated the Catholic population. The chapel of Our Lady of La Vang was destroyed and in 1886 a new chapel was built.
There is no official recognition from the Vatican for this as a "Marian apparition". Although there is no official recognition, Pope John Paul II publicly recognized the importance of Our Lady of La Vang and expressed a desire to rebuild the La Vang Basilica to honor the 200th anniversary of the first apparition.