Vénard, Jean Théophane, St.
VÉNARD, JEAN THÉOPHANE, ST.
Martyr; b. Saint-Loup-sur-Thouet (Poitou), France, Nov. 21, 1829; d. Hanoi, Vietnam, Feb. 2, 1861. Son of a village schoolmaster, Théophane studied for the priesthood first at Poitiers and then in the seminary of the paris foreign mission society, which he joined before his ordination (1852). He was sent first to Hong Kong. In 1854 he arrived secretly in Tonkin, where the Church had been experiencing violent persecution since 1848. Greatly impressed by the courage of the suffering Vietnamese Catholics, Théophane so dedicated himself to their spiritual needs as to endanger his own physical health and personal safety. When expelled from Namdinh (1856), he sought refuge in Hanoi, but the persecution reached there in 1858. Once again he was compelled to hide in caves, in the hulls of sampans, and in the homes of Catholics. On Nov. 30, 1860, at Kimbang, he was betrayed by a Christian. Carried in a bamboo cage, which remained his cell to the end, Théophane was brought to the mandarins of Hanoi, tried, and sentenced to beheading. In 1865, his mortal remains, except his head which was left in Vietnam, were translated to the Congregation's Church in Paris. He was beatified on May 2, 1909 and canonized with 116 other martyrs of Vietnam by Pope John Paul II on June 19, 1988.
See Also: vietnam, martyrs of. Feast: Feb. 2.
Bibliography: f. trochu, Un Martyr français au XIX e siècle: Le bx. T. Vénard (Lyon 1929). j. nanteuil, L'Épopée missionnaire de T. Vénard (Paris 1950). j. l. baudot and l. chaussin, Vies des saints et des bienheueux selon l'ordre du calendrier avec l'historique des fêtes, ed. by The Benedictines of Paris, 12 v. (Paris 1935–56) 2:56–58. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4 v. (New York 1956) 4:282–285. c. simonnet, Théophane: Celui qui embellissait tout (Paris 1983); Théophane Vénard: A Martyr of Vietnam, tr. c. splatt (San Francisco 1988).