Feast of Blessed Joseph Boissel (July 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Joseph Boissel

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED JOSEPH BOISSEL (DECEMBER 20, 1909-JULY 5, 1969)

French Roman Catholic Missionary Priest and Martyr in Laos, 1969

Blessed Joseph Boissel risked life and limbs to serve Christ in the people of Laos.  His faithfulness and heroism led to the crown of martyrdom.

Boissel, born in Le Loroux, Ile-et-Vilaine, France, on December 20, 1909, became a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate and spent most of his life in Laos.  He arrived in that country in 1938.  Boissel and two other priests were captives for a time, starting in March 1945.  Nevertheless, our saint returned to Laos the following year.  Twenty-three years later he died there.

The Vietnam War was raging.  Hat-I-Êt was a village of Kmhmu refugees.  The area was dangerous for everyone, but Boissel, a catechist, and two Laotian Oblate Missionaries traveled there in a car anyway on Saturday, July 5, 1969.  North Vietnamese Soldiers shot into the vehicle, hitting Boissel in the head and killing him instantly.  Then soldiers threw a grenade at the car.  According to one of those in the car, one Thérèse, who was in the car also, suffered brain damage as a result and spent the rest of her life afflicted with intellectual deficiencies.

Pope Francis declared Boissel a Venerable in 2015 then a Blessed the following year.

Boissel is one of the 17 Martyrs of Laos.

I have heard a Roman Catholic priest describe the twentieth century as the century of martyrs, given the high rate of Christian martyrdom between 1901 and 2000.  This assertion is consistent with the additions of so many who gave their lives for Christ in the previous century to the Roman Catholic calendar.

I also think of Father Boissel and his companions, especially Thérèse, who was unfortunate enough to survive in misery, and stand in awe of their dedication to Christ that compelled them to risk everything to travel into a place of danger, to minister to refugees.  I conclude that I would not have acted as they did.  That is why they were better than I am.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 26, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM COWPER, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HUNT, FIRST ANGLICAN CHAPLAIN AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Joseph Boissel

triumphed over suffering ad was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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