Archive for the ‘Blessed Maurice Tornay’ Tag

Feast of Blessed Maurice Tornay (August 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Maurice Tornay

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BLESSED MAURICE TORNAY (AUGUST 31, 1910-AUGUST 11, 1949)

Swiss Roman Catholic Missionary to Tibet, and Martyr, 1949

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To fulfill my vocation to leave the world and devote myself entirely to the service of souls to lead them to God, and save myself.

–Blessed Maurice Tornay, 1932

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

One of the recurring problems in Christian history has been that imperial incursions have led to hostility to foreigners, thereby making life and work more perilous for missionaries.  Another reason for this has been that many missionaries have, unfortunately, been more agents of their empire than of Christ.  That reality has made matters worse for the missionaries who have not been imperial agents.  The British invasion of Lhasa, Tibet, in 1904 led to anti-Christian sentiment and violence in Tibet.  Buddhist monks attacked missionaries.  Blessed Maurice Tornay had to contend with such hostility.

Tornay, born in Rosière, Valais, Switzerland, on August 31, 1910, was devout from an early age.  The seventh child (of eight) of Jean-Joseph Tornay and Faustina Dossier grew up in a pious family.  He was also a fine student, especially of French literature, as well as the writings of St. Francis de Sales and St. Therésè of Lisieux.

Tornay joined the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine, Hospitallers of Saint Nicholas and Grand-St-Bernard of Mont Joux.  He, a novice from August 25, 1931, made his first vows on September 8, 1932, and his final vows in 1935.  Surgery for a stomach ulcer, followed by recuperation, interrupted preparation for missionary work in 1934, but he, healed, headed for the borderlands of Tibet and China in 1936.

At Weixi, Yunnan, China, Tornay continued preparation.  He learned the local language, studied dentistry, medicine, and theology, and prepared for the priesthood.  Our saint, ordained in Hanoi on April 24, 1938, founded and led the Houa-Lo-Pa seminary.  The Japanese invasion of 1939 forced him to resort to begging to acquire food for his students.

In 1945 Tornay became the pastor of the Yerkalo mission in Tibet.  The Thirteenth Dalai Lama had died in 1933.  The Fourteenth Dalai Lama, born in 1935, although enthroned in 1940, did not begin to rule until 1950.  Anti-Christian persecution forced Tornay to leave Tibet and seek diplomatic pressure to intervene with the Tibetan government.  All diplomatic intervention failed.  On August 11, 1949, our saint was en route to Lhasa, to seek a meeting with the Tibetan government, when guards ambushed and shot him at To-Thong, Tibet.  He was 37 years old.

Pope John Paul II declared Tornay a Venerable in 1992 then a Blessed the following year.

I recall a scene from The Needs of Earth, an episode of Crusade (1999), a series the TNT channel never gave a chance.  In the scene Captain Matthew Gideon of the Starship Excalibur tells an alien,

When Mozart was my age, he was dead.

When Blessed Maurice Tornay was my age, he was dead.  And what he had done for the glory of God puts me to shame.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 15, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN ELLERTON, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CARL HEINRICH VON BOGATSKY, HUNGARIAN-GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DOROTHY FRANCES BLOMFIELD GURNEY, ENGLISH POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT LANDELINUS OF VAUX, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; SAINT AUBERT OF CAMBRAI, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; SAINT URSMAR OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MISSIONARY BISHOP; AND SAINTS DOMITIAN, HADELIN, AND DODO OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty and everlasting God we thank you for your servant Blessed Maurice Tornay,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of China and Tibet.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns with

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 716

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++