Oblates of Mary Immaculate Seek Testimonies of 9 Martyrs of Laos

Died Under the Communists

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ROME, JUNE 9, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Oblates of Mary Immaculate have begun the research necessary to present the beatification cause of nine people martyred in Laos in the years 1954-1970.



"The provisory list of those who we wish to present to the Holy See has nine names, to which we might add some members of the Foreign Mission of Paris," writes vice postulator Father Angelo Pelis, in a letter sent to members of the congregation.

The objective is to gather the testimonies of those who had known the victims of Communist persecution against the Catholic Church and to gather the documents before more time passes, the VID Web page of religious communities reports.

Out of the first group of nine, six are French and Italian Oblate missionaries, two lay catechists and the last one is a local diocesan priest.

"Responding to the explicit request of Laos bishops, the Oblate family wishes to begin without further delay the long process that one day, we hope, will bring their registration in the official catalogue of saints who died for their faith in Christ," the vice postulator writes.

The Oblates' superior general has entrusted to the French and Italian provinces the preparation of the diocesan process.

"Firsthand documents about the circumstances of their death are particularly precious," said Father Pelis. "In fact, our candidates had not been condemned in a public process and, thus, it is practically impossible to obtain direct testimonies about their last moments of life.

"With respect to the documents regarding their life and ministry during the preceding years, those will also be useful to know their personalities better, and to establish which were their habitual interior dispositions that led them to martyrdom."