Today, I am very grateful to receive the sacred relic (the beard) of a Vietnamese Martyr from a friend.
St. Andrew Thong Kim Nguyenc. 1790-1855
In 1855 the Vietnamese emperor Tu Duc issued a further decree against the Catholic faith, ordering that every western missionary must be beheaded and that “his disciples must be beheaded with their master.” Tu Duc also ordered all churches, chapels, and seminaries to be burned down. Andrew Thong Kim Nguyen, of Go Thi, Vietnam, was a Catholic village chief and catechist who strove to bring his immoral grandson to repentance by his admonitions. The obstinate young man retaliated by betraying his grandfather to the pagan authorities. Following his capture, Andrew was urged to win clemency by apostatizing, but he adamantly refused to deny his faith. In the end, the judges showed a measure of pity toward the aged defendant, choosing to exile him rather than sentencing him to death. Nonetheless, the journey into exile proved too much for Andrew’s frail constitution. Before reaching his destination, he died from dehydration and exhaustion.