Testimony of Hope: The Spiritual Exercises of Pope John Paul II
Every year, John Paul II selected a preacher for a course of Spiritual Exercises for himself and the Vatican's Roman Curia. For the Jubilee 2000, he chose Vietnamese Archbishop Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan. Testimony of Hope is the complete text of those Spiritual Exercises.
In this moving work, Archbishop Van Thuan addresses our need for hope at the beginning of the twenty-first century. As a prisoner in various Communist prisons for thirteen years, nine of them in solitary confinement, Archbishop Van Thuan faced what he describes as the agonizing pain of isolation and abandonment. Recounting the details of those long years, he reveals the secret that allowed him to cling to hope in the midst of despair. Archbishop Van Thuan's message to John Paul II is also for us: the hope he discovered in imprisonment is also our hope for the Church and the world at this momentous point in history. Faced with any darkness, we have a reason for confidence: Christ, Hope of the World.
Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan was made the bishop of Nha Trang in 1967, and in 1975, coadjutor bishop of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). Arrested only a few months after his appointment, Archbishop Van 7huan was imprisoned by the Vietnamese government for thirteen years and then released to house arrest. In 1991, Van Thuan was expelled from Vietnam. He went to Rome and began his work in the Roman Curia as Vice President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Since 1998, Archbishop Van 7huan has served as the Council's President. In 2001, Van 7huan was named a Cardinal. He entered eternal life on September 16, 2002.