Peter Phan, " Mary in Vietnamese Piety and Theology," Theology Digest 49:3 (Fall, 2002)

Vietnamese Catholicism bears the imprint of four centuries of missionary activity, especially the French Societe des Missions-Etrangeres de Paris, which left an indelible mark on Vietnam with its activities from the seventeenth century to 1975. Another influence was the Congregation of Mary Co-Redemptrix, founded by a Vietnamese priest in 1941 (170 members of this congregation settled in Carthage, Missouri, after the fall of Saigon, 1975). Alexandre de Rhodes, most responsible for the transcription of the Vietnamese language into a Romanized script, introduced traditional Vietnamese postures of bowing as part of Marian devotion. Two Marian apparitions occured, both during time of persecution: Our Lady of La Vang (1802) and Our Lady of Tra Kieu (1885), Vietnamese culture and tradition would welcome an image of Mary compassionate and all powerful, as a response to Confucian patriarchalism and to androcentric dominance. In a land where Catholics form less than one-tenth of the population, Mary could also be the topic of dialogue with Buddhism and Confucianism.

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