Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
February 9, 2009
Br. Jacques Nguyen Van Linh: Vietnamese brother built up his community
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON Ė A religious brother who fled religious persecution in his homeland gave nearly 20 years of his life to building up the Vietnamese community in Edmonton.
Brother Jacques Nguyen Van Linh, 86, was known for everything from serving monkey bean coffee to guests, to conducting penny and clothing drives for orphans in Vietnam and Africa.
Linh died Jan. 12 and his funeral took place at Queen of Martyrs Church Jan. 17.
Born Oct. 15, 1922, into a Vietnamese farming family, Linh joined the Congregation of the Holy Family in Banam, Cambodia, at age 13. He made his final vows on Aug. 29, 1952.
He studied in Phnom Penh, graduating with his high school diploma and then directed high schools in various capacities until the communist government nationalized Catholic schools.
Linh fled to freedom on an April night in 1979 crowded into a small boat with 11 other people. After seven days at sea, they landed on an island in Malaysia and he became a refugee.
Even there, Linh witnessed his faith, organizing catechism and conducting RCIA classes.
Linh came to Canada in February 1980 and Archbishop Joseph MacNeil placed him in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Sherwood Park where he served until 1999.
The holy manís generosity and assistance to Vietnamese refugee families is legendary as he translated, filled out various government forms and drove them to the doctors. Whatever the Vietnamese people needed, he did cheerfully.
He also helped found the Catholic Friendship Club, Dac Lo school and Vietnamese Resettlement Association.
The resettlement association sponsored and settled eight people in Edmonton. One was Father Peter Tran who now serves on the Saddle Lake Reserve in the St. Paul Diocese.
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