Our Lady of La Vang
Where: Hai Lnag, Quang Tri, Vietnam
Many people sought refuge in the rainforest of La Vang in Quảng Trị Province, Vietnam, and many became very ill. While hiding in the jungle, the community gathered every night at the foot of a tree to pray the rosary. One night, an apparition surprised them. In the branches of the tree a lady appeared, wearing the traditional Vietnamese áo dài dress and holding a child in her arms, with two angels beside her. The people present interpreted the vision as Mother Mary and the infant Jesus Christ. They said that Our Lady comforted them and told them to boil leaves from the trees for medicine to cure the illness. Legend states that the term "La Vang" was a derivative of the Vietnamese word meaning "crying out". Modern scholars believe it comes from the ancient practice of naming a location for a genus of a tree or plant native to the area, La meaning "leaf" and '"Vang "herbal seeds".
In 1802 the Catholics returned to their villages, passing on the story of the apparition in La Vang and its message. As the story of the apparition spreads, many came to pray at this site and to offer incense. In 1820, a chapel was built.
From 1830-1885 another wave of persecutions decimated the Catholic population, during the height of which the chapel in honour of Our Lady of La Vang was destroyed. In 1886, construction on a new chapel began. Following its completion, Bishop Gaspar (Loc) consecrated the chapel in honour of Our Lady Help of Christians, in 1901.
On December 8, 1954, the statue of Our Lady of La Vang was brought from Tri Bun back to the holy shrine. The Vietnamese Bishops Conference chose the church of Our Lady of La Vang as the National Shrine in honour of the Immaculate Conception. La Vang became the National Marian Center of Vietnam on April 13, 1961. Pope John XXIII elevated the Church of Our Lady of La Vang to the rank of a minor basilica on August 22, 1961