Bl. Maurice Tornay
FREE Catholic Classes
Author and Publisher - Catholic Online
Beatified By: Pope John Paul II
A native of Valais, Switzerland, and the child of solid Catholic parents, Maurice Tornay early showed a disposition to piety and prayer. After secondary school, he joined the Canons Regular of Grand St. Bernard. This is the order best known for its ancient Alpine monastery on the Swiss-Italian border, whose members are alert to rescue of snowbound transalpine travelers. It is they, of course, who breed as their "assistants" the famous St. Bernard dogs.
These canons-regular also engage in wider missionary work. In 1936 Maurice asked to be assigned to their Chinese missions. It was at Weixi, Yunnan, China, that he finished his theological studies and received training in the local languages.
Ordained a priest in 1938, Father Maurice was assigned to educate the boys of the minor seminary at Houa-Lo-Pa. To do this he had to become, as he wrote home, both a mother and father to the students, teaching them how to dress, how to kneel down, and how to pray. Back in Switzerland he had suffered from stomach ulcers and followed a special diet. Once in the mission field he skipped the diet and ate the same food as his pupils.
In the spring of 1945, Father Tornay, at his own request, was named pastor of Yerkalo. The Yerkalo parish was the only one in all mountainous Tibet. Tibet, at that date, was a self-ruling country. Strongly Buddhist, it was dominated both in religion and in politics by local lamas (Buddhist monks); and these were naturally not fond of Christian missionaries. Fr. Maurice nonetheless braved the dangers involved. He sought in every way to become a Tibetan among Tibetans, showing great zeal for his flock.
He had not been at Yerkalo many months when the local lamas struck out against him. They broke into his residence, confiscated the church and rectory, and forced him into exile.
Fr. Tornay took up temporary residence in Pame, China. Many of his parishioners came through Pame on business, so he was able to keep informed on the situation "back home". Through them he learned, to his grief, of the persecution of his little flock. The lamas not only prevented them from assembling for prayer but tried to force them to apostatize from the Christian faith.
As a shepherd deeply grieved by the trials of his sheep, Father Maurice did his best to hearten and protect them. By messages sent back to them through travelers, he encouraged his Catholic Tibetans to stand firm in Christianity. He also asked the Apostolic Nuncio and authorities accredited to the government to give what help they could. Meanwhile he wrote to his confreres entreating their prayers for the people of Yerkalo. As Pope John Paul II observed in the beatification homily, Father Maurice "in the spirit of his order, in which everyone risks his life to save people from storms, tried every means possible to rescue these pilgrim Christians of the "Asiatic Alps"".
Finally, Father Tornay decided to go to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, to seek audience with the ruling monk of the country, the Dalai Lama. He intended to beg from him an edict of tolerance that would protect Tibetan Christians in their free exercise of religion.
Unfortunately, the lamas who had ousted Tornay from Yerkalo discovered his plans and determined to thwart them, ambushing him and his servant on August 11, 1949, and killing them in cold blood.
Biography Provided By: Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish
St. Padre Pio
Find SaintsPopular Saints
Saints by Alphabet
Saint Feast Days by Month
Patron Saints by Alphabet
Saint Feast Days by Month
Saint John of the Cross was born Juan de Yepes y Alvarez, in Fontiveros, Avila, Spain in 1542. His father was employed by wealthy family members as an accountant, but they disowned him when he ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
Saint Josephine Margaret Bakhita was born around 1869 in the village of Olgossa in the Darfur region of Sudan. She was a member of the Daju people and her uncle was a tribal chief. Due to her family lineage, she grew up happy and relatively prosperous, saying that as a ... continue readingMore Female Saints
Saint Michael the Archangel isn't a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title "Archangel" means, that he is above all the others in rank. St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we ... continue reading
St. Gabriel is an angel who serves as a messenger for God to certain people. He is one of the three archangels. Gabriel is mentioned in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible. First, in the Old Testament, Gabriel appears to the prophet Daniel to explain his ... continue reading
St. Agatha, also known as Agatha of Sicily, is one of the most highly venerated virgin martyrs of the Catholic Church. It is believed that she was born around 231 in either Catania or Palermo, Sicily to a rich and noble family. From her very early years, the notably ... continue reading
Abbess and model of the conventual life. Agnes was a friend of the poet Venantius Fortunatus, who visited her in the Holy Cross convent in Poitiers, France. Recognized for her holiness and intelligence, she was named abbess of the convent by St. Radegund, a princess ... continue reading
San Alfredo fue rey de Wessex, uno de los siete reinos principales que precedieron al reino de Inglaterra. Se hizo celebre por defender su territorio contra los vikingos (normandos), por lo que fue llamado "El Grande" por su pueblo. REDACCIoN CENTRAL (ACI Prensa) - Su ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes
More Christian Saints & Heroes
by Catholic Online
- Taking the Kingdom by Force: Learning from John the Baptizer
- St. Mary Di Rosa: Saint of the Day for Saturday, December 15, 2018
- Prayer Requests Live for Friday, December 14th, 2018 HD Video
- Daily Reading for Sunday, December 16th, 2018 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Saturday, December 15, 2018
- Ohio 'heartbeat abortion' ban advances toward governor's veto decision
- Trial begins for priest accused of assaulting San Diego seminarian
- Prayer Requests Live for Thursday, December 13th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, December 15th, 2018 HD
- Prayer Requests Live for Wednesday, December 12th, 2018 HD
- A Personal Advent Thank You and Request from Deacon Keith HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education