The ideas presented here come from the dialogues Bro Marcel Van had with the Lord Jesus, with the Blessed Mother, and with St Therese of the Child Jesus (it is indicated who is speaking or sending the message) with whom he enjoyed spiritual conversations. Brother Marcel’s holy life did not rest on these conversations but rather on his deep love for God, his obedience to his will, and his commitment and service to others. He died as a “confessor of the faith” – one who lived his faith heroically in the midst of trials – in a North Vietnamese Communist prison where he strived to bring joy and faith to his companions, Catholic or not.


7. the children

7.1 van, apostle of children

I think continuously of the souls of children. Impossible for me to expel this thought (Col 343).

This is the specific mission of Van:

I know that my special mission is to teach souls to love Jesus, and that I must exercise this mission especially with the souls of children. As for the souls who imitate the virtues of childhood, they will have other apostles. However, it is only in heaven that I will be able to fulfill my mission


Marcel, let the children know the kingdom of heaven (Col 379).

Marcel: I first saw a very big cradle where there was enough room for two children. Then I saw my sister Thérèse, who brought a quantity of flowers which she arranged with great elegance, and then, without saying a word, she placed me in this cradle. I saw myself as a child, barely reaching the height of my desk and dressed in a beautiful Vietnamese dress. My sister kept caressing my head. I was there for a moment when little Jesus walked towards me in the company of the Blessed Virgin. He was twice as tall as me, and wore a very beautiful coat of the most varied colors

7.2 children are perfect

The souls of children are as pure as the angels of heaven. Hence the children always have in them the Holy Trinity and continually taste the joys lavished on them by the same Trinity …

The soul of children is a perfectly pure temple where the Holy Trinity dwells.

Marcel, my little brother, know that I live in him [the little Toa]. Mimic him; I love her so much. I’m happy with everything he does, and what’s more, I find it interesting. Little brother,

what is the perfection of children? Now all that remains is to teach little Toa to love me and he will be really perfect …

Marcel, see how many images he has. Whether they are beautiful or not, he sticks them all on the wall so that people can see them. For him, it’s something very interesting, while grown-ups see only bad taste and childishness. But I, Marcel, also find it very interesting, even more interesting than it is for the little Toa. This is the perfection of children. Whether it’s interesting or not, they leave everything outside, so it’s very easy for me to act on them …

Oh ! Dear little brother, happy children, because they received their share of heritage in the sky, empty-handed … Do you know why I often propose the example of children to lead men to perfection? It is that the children, by acting as they do, are already perfect; they only have to learn to love me and then they are really perfect. Any man, whoever he may be, must come to this point, on pain of not being admitted to heaven. The kingdom of God belongs to little children … Little brother, tell this to children; tell them that the true Father of heaven has already given them their share of inheritance, and that it is enough for them to know how to come into possession of this magnificent inheritance

Oh ! My little Marcel, you are rejuvenated day by day.

I have a special predilection for children; I am happy to be their friend. If they want to pick me up, it’s very easy: they only have to examine their own way of acting and they will find me immediately in them. I have already promised the children the kingdom of heaven; and this promise does not oblige them to anything. If I had forced them to fast, to give themselves discipline, to mortify themselves, etc., how could they go to heaven? … Marcel, the merciful Love has reserved for children a magnificent share. They have nothing to do but accept it.

However, Marcel does not fail to pray a lot so that the children can understand my Love and give myself to him as a whole. The world kills children’s souls in my own eyes and what can I do? These child souls belong to me perfectly and yet, the world delights me to make them the prey of the devil … Before my eyes, the children are for me an entertainment, the only entertainment able to console me and bring me to hug the world in my arms. Yet the world wants to inoculate the venom of sin in the hearts of children … […]

O my dear little brothers, I have called you and waited impatiently from the first moment of my conception in the womb of Mary. Because I love you, I lived your life as a child, I understood your condition as a child. Oh ! My dear little brothers, come to me … […] Come with me on the heart of Mary.

One thing I find very sad is that children who are still unaware of sin are usually taught to do harm early because parents are not careful.