Blessed Joseph Boissel

Blessed Joseph BoisselMemorial


Born to a poor peasant family, Joseph was baptized on the day of his birth. His father died when the boy was 14. Joseph studied at the junior seminary of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate on the Isle of Jersey, and then on the Isle of Berder, France; he was considered a very ordinary student, and not very intelligent. However, he was pious, hard-working, and had other qualities of a spiritual leader, and so was sent to study in Liege, Belgium and La Brosse-Montceaux, France. He made his solemn oblation on 29 September 1935, and was ordained a priest on 4 July 1937.

Joseph was one of the first missionaries to Laos, arriving in October 1938, working with the Hmong communities in the mountain province of Xieng Khouang on the border of Vietnam. He won the admiration of the local peopel by hard work and care for the sick. On 1 June 1945 he was captured by the World War II Japanese troops, and imprisoned in Vinh, Vietnam in conditions that nearly ruined his health. Freed after the war, he returned to Laos in 1946, found that the mission had been destroyed, and immediately set to work to re-establish and re-build it. In 1949 he helped found the minor seminary of Paksane.

In 1952, Father Joseph returned to the mountains to work with the Hmong people, but the warfare between French forces and Communist guerillas in the region caused him to return to Paksane in November 1957 to help the refugees who were fleeing the mountains. With assorted breaks due to health problems, he continued his work in the area for another dozen years. On Saturday 5 July 1969, he and two lay Oblate Missionaries were travelling to prepare for Sunday Mass; the little group was attacked and killed by Communist guerrillas on the road. Martyr.



  • shot in the head while driving on Saturday 5 July 1969 on the road near Hat I-Et, Bolikhamxay, Laos
  • the killers set his wrecked car on fire, and his body was burned so badly he was almost unrecognizable



Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Joseph Boissel“. CatholicSaints.Info. 5 July 2021. Web. 17 October 2021. <>