Saint Matthêô Lê Van Gam

statue of Saint Matthêô Lê Van Gam, date and artist unknown; swiped from Santi e BeatiMemorial


Eldest son in a pious Christian family. Matthew briefly studied at the seminary at Lai Thieu in the apostolic vicariate of Cochinchina (modern Vietnam), but being the first-born, family obligations caused him to return home. He married to a local girl, and was the father of four, two of whom were later murdered for being Christians. At one point he cheated on his wife; he repented, she forgave him, and he used the incident to re-examine his approach to his life and faith. He decided that the best thing would be become closer to the Church, to serve in his diocese, and to help the missionaries.

During the persecutions of emperor Thiêu Tri in 1846, Mattheo, a skilled sailor, smuggled a group of threatened seminarians out of the county to Malaysia. The authorities suspected him of smuggling contraband into the country, and increased their surveillance of him when he was at sea. Stopped on another run in July to saved some diocesan clergy, he managed to bribe some of the soldiers, but was arrested, beaten, whipped, and ordered to desecrate a cross to prove his renunciation of Christianity. When he refused, he was imprisoned for 10 months, regularly tortured, and eventually executed for the crime of helping the missionaries. Martyr.






Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Matthêô Lê Van Gam“. CatholicSaints.Info. 2 March 2020. Web. 27 October 2020. <>