Holy Mothers in the Vietnamese Diaspora: Refugees, Community, and Nation
2. Background on Catholicism and Caodaism in Vietnam
3. The Religious Significance of Holy Mothers
3.1. Our Lady of Lavang
3.2. Caodai Mother Goddess
4. Vietnamese Holy Mothers and Community Centralization in the Diaspora
4.2. Our Lady of Lavang
4.3. The Caodai Mother Goddess
Conflicts of Interest
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I use “worship,” “venerate” and “honor” interchangeably in this paper. I am aware that the meanings of these words vary across different religious traditions. For example, Vietnamese Catholics worship only God and venerate or honor other religious figures, including the Virgin Mary. On the other hand, Vietnamese Caodaists worship and venerate both the (male) Supreme Being and the Mother Goddess as complementary spiritual entities.
There are 54 officially-recognized ethnic groups in Vietnam.
Caodaism has several sects. This paper focuses on the largest one, which is the Tay Ninh Caodai group.
Lavang is approximately 60 km north of Hue (the former capital of Vietnam) in central Vietnam.
On 13 June 1992, Vietnamese American Caodaists officially declared the establishment of the “Religious Province of California” (Châu Đạo California) at the Vietnamese Convention Center in Westminster City. Under the leadership of a former dignitary who was ordained by the pre-1975 Caodai Holy See, Thuong Mang Thanh, the religious province functioned as the umbrella organization and representative of all other denominational Tay Ninh Caodai religious centers in California. At the time of its establishment, member temples included one Caodai God temple in Westminster, another one in Sacramento, and a Mother Goddess shrine and Caodai God temple in San Jose. It was the highest and largest Caodai organization outside of Vietnam.
The Religious Province of California quickly became the public face of the Caodai community, representing it at events such as neighborhood parades and city council meetings. It mediated connections and exchanges among Caodaists dispersed throughout the world, as exemplified through its regular publication of the Qui Nguyen magazine, maintenance of a popular website, and the distribution of CDs on community activities. The religious province also organized and hosted a number of important national and international events, including meetings among overseas Caodai dignitaries and summer youth retreats.
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Ninh, T.-H. Holy Mothers in the Vietnamese Diaspora: Refugees, Community, and Nation. Religions 2018, 9, 233. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080233
Ninh T-H. Holy Mothers in the Vietnamese Diaspora: Refugees, Community, and Nation. Religions. 2018; 9(8):233. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080233Chicago/Turabian Style
Ninh, Thien-Huong. 2018. "Holy Mothers in the Vietnamese Diaspora: Refugees, Community, and Nation" Religions 9, no. 8: 233. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080233