Fr. Louis Leroy, OMI-A true Father of Courage

Father Louis Leroy, O.M.I. was born in 1923 in rural France. While working on his family farm as a young man, Fr. Leroy dreamed of a life serving God far away from the French countryside.

Less than a year after his ordination in 1952, he was on a boat headed for Laos as a Missionary Oblate. He was assigned to some of the most isolated and inaccessible parts of the country, walking as much as 2,000 miles a year to find the poorest of the poor.

In addition to caring for their spiritual needs, Fr. Leroy provided basic medical care for the sick and injured in places where there were no doctors or nurses. “I’m very happy with my hard, but splendid missionary life,” Fr. Leroy wrote in his diary.

But the work of Fr. Leroy and other Oblates in Laos was not welcomed by everyone. When they learned that they’d become targets of Communist guerillas, they knew their lives were in danger.

Still, they refused to leave their flock—even in the face of the greatest sacrifice. And when a detachment of guerilla soldiers appeared in his church on April 18, 1961, Fr. Leroy faced his destiny with courage.

In December 2016, Fr. Louis Leroy, O.M.I. was declared Blessed by the Catholic Church, a major step on the path to sainthood. Father Leroy was one of six Oblate priests that were beatified for their martyrdom as missionaries in Laos.