The Road of Hope is a collection of messages written by Vietnamese Cardinal Francis Xavier Van Thuan, who Matthew Kelly calls a modern-day legend. Van Thuan wrote the manuscript for The Road of Hope during his thirteen years of imprisonment (nine of which were spent in isolation cells).
He wanted to send a message of encouragement from an imprisoned father to his children. The book contains 1,001 short “pensees”—short, numbered paragraphs of encouragement and spiritual counsel.
The pages of the manuscript were smuggled out of Vietnam while Cardinal Van Thuan was imprisoned and secretly printed as The Road of Hope. It was instantly popular with the Vietnam people (both Christians and non-Christians) despite the government’s attempts to halt its distribution.
Many of the “Boat People” brought this book with them on their perilous journey. The book was translated into English and French, where it also met with instant popularity.
Cardinal Van Thuan spent the last fourteen years of his life in Rome, and during that time he was able to revise and edit the book into its present form.