This book presents a true martyr, an appealing martyr, a Marist martyr, Brother Joche-Albert Ly. His setting was the immense China and the Marist Province of this country that always prospered greatly from the number and the quality of its brothers and schools.
If Brother Joche-Albert is the flag bearer, other brothers also appear who, like him, are martyrs and who knew prison, hunger, forced labour, public judgements… They are present more in the annexes. All of these brothers arouse pride and admiration in our Marist hearts.
These brothers, particularly Brother Joche-Albert, had to face firstly virulent communism, which was imposed on China by the armed force; everybody came into its sights, particularly through what is known as “brain-washing”, the change of mentality. If that failed, there remained prison, public judgement and sentencing to death.
When you read the book, you realise its historical value. The first draft was dated 1953, only two years after the martyrdom; the final edition, in Spanish, was in 1960. The book was written by someone who had lived with Brother Joche-Albert and who had gathered testimonies from a lot of people who had lived a long time with the martyr, had been in prison with him and shared the difficulties and dangers of such a situation. There is especially a large presence of those who were close to him during the last period, that of the martyr.
The book, easy to read despite a style that is a bit quaint, has the worth of revealing to us saints from our own ranks who are admirable. Though we are often unaware of them, once they are known they consolidate our Marist identity and urge us towards more generosity.
Brother Giovanni Maria Bigotto, Postulator. CHRISTUS VINCIT (III)