Br, Joche-Albert Ly



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13-The Autobiography
What missionaries, confessors of the faith, call their “curriculum vitae”, and this through personal experience, was processed among the students of Lai Yang all through the three somewhat short months. Every afternoon they would dedicate two hours to ruminate over their lives, scribbling sheets of paper, rectifying statements. There was no hurrying and the “spiritual directors” (permit me the expression for Communism is atheistic to the marrow of the bones) would cogitate over the necessity of a sincere and complete report of works, instructions, influences endured, social operations, vices and sins. Every mistake was called a ‘sin’.
Going down into multiple minutiae of the same – autobiography – the students had to enumerate fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, giving their opinion about each one of them, what means of subsistence they had had. They had to state the same about their intimate friends, co-workers and companions in the office, their hierarchical superiors and their subordinates, etc.
Concerning their personal life: birth, schools, colleges, universities, and teaching institutions they had attended, duties, offices, occupations, personal belongings, property, furniture, the family: wife, sons, the state and the condition of each one.
About their morality: monogamy, successive or simultaneous polygamy, concubinage, intimate friendships, politics, thuggery, intoxication, theft, acts of violence, without cloaking lowness nor excusing bad customs, religious and political ideologies, religion or sect exercised, offices and condition in the same.
A particular persistence required a declaration of the religious influences, origin and person, giving detailed account in the case of Catholicism and Protestantism, of foreign missionaries, their present feelings and beliefs, motive of their conversion, religious activities, etc.
Concerning this plan and in a minimum of two thousand words, they all got their biographies done, in plain style and in an impeccable calligraphy. Our Marists had been lectured through the repetitive instructions of the previous three months; neither weak nor lazy, they were ready to handle the little Chinese brush… and in due time presented the directors with their most complete “curriculum vitae”. As was indispensable, all the autobiographies were read before the assembly of the students, so that these might establish the veracity of the autobiographies. Those of the religious suffered nothing, it seems, other than the objections suggested by the “spiritual teachers”. But when all is said and done, they were accepted, while others suffered the greatest embarrassment of having to compose the autobiographies a second time introducing the necessary corrections and putting in additions as presented by those who knew perfectly their lives and miracles… nothing edifying. When the corrections amounted to too little, an annotation was made in the margin.




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