Br, Joche-Albert Ly



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2-Interim in Yen Tai
It was an intolerable situation. Brother Provincial was sending the Brothers American dollars through the International Red Cross. Those were handed over by the Franciscan Sisters, the only ones authorized to do so and in strict confidence when meeting the representatives of the worthy institution. And yet the Brothers took advantage for imminent adventures. It was understood that they would have to abandon a town that availed itself of their teaching, But they would first have to deserve the honour of suffering for the sake of the Church.
On 28 April 1946, (some Marist sources advance this date and events a month or more) the authorities convoked a general meeting of the seven Catholic and Protestant institutions of the town, and published, by way of edicts, that preaching one’s religion and speaking of politics in the schools was forbidden. In virtue of that order the religious organizations were to close down, and the religious of both sexes lost the right to teach.
The same day they were told that all the directors and the prefects of discipline were to be replaced by Communists. At three in the afternoon the new director assembled teachers and students to ask them their opinion. After loudly praising the regime and having explained the freedom of the people, he informed them that the name of the school and the college had been changed. When this was announced, some little children with childlike candour retorted: “Our school has been in existence for 39 years; we don’t want to have its name changed!”
In order to win over some and to calm down others the Communist director announced: “The Brothers will leave forever and the Communist government will exempt you from paying registration. It will do more still: the sum will be returned to those who had already paid it.” The children again retorted with vehemence: “We don’t want that money! We offer it to the Brothers to pay for their journey.”
The intransigent mighty lay down the law. The following day, April 29, there was a student strike. The senior students marched in close ranks through the town, singing loudly in front of the civil administration buildings – the residence of the Mandarin – and before the school. Their reaction against the arbitrary decisions of the Reds and their injustice became so manifest, that only Brother Albert Ly succeeded in cooling down the spirits of the students. He spoke to them with the authority and the power that he held over them.
That same day, the 29th, various Communist elements managed to infiltrate themselves into the school where there were 15 Marists, and although these had obtained some arrangement from the higher authority to find lodging in an empty house within three days, the Communists did not allow them that much time. Before nightfall, the police took possession of the school buildings. The Marist were thrown out of their rooms and out of their schools without giving them any convenient lodging. All the same, the Christians and some pagans showed them sympathy and lodged them by hook or by crook in their own house supplying them food as well. One Catholic family stood out in this charitable deed sharing its lodging and provisions with the Brothers.




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