Br, Joche-Albert Ly

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The fugitive from Communism found in the port of Tsingato, not what his heart coveted but rather, quiescence and a vast horizon. These magnificent privileges are offered by its bay, the most famous in the north of China. The soft breezes rejuvenated his mind, rebuilt his weakened forces. So once this aim had been attained, he went to Shanghai by order of his Provincial where he resumed his teaching duties in the French-Chinese School or Chung Fa, in the French concession. He worked with zeal, especially among the numerous catechumens, of which more is said elsewhere. But unfortunately he destroyed some souvenirs of the school, that were very much valued by the Marists, as they were part of their family heritage. That action was a relief of xenophobia badly repressed. (Gabriel).
A new order from the Provincial sent him in the second half of 1947 to Tsingtao. Here, partly cardinal Tien, then Vicar Apostolic, and partly the Mayor had put pressure on the Marists to open a high school. They also asked that the legendary Brother John Mary P’eng Yü Lien to be at the head of the college, a Brother whose peaceful exploits during the Japanese occupation, go beyond the limits of this monograph. Summarising, I shall only say that he was imprisoned by the invaders, condemned to death by a military tribunal, was miraculously pardoned, and then given twelve years of confinement; and finally, after some scares and prayers, the guards abandoned the prison keys into the hands of some bold Nationalists who that tragic night gave liberty to all the prisoners. Later he wandered, as a tramp for many months, until he succeeded in reaching in disguise Brother Provincial (Gabriel) in Tientsin. The Provincial advised him to rest for a week, and then gave him a letter of obedience – as his presence was rather a danger for his Brothers – telling him to abandon the part of China under occupation, and to pass, as well as he could, into “Free China”… The odyssey ended only with an apotheosis-like welcome granted to our national hero, by the Chungking people and government.
The influence Brother John Mary P’eng had over our martyr is undeniable, to an important extent because he had been under his charge, as well as because of his sound nationalism, his valour and his virtues. When the old Brother was telling me about his own episodes and souvenirs, he felt a manly satisfaction on the one hand, and on the other, a fraternal complacency for the qualities and the triumph of his subordinate.

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