Br, Joche-Albert Ly



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10-Towards the West.
This time Brother Joche-Albert was delayed but a short while in Shanghai. The superiors were planning new foundations in the western province of China, as they judged them safe from the Red threat. They were thoroughly mistaken, like many other missionaries. But meanwhile they attempted to build schools in Kweiyang, Keichow capital, in Kanting on the Tibetan frontiers, in Kiating or Loshan, the see of the Szechwan diocese, entrusted to the Chinese clergy, and finally in Sichang, also within the frontier region. Other confreres preceded our protagonist and had to face dangers and manifold unforeseen incidents, so that the Provincial ordered him to take the plane to fly to Chungking following in straight flight the route of the Yangtzekiang River. Everything happened to his heart’s desire, and after a few days of rest in Shanghai, he tumbled as a surprise, at the beginning of March, amid his confreres in Chungking, although, his final destination was to be Sichang, more to the west. (Anthony and others).
The Marist Brothers enjoyed a long tradition in Chungking. They started there in 1902. And they had never discontinued the training of the youth, and with the waves of the immigrants during the Sino-Japanese hostilities, the prestige of their Saint Paul’s College gained international proportions, since the ambassadors and the representative of the belligerent Powers residing in that provincial capital, had placed in Brother Paul Amarzábal, a semi-superstitious confidence. And they had a magnificent three story pavilion set up for him.
Chungking stands on a promontory formed by the confluence of the Kialin Kiang and the Yantzekiang Rivers, and although very humid and hot, is the third port on the Yangtsekiang River in regard to the commerce that reaches its quays. Saint Paul’s College stands with one of the parishes, the Carmel and the Printing Office of the Mission, a secluded look-out post of tranquillity and beauty. Our future martyr spent half a year there, not without some apprehension of a gloomy future. From there he witnessed the Communist conquest of the whole of Central China, of the whole of the immense Yangtze Kiang basin up to its gorges, and there he awaited the events before proceeding with his march up to the ChineseTibet.
The director of Saint Paul’s had a different opinion. He named him Master of Discipline. He fulfilled this duty simultaneously with his teaching, and remained in the post, not without the assent of the higher authority, until he completed the school semester in July 1949. When the latter was over, he left for a place more to the west, as far as Sichang. He covered the three-week journey by flying for several hours. Ten years earlier, it took me (the writer of the book) nine days from Ya An to Sichang, and that was, slightly less than half the distance between Chunking and Sichang.
There already lived in this town, since the end of 1948, several Marist Brothers. But the superior, a virtuous man, understood that he was not qualified to face the heavy work implied in this particular foundation with its very new problems. Renouncing his post, he insisted that Brother Philip Wu, Visitor extraordinary in the West of China, should give him our hero as substitute; but he ordered that before withdrawing, he should complete the first semester in Saint Paul’s in Chungking.




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