6-His Brothers speak The voice of his Brothers is an echo of all the praises that we could gather and to the transcripts. Read the following paragraphs of two letters of the Marist Community of Sichang, written to the Provincial immediately after the events referred to. They contain some conventional expressions, that the reader will understand at first sight.
“As you know, he was taken away “under the shade” on the day of the Kings (the 6th January). The poor Brother suffered a lot at the beginning. The remedies used to cure him of his illness (mental illness, not physical) were violent. He suffered tribulation as a genuine son of our Venerable Father, for several times did he overlook his own sufferings and necessities in order to help those who happened to live with him. With them he would share and distribute whatever he had. In prison he was an authentic apostle. A certain pagan who lived in his company and received lots of favours, immediately upon obtaining his freedom came to the mission to offer his services to the Church. And he behaved in such a way that his friends tuck off again the glove to him, and it is probable that he may have followed the same path as Brother Albert. Beautiful trophy, to present oneself before Him, who is to be our judge!
Brother Albert has borne the trial with calm, the calm of the just. He is a hero cast in the mould of the first Christians, who would sacrifice their own life rather than betray their faith…
We kept on working for the well-being of the Church. We do experience in our hearts a deep sadness because we have lost a confrere, but at the same time we are consoled and confident, for we are certain that we can count him as our intercessor in Heaven.”
We have carried out the supplications for the dead as prescribed by the Rule, but we are convinced that from the very moment of his death, he has being enjoying the eternal happiness in Heaven. We entertain not the least shadow of a doubt that he died for his faith, no matter what others may say or do to complicate the questions.”
A second letter, this one dated May 6, 1951, vibrates with identical feelings, and proclaims Brother Joche Albert’s triumph in the faith:
“At this time the mission is passing through a painful period. Three of its priests are still kept under a cloud. Besides, the main block of the Episcopal residence has been sequestered by the authorities to give lodging to 200 rural people who are following a re-education course. It will last two months. The church is also occupied during the day.
Dearest Brother Provincial: we are now more united with you. We pray for you and the Province several times a day. All these tribulations do nothing but spur us on to fervor. Never have we been more religious that at the present moment and, thank God and the Most Holy Virgin, we feel proud of our faith and our vocation. Were our Lord to call us one day as he called Brother Joche Albert, be sure we will always be sons of Mary and we will sacrifice our lives with hearts overflowing with resignation and joy…
Pray for us, dearest Brother Provincial. May the Lord shorten the time of trial if it is his will, and may he give us grace and strength to fulfil his holy will…”
To such a powerful force of nature and grace there corresponds another ideal, that of the master teacher developed over twenty years with unsurpassable efficiency.
Glory to this lofty figure of the teaching profession, glowing with sublime virtues! Such an inspiring figure is leading his Brothers in religion and innumerable teachers of the youth. E may be presented as a model of pedagogues and missionaries.