Syria: Marist Blues of Aleppo
Saint John Bosco
1950, Creation of the Marcellin Champagnat Missionary Union
He was born on 8 February 1910 from a Christian family. At his baptism he was given the name of Andrew. He entered our juniorate of Beijing in 1921. He made his first vows in 1931 and his perpetual profession in 1935. From 1940 to 1944, he studied at the Catholic University of Fu Jen. He excelled in Chinese literature but he liked to teach Science. During his free times, he studied French and English till he mastered both languages.
He was teaching at Che Foo when the red army conquered the city. He was forced to spend several months studying Marxism at the improvised university of Lai Yang.
From the end of 1946, a long odyssey began for our Brother. In March 1946, he was expelled from our Che Foo College. He fled to Tsing-tao, then moved south to Shanghai where he taught till the middle of 1947. From there he moved to Shang-tung (The Chinese Tibet) to open the Ming Teh Secondary School at Tsing-tao. But in February 1949, he returned to Shanghai, then travelled to Chung-king, and moved again to Si-chang, where he was assigned as the superior.
The red army entered the city in 1950. Brother Joche tried to help his school to survive but he was sent to prison. Not seeing the sense of the little white host, the local communists allowed a priest to bring him communion. Brother had told the Christian community that he would be specially united to them during the morning angelus.
On 21 April, as a bell was ringing for the morning angelus, he was shot with twenty-four other Christians. A large crowd attended the execution and an official photographer took the picture of each martyr.