For a few of the monks, the Death March through the mountains of norther China was coming to an end.
Brother Joannes Maria Miao and five of his confreres were rounded up, on January 20, 1948.
“You are going to be freed,” the soldiers told them.
Jostled in the madness, the monks fell to their knees. With their swollen hands tied and chained behind their backs, they couldn’t even cross themselves – In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost – a final time.
The death squad – Communist soldiers at the ready – loaded their rifles with fresh rounds of ammo.
Shots rang out. One, then the next, followed by the next, the monks collapsed upon the blood-splashed, frozen ground. Their lifeless bodies, dragged to a nearby sewage ditch and dumped into a heap, one on top of the other.
Alerted by the shots, wild dogs, roaming the village’s dirt roads, scavenging for scraps, hurried over to the bodies to investigate. Sniffing, they lapped up the warm blood, steaming in the icy air.
Brother Joannes Maria Miao (b. 1919), from the city of Hai Men, in Chiangsu (old form of Jiangsu) province, on the north bank of the Yangtze River delta, would never return home.
VIVA CRISTO REY! 萬歲耶穌基督國王!