One of the few Europeans from Our Lady of Consolation, Father Aelredus Drost, born in 1912, in Amsterdam, had been gifted with a beautiful singing voice.
After the Communist soldiers learned of his talent, they often demanded that he entertain them with songs from his native country. Covered in filth, in chains, in the dark, in the cold, in the rain-drenched jail cell, the humble monk obeyed his captors, and the Mongolian mountains of northern China resounded with the beautiful songs of the Netherlands.
In Huang Hua Kou, Father Aelredus, after all the beatings during interrogations, lost his ability to move. During the Death March, he had developed colic and grew so weak that his pace slacked behind the others, which infuriated the Communists, who clubbed him and hit him with rocks.
His legs swelled until the skin split, opening sores that developed into ulcers, which, going uncared for, penetrated deeper until the white of his bones showed through. Afflicted with dysentery, he needed to go out often. But rarely given permission, he frequently soiled his trousers. His only pair, he would wash them in the bitter cold then put them back on – wet.
Of all the monks, he had been the one who always knew if it were a Sunday or a feast day, and each day he recited his breviary by heart.
But finally unable to do anything for himself, his brethren tried to aid him, as he slept restlessly, muttering in Dutch, his native language. At the abbey, he had been master of novices, and because of his serene, patient and sweet character, he was much loved and tenderly nursed in captivity.
“Leave him alone!” shouted one of the guards. “Don’t help that foreign dog!”
On December 5, 1947, Father Aelredus died. He had been the last European survivor of the Death March. Far from his family, he had been one of seven boys. Four became priests – two Trappists.
VIVA CRISTO REY! 萬歲耶穌基督國王!