Communist soldiers grabbed Father Antonius Fan, the prior, and dragged him out to the orchard. There, they drew a rope over his chest and under his arms, which they tied behind his back. Then strung up on a tree, he dangled with his toes just a breath away from touching the ground, for three hours, until his tormentors cut him loose.
Much later, on October 13, 1947, Father Antonius (b. 1885), a native of Yu Chou Hsien, in Chahar province north of Yang Kia Ping, ate what was given to him for the evening meal.
From the beginning of the Death March, despite the no-talking orders, despite the beatings, he recited vocal prayers without pause. His Ave Marias succeeded his Pater Nosters. His hands had been handcuffed behind his back, with the metal squeezed so tightly closed around his wrists that his hands and arms swelled. Then gangrene set in and attacked his flesh, baring the bones in his forearms. Despite the pain, despite the cuffs, despite the leg irons, during the march to Mu Chia Chuang three days earlier he had helped carry weaker monks to the new location.
But that night of October 13, almost immediately after he ate, he complained of a violent thirst. Fever and delirium soon followed.
In a few hours, he was dead. Poisoned.
VIVA CRISTO REY! 萬歲耶穌基督國王!