Lagging behind in the Death March, Trappist Brother Damianus Huang finally reached the village. With his arms bound behind his back, he could only crawl forward on his knees. Years earlier, he had suffered frostbite on his feet and, subsequently, walked with great difficulty. After his feet gave out on the march, he fell to his knees and could only drag himself along. The soldiers whipped him, kicked him, punched him, then threw him into a pigsty alongside the pigs.
Later, Brother Damianus was rounded up with five other monks.
“You are going to be freed,” the soldiers told them.
The six monks were taken to Pan Pu, just a short distance from Our Lady of Consolation. In the village, large-character posters displayed on the walls announced a meeting of the People’s Court. The names of the monks had been written in red ink – a symbol of death.
Twice the men were hauled before a People’s Court. Before a multitude, the manacled, handcuffed monks were accused.
They had to listen to the wild, brutal screams of false accusations against the abbey and against themselves. They denied the guilt. They refused to surrender.
At the second trial, the death order was delivered. Helpless, the six Trappist monks stood handcuffed and chained on a makeshift platform, targets of a frenzied hatred that surged toward them. The blood-encrusted, lice-infested men, wearing rags caked in their own filth, had nowhere to run, no one to help them. After six months of mind-bending interrogations and body-rending torture, it was over. It was all over.
The verdict had just been read by a Chinese Communist officer: Death. To be carried out immediately.
Hundreds of crazed peasants, with fists raised, with contorted faces, with spit-covered lips, screamed rehearsed slogans of approval for the approaching slaughter. Executioners – reliable Party henchmen – rushed to ready their rifles to exterminate the Roman Catholic monks, believers in the superstitious cult, lovers of the God on the Cross imported from the Imperialist West.
And so it happened on January 28, 1948, in the dead of winter in Pan Pu, an unmapped village, a frigid heathen hell in the Mongolian mountains, somewhere in the frost-covered north of the Republic of China.
Just over the ridge from the pandemonium staged by the soulless Chinese Communists – believers in the materialistic cult, lovers of the god of death and destruction – lay the charred ruins of Our Lady of Consolation, the once-majestic abbey the monks had called home.
Jostled in the madness, Brother Damianus and the other 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 Damianus remained faithful to Christ to the very end.
VIVA CRISTO REY! 萬歲耶穌基督國王!