Monday, March 16, 2015

review of "Blood of the Martyrs"

“This slender volume tells the story of Our Lady of Consolation in China (1883-1948) and Our Lady of Joy, founded by Our Lady of Consolation in 1928 and existing to this present day on Lantao, Hong Kong.

“The main focus of this text was to portray the suffering and martyrdom of many of their monks in 1947, 1948 and 1951 under the persecution of the Chinese Communists. Thirty-three monks from Our Lady of Consolation were martyred in 1948 and two monks from Our Lady of Joy in 1951.

“I believe that the merit of this volume is its conciseness and fidelity to the written accounts by witnesses and survivors, and to hearsay. One important aspect is the author’s clarity regarding which monks were martyrs of Our Lady of Consolation and which monks survived the Death March.

“I believe an added feature is the numerous pictures of almost all the monks who were martyred at the hands of the Communists.

“One more interesting note is the description of an interview, on pages 128-32. The monks upheld that God had created the world and humans, while the Communist doctrine upheld that “Labor created the world” and described “the part played by labor in the transition from ape to man.”

“The appendix contains ten maps of Our Lady of Consolation, the Death March, Our Lady of Joy in its various locations, and Evacuation and Escape Routes.

“One last observation: the front cover of this book is simply white with black lettering, and on the back cover is a simple red cross. There are no biographical remarks on the author, only a picture of her on the back flyleaf. Are these not examples of Cistercian simplicity and humility?

“I am very grateful to have read this book. Because of it, I came to a greater knowledge and understanding of our Chinese monks and the terrible suffering they endured for the love of God and their brothers.”

Review in Cistercian Studies Quarterly
Carol Dvorak, OCSO

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