Venerable
Gabriele Allegra

Tauworld

Servants of God

O.F.M.

He was born in S. Giovanni La Punta- Catania-Italy (26-Dec-1907) and died in Hong Kong (26-Jan-1976). In 1923 He joined the Friars Minor and in 1931 He went to China as missionary.  His great and monumental work was the translation of the Holy Bible into Chinese: it was a very hard  and tiring work, and He dedicated Himself to it until His death.

He begun the translation in 1935.  During the first nine years, He worked alone, translating the whole Old Testament:  its chinese text, with catholic   interpretation, still didn't exist after 20 centuries of Christianity!    In 1945, He founded in Peking a Sociological and Biblic Study Center,   in order to review His translation.  The Old Testament was printed in 1954 (8 volumes),  and the New Testament was printed in 1961 (3 volumes),  Father Gabriele organized meetings, expositions, biblic lectures and wrote also a biblic dictionary.  But He wasn't only a scholar... first of all, He was a missionary of God !

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The translation of the Holy Bible was His constant thought but, at the same time, he carried out an intense activity of apostleship.  He was never too tired for preaching, confessing, assisting the poor and the sick people, particularly the lepers: He used to spend all His holidays with them, as well as Christmas and Easter.  Father Antonio Lee, who was one of His chinese collaborators, tells that :" He worked and strained Himself night and day with all His might, always tireless,careless of the stifling heat or the intense cold. Even when He was sick, He was sitting in fornt of His desk, reading or writing...but, if someone came to confess, or to ask for spiritual direction, or to put a difficult case to Him, or to beg..., He was always ready to welcome him!   It wasn't a waste of time, nor an obstacle....quite the contrary! It was a spur, a great help for His work !".   Even when He was in a bad state of health, and He was too weak to live this hectic life, He didn't worry and went on, trusting completely in God's help.

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Once, father Gabriele wrote to a brother:"Everybody thinks that I'm sick: I can still work, so let's go on !  The ideal is worth more than life !".    In another letter, He admitted that:"The work upon the Bible is hard and intense, but I must work because if I stop, I won't never get up again...". Not only He  worked tirelessly, but also "faithfully and devoutly", in the way saint Francis  wants His sons to work.    Moreover, father Gabriel wrote:" I'm working only for the Church, and I'm sure that God won't abandon anyone who works for Him".

He had asked Our Lady for the grace of the martyrdom:"Dear Mummy, please, make me humble, give me the spirit of sacrifice and prayer, obtain for me the grace of missionary life and martyrdom.". Father Gabriele didn't get the martyrdom, but He obtained an equivalent grace: to die while He was working... In fact, He used to say:"The most enviable fate for a Franciscan who doesn't obtain the grace of the martyrdom, is to die while he is working".  And that's how He died.   Some days before dying, as if He had a presentiment of what was going to happen, He wrote:"Perhaps Sister Death will come and see me while I'm writing about the Word, or while I'm working on David's Psalms".  As a matter of fact, Sister Death caught Him commenting on the verses 18-19 of Psalm 54:"In the evening, in the morning and at noon, I moan and sigh, and the Lord listens to my voice, He saves me, He gives me peace from those who persecute me".

Info:
There is a new website entirely dedicated to the Venerable Gabriele Allegra, who is going to become "Blessed" very soon.

The address is: www.frategabrieleallegra.it

 

 

Christian Bpath Network