ONE of the most painful stories to come out of China in recent weeks is that haltingly told by Fr. Daniel Sicard, 38-year-old Jesuit from Bogota, Colombia. who arrived recently in Hong Kong after 1.1 months spent in an overcrowded and dirty village jail in the interior of China.
Because he insisted on praying he was subjected to abuse and maltreatment extraordinary even for Communist "penology."
Fr. Sicard was jailed in November, 1951, following the failure of the "Progressive Church Movement" in his mission at Lungnan, near Anking.
To save Communist face he was accused of beating up a Chinese workman.
The fact is that Fr. Sicard ordered some would-be looters out of his mission. Thrown into a one-room jail, along with 22 other prisoners, the priest was held for more than a year.
Twice a day the prisoners were given a pittance of food. Before each "meal" Fr. Sicard would make the Sign of the Cross and pray. This seemed to infuriate his jailers, who forbade him to pray. The priest replied that he had observed all the regulations of the jail. but that it was his obligation and his privilege to pray to God.
Banished for ever
When the priest insisted on making the Sign of the Cross his guards tied his hands so tightly that he could not move them in any way. As a protest against being tied up the missionary went without food for five days, and his jailers apparently became afraid and doled him. He continued to say his prayers and to make the Sign of the Cross.
In cold weather he froze for he was denied warm clothing; at all times he was forced to sit erect on the cement floor of the jail without being permitted to lean against the wall or against any of his fellow prisoners.
On December 7 _ the imprisoned missioner was taken out of doors for a public trial. For three hours he had to stand on a table exposed to wintry wind while his "sins" were reviewed and recited. The following morning he was told that "after due process of law" he was "banished for ever from China."
With hands bound tightly behind him. Fr. Sicard was put aboard a third-class train and sent off on the almost 1,000-mile journey to Hong Kong.
Fr. Leycester King,
Fr. John Lcycester King, S.J., whose death is announced on page 6, was born at Herne Hill, London. of non-Catholic parents. He was educated at King's School. Canterbury. and the City of London School, and then served in the Army for seven years. During this time he was received into the Church at Cairo, and in the following year, 1921. joined the Society of Jesus, He was ordained in 1930 and then studied psychology at the University of Prague. In 1934 he became Professor of Rational Psychology at Hey throp College. During the early years of the formation of the Psychological sub-Faculty at Oxford. he also lectured there and had his headquarters at Campion Hall. Since 1950 he has been Professor of Rational Psychology at Manresa College, Roehampton, where he has built up a well-equipped psychological laboratory.
For several years he was spiritual adviser to the Newman Association. For the association and for various other psychological and philosophical societies, he frequently lectured and wrote papers.
Last year he went to New York to lecture at the summer sessions at Fordham (Jesuit) University, and then attended the annual convention in Washington of the American Psychological Association, of which he was a foreign associate. He also lectured there at Georgetown University. Visiting Chicago, on September 16, he was injured in a car smash. and was flown back to England the following month.
Fr. Hugh, 0.F.M.Cap.
Fr. Hugh, 0.F.M.Cap., died suddenly on December 19. He had been ill for several months, hut was apparently making a splendid recovery.
Born in 1897, Fr. Hugh received the Franciscan habit in 1916 and was ordained in 1925 at the Peckham Friary Church. For several years he preached for the Catholic Truth Society, seeking new memberships and renewing old ones. He spent much of his priestly life in the mission and retreat field.
Canon Peter Taylor
Canon Peter Taylor, parish priest of Hathersage, Derbyshire. died last week and was buried on Christmas Eve. He was 63.
Ordained in 1914, Canon Taylor spent the first few years of his priestly life at St. Barnabas's Cathedral, Nottingham, and then became assistant priest at St. Hugh's, Lincoln. There he
remained until 1926, when he was made parish priest of SI. Charles's, Hadfield. In 1933 he returned to Lincoln as parish priest, and in the following year became Dean of the Lincoln deanery.
Bro. Raymond Buckley
Bro, Raymond Buckley, B.Sc., who has died at the Catholic Grammar School, St. Helens, was born 78 years ago at Frankford. Kilcormac, Ireland, and joined the De La Salle Brothers in Paris in 1889. Returning to Waterford, he graduated at the old Royal University in 1909 and taught in De La Salle schools and colleges in London, Waterford, Sheffield and St. Helens. Bro. Raymond retired from teaching in 1939 and became clerk at the school in St. Helens.