Apostle of Chinese Lepers Dies

Author: ZENIT


Apostle of Chinese Lepers Dies

Recently Brother Giordan Opened Two Colonies in the People's Republic


The Chinese province of Yunnan and Taiwan are mourning the loss of Brother Davide Giordan, 75-years-old, founder of the Camillus mission in China, and later apostle of lepers both in the People's Republic of China as well as Taiwan. He died at home in Penghu, Pescadores Island, south of Formosa, on August 15.

At Beijing's Request in 1952, after five years of missionary work, Brother Giordan was expelled from China. But 42 years later, in 1994, Beijing asked him to return to take care of the forgotten lepers of Yunnan province. The area allotted to the lepers is very poor and mountainous. The missionary, who was old, received the invitation as a great grace. The return to the Republic after such a long exile -- even for brief periods as he was directing an important hospital in Taiwan, meant looking after and rescuing from the realm of the forgotten people who were mutilated, marginalized, in a region with the highest incidence of leprosy in China: 600 new cases are reported every year.

Two Leper Colonies in Continental China From his base in Pehnghu, Taiwan, where he resided after his expulsion from China by the Communist government in 1953, Brother Giordan coordinated the construction of the leper colony in Yunnan, the most remote Chinese province. It was completed last year in the city of Zhaotong.

At the request of Chinese authorities, Brother Giordan had just finished the construction of the Qiaojia leper colony, which was preparing for the inauguration ceremony, when he suffered a heart attack on August 15. One of his companions found him at his desk in his home in Penghu, preparing notes on the condition of lepers that he hoped to publish at Christmas time.

The following day, the Penghu inhabitants and patients of St. Camillus Hospital, which was founded and directed by him, paid him homage. His body was taken to Loutung, in the northeast of the Island, where he began his work almost half a century ago.

Brother Giordan, was born in 1926 in the Italian locality of Schio. He became very well know both in Taiwan as well as Yunnan. He received the highest honors from the Chinese Red Cross, the Taiwanese government, and the Italian Republic.

"He was never tired, he never hesitated: he was available 24 hours-a-day for the sick. He answered every call, even at most inopportune times," a nurse at the St.Camillus Hospital of Penghu said. The hospital is the largest in the Pescadores Island. "In this city, anyone who is older than 40 has received his care," another nurse added. ZE99082406

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