By Rev. Mark Wesley Earl
Methodist Missionary Society
In the early days of camp life, we all stood more or less in awe of the Japanese guards who had such complete power over us. If they told us to do something we did it; if required to abstain we abstained. A loud grunt and a pointed bayonet struck fear into the hearts of even the most recalcitrant.
At this time, two Catholic Fathers gave us a fine example of the power of moral courage. As they were passing by the Guard House they saw an old Chinese peasant woman being cruelly ill-treated. She had been caught selling black-market eggs over the wall. Instead of passing quickly by, they went over and stood staring in at the window.
The guard, seeing them, stopped beating their victim and motioned to the Fathers to go away. They stood their ground. One came out shouting and waving his sword at them but still they stood there.
"Go away, what do you want?" he demanded.
"We want nothing" they said "But if it is wrong to beat an old woman like that then you shouldn't do it whether we are watching or not and if it is right, don't mind us but go ahead with your beating."
The guard went back into the Guard House but as long as the Fathers stood there the woman was beaten no more.
M. Wesley Earl
"Société du Verbe Divin" ! (???)
Which means: "Divine World Missionnaries"
The Society of the Divine Word (SVD) is an international religious community of Catholic missionary priests and brothers, founded in 1875 by Blessed Arnold Janssen. Members work primarily where the Gospel has not yet been preached at all or only insufficiently.
Internationality has characterized the SVD from its very beginning. The society's 5,800 members live and work in more than 60 countries around the world. The work which our missionaries do very much depends on the needs of the local church. We work in primary evangelisation, education, development work, scientific research, communications, biblical apostolate, and with youth, with refugees, with minority groups etc.
The Society's members work in Europe, North, Central and South Americas, in the Caribbean, in Asia, Oceania and in Africa.
The SVDs - about 450 of them in Weihsien - work in 11 countries in Africa. You will find them in Angola, Benin, Botswana, Dem. Rep. of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe.