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A martyrs victory in a spiritual sense

A Martyr's Victory in a Spiritual Sense

Bishop Francis X. Ford was a well educated, enormously gentle man, that

was kicked, beaten, insulted, and surrounded by hatred. All this because of one

mans beliefs. He was born in Brooklyn in 1892. He was the founder of the

Maryknoll Missionaries and was the first bishop of Kwantung, China. He was

killed in the late 1950's in China, he was charged with anti-Communist,

counterrevolutionary, and espionage activities, his real "crime" was for being a

Christian and a foreigner.

During his life Bishop Ford illustrated the cardinal virtue of fortitude,

which is the ability to overcome fear in order to pursue good; "it is an active

sake to overcome evil for the sake of gods kingdom" said Huggard. When he took

office in China, the country was already feeling the effects of the massive

Japanese advance across Asia. In a short time millions lost there lives and

were driven from there homes. Bishop ford refused to leave the war-torn country,

even after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into

the war. During this time he distinguished himself by the way he cared for war

refugees. Chinese paid a terrible price during this war with Japan, but even

more costly was a civil war that followed. Bishop Ford exemplified the virtue

of fortitude, by not leaving the war-torn country and staying to try to pursue


During this time of war, many would wonder what was the reason for him

to stay in China, and what was his why to live? In the Novel A Mans Search For

Meaning, Nietzsche says "he who has a why to live can bear with almost any

how". If Ford had left the country during the time of war, there would have

probably been no hope for the war refugees that didn't have the option to stay

or go. His why to live was not to save himself, but to save others. In the

Novel Frankl describes the human person as a meaning maker, who has the last

human freedom namely to choose one attitude in a given set of circumstances. In

1950, he moved from his Diocese in Kaying China, to a political prison in Canton

200, miles away. At every stop along the way he was put on public display and

humiliated. His attitude during these stops was not to give and let the

humiliation make get to him, but to use it as a stepping stone to fight harder,

he did the inevitable he used the humiliation to make him better.

In his life he examplified many of the things Frankl wrote about, but he

also depicted many of the quotes in the hallway of Kellenberg Memorial High

School. There is one quote that stood out to me more than any of the quotes on

the wall it is..........


Don't follow where the path may lead ......go instead where there is no path

and leave a trail". When Bishop was young he developed his own idealism. While

a student in Cathedral college in New York he took an interest in the Christian

Foreign Mission Society, this society was new and had few members. At the age

of 20, he became the first seminarian of the Maryknoll Missionaries to go abroad.

In time, many followed and the missionaries began a movement to Christianize

foreign lands. Bishop Ford is consider the pioneer of this movement. Just like

the quote said, he led the path.....and many followed. Bishop Ford died at the

mercy of those who despised him, with-out any comfort or support. His death was

martyrdom it's truest sense, despite the isolation and horror he held to his


Works Cited

Funk & Wagnalls. Microsoft Encarta: Bishop Ford. New York: Houghton Mifflin

Comp, 1994.

Welk, Donald. Asian Missionaries. Minnesota: Patch Publishing,


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