Augustinian Servant of God
Abilio Gallego (1895-1933) as a young man dreamed of going to China to proclaim the Gospel, and even to shed his blood for Christ should that become necessary. His dream was realized, as this Augustinian missionary was martyred in China.
He was born in 1895 in Bárcena de Campos, Palencia, Spain. His family farmed and operated a small store.
Abilio entered the Order of Saint Augustine when he was only 13. He did preliminary studies, completed his Novitiate year and professed vows. After completing his study of Theology, he was ordained a Priest in 1920. During his years of formation, Abilio progressed rapidly in the spiritual life.
His desire to minister in China remained strong, so much so that his classmates nicknamed him "The Little Chinaman". In 1921 he was sent to China.
Once he had acquired sufficient language skills, Abilio began his work as a missionary. He became close to the people to whom he ministered. They considered him to be like their father, their friend, their teacher and even their doctor.
To help young people understand the Christian message, Abilio wrote plays, which the youths would present with enthusiasm. He continued to grow spiritually and lived very simply. The people gave him the name "The Poor European".
The revolution in China brought great difficulties, as the Catholic Church was subjected to persecution. Revolutionary forces destroyed the missions of Anfu and Nanshien. Abilio barely escaped with his life.
On August 22, 1933, Abilio and two Chinese believers, Andrés Chang and Carlos Liow, set out in a boat, planning to cross Lake Tungting to the city of Yochow, where they would celebrate the feast of Saint Augustine.
Their boat was attacked in the middle of the lake. The wrists of Abilio, his two companions and several other passengers were tied, and all were taken to the shore.
First Andrés Chang was killed. Then the chief of the captors took a knife and slit Abilio's throat.
The diocesan investigation in Palencia concluded November 30, 2004. The cause for beatification was opened in Rome December 13, 2004. Josef Sciberras, O.S.A., the Augustinian Postulator of Causes, oversees the progress of the cause.