Father Aloysius Rechsteiner, MM
Born: May 31, 1905
Ordained: June 16, 1937
Died: December 29, 1956
Aloysius J. Rechsteiner was born on May 31, 1905 in Jeanette, Pennslyvania. He received his B.A. at St. Bonaventure’s College in 1932 and after graduation entered Maryknoll. He was ordained on June 16, 1937.
His first assignment was to Kongmoon. Here Father Rechsteiner labored for nine years among the people he came to know and love and who came to know and love him. In 1946 he returned to the United States on decennial. It was during that furlough that he first developed health concerns, but he begged to return to China. With the consent of his doctor Father Rechsteiner’s request was granted and he returned to Kongmoon in 1948. Here at Yeungkong he resumed his labor of love until 1952. During this year, in spite of his efforts to remain with his flock, he was deported by the Communists.
After a short rest in Hong Kong Father was assigned to the Taichung Prefecture where he became first Consultor to the Society Superior.
In 1955 he was again home on furlough, not knowing he would never again return to the China he loved. In April of that year Father Rechsteiner fell ill and was taken to Divine Providence Hospital. Although he overcame this illness he had no hope of a full recovery. Knowing that he could not return to his mission was a martyrdom in itself for him. On the morning of December 29 death came peacefully, ending for him a life of joyous toil for Christ.
There have been many missioners whose lives were almost necessarily brought to the world’s attention by the mere force of circumstances. Their every action, no matter how small, was noticed and admired. Some were even given the gift of martyrdom as a crowning finish for their great work. But there are also many missioners whom the world will never know and yet they, too, have given their lives for the spread of Christ’s kingdom. Father Aloysius Rechsteiner was one of these.
Solemn Mass was offered on December 31 at Maryknoll. Msgr. William Kupfer was celebrant, Fr. Joseph McDonald, Deacon, and Fr. William North Subdeacon. The blessing of the grave was given by Father General.