The Liquidation in Formosa

Jan. 26, 1949 Fr. Johannes Ruethers SVD was appointed procurator for Formosa and therefore had to execute the liquidation. A bigger evacuation of China missionaries to Formosa no more took place, since in the Spring of 1949 the elder and sickly Fathers returned back by ship from Shanghai to Europe. Younger and missionaries able to work received their new work appointments already in Shanghai for Japan, the Philippines, etc. and also for further studies.

Some 12 SVD Fathers and Brothers temporarily stayed in Formosa. Their names appear in the financial report of Fr. Ruethers of Nov 15, 1949, namely the Fathers Huengsberg, Linzenbach, Stier, Heyer, Ruethers, Bernhard Braun, Kolanczyk, Kissel, Kosa, Rahmann and the Brothers Dennis and Flodobert.

During that time it never came to a full missionary approach, though Fr. Kolanczyk and Fr. Braun did supply work as chaplains; Fr. Linzenbach gave talks and Fr. Rahmann prepared ethnological expeditions. Shortly before starting out towards the southern mountain tribes he physically collapsed. All these missionaries left Formosa at the end of 1949, either to go back for a short visit to their home countries or to go directly to new mission territories. Also the newly appointed procurator received together with Fr. Bernard Braun his mission appointment for Japan.

After he had mad a report of the Formosa accounts on Nov 1949 he left Formosa the same year, and Fr. Kolanczyk was put in charge of rapidly finishing off the financial matters in Formosa and to sell the left-over lands and houses. However, this led to more losses, of which Fr. Ruethers already had warned in his report. Fr. Ruethers had written in his report: “Tasks to be executed by Fr. Kolanczyk, if this is still possible.” “It is about the accounts no. 19 20, 21 and 22. In all four cases this is about the selling of houses, which cannot be rushed if one wants to avoid big losses.”

 June 4, 1951 Fr. Kolanczyk sent the final report of the Formosa accounts to the Generalate: “In re: Formosa Liquidation.” A request by the Apostolic Vicar of Taipei, Joseph Kuo C.D.D., to let Fr. Kolanczyk stay longer in Formosa, was refused by Fr. General on July 2, 1951. By the end of July 1951 Fr. Kolanczyk left for the Philippines, and this was the end of the first period of the SVD in Formosa. The whole undertaking had been a big loss for the Society. Fr. Frijnts, procurator general, estimates the loss in Formosa to at least US $ 75.000,--.