On Saturday October 20 the Allegra family visited our Studium Biblicum and our Franciscan House in Waterloo Road , Hong Kong. Fr. Gabriele had three sisters and two brothers. All three sisters embraced religious life (two FMM and one Orsolina); one of them (FMM) is still alive. One of the two brothers had three children and the other one had eight children. Seven of his nephews and nieces came to Hong Kong to see their uncle's places.
They revealed to us their love and affection for fr. Gabriele and his work in China for the Word of God. Some of them just saw him once or twice, but his memory is still very impressed in their mind and heart, because he had a special attention for all of them. One of the nieces told me that everyone had the impression to be his own favorite. He never forgot to write to them for their birthdays and other special feasts. One of the nieces, who is FMA (Salesian) Sister, told me that she received from him more that 100 letters.
They were very impressed to see the place and some objects in Studium Biblicum . They already knew these things from fr. Gabriele's letters, for example the two images of St. Francis and Our Lady of Sorrow in the chapel and also the little baby Jesus from Holy Land. They even told me the story of the friar who carved that little baby Jesus in Holy Land.
Some Hong Kong friends, who last summer went to Sicily to visit fr. Gabriele's native place, were also present. It was a nice exchange of friendship and faith gifts. We also went to visit Canossa Hospital , where fr. Gabriele died, Hong Kong cathedral, one of whose stain-glasses represent fr. Gabriele, and the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrow in Shatin, whom fr. Gabriele always followed with paternal care since his first experience in China in Hunan Province. We concluded our day with a nice dinner offered by the Sisters.