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Oies and the Blessed Freinademetz

Those familiar with Badia are sure to have often heard the story of the Blessed Josef Freinademetz. He was born on April 15, 1852 in the district of Oies, and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Brixen/Bressanone on July 25, 1875. After working as a priest for two years in St. Martin, he left his beloved Gader Valley and journeyed to Steyl, in Holland, in order to prepare himself for his missionary work. A year later, in 1879, he traveled to Hong Kong and China in order to follow his vocation.
From then until his later death, he dedicated every day of his life to working for the Chinese people. He was never discouraged by the considerable difficulties he encountered; even the persecution and killing of many Chinese Christians did not dissuade him. At the start of his missionary work, his flock numbered approximately 160 Christians. By the time he died, this had grown to 40,000. Twenty years after his death, there were 200,000 Christians in China, spread over five dioceses. During his missionary work, the Blessed Freinademetz wrote many letters to his parents, his siblings, his friends, and his benefactors. He wrote about how very fond he was of his homeland, and he thanked God for the task he was entrusted with. But all of his letters also express his fear for the lives of his beloved flock. This oppressive fear caused him to pray constantly, to work without pause, and to diligently visit the members of his flock to preach the Word of God to them. Everyone who knew him testified to his deeply devout and kind character. But instead of blinding him to evil, it seems as though his good nature revealed to him all the sinners of the world. The Blessed Josef Freinademetz died at the age of 52, on January 28, 1908 due to a serious sickness. Pope Paul VI beatified him in 1975, and Pope Paul II canonized him on October 5, 2003. The house in Oies where he was born is visited by numerous pilgrims every year. In his room, numerous memorabilia are on exhibit, including Chinese clothes and handwritten letters. In the ground floor, there's a small chapel in which, until a few years ago, at least one Mass per day was celebrated. In 1995, a small church was built next to his house of birth to which many pilgrimages are made.
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