Giuseppe Alessandro was born in Senglea, the son of Salvatore and Carmela née Scerri. He was brother to Alexander Alessandro*. Giuseppe Alessandro studied at the Lyceum and joined the Franciscan Friar Minors, receiving the name of Vittorio. He studied Theology in Toscana and was ordained priest on 29 June 1924.

Alessandro wished to join the missions, and after a course in missionology in Rome, he was sent to China in 1928. He learnt Chinese and for 18 years he did pastoral work in Hankow. He also taught Latin, Sacred Scripture and Italian in the Seminary where he was rector for some time.

He was in a Japanese concentration camp during World War II but was freed after 3 months, thanks to his bishop’s intervention. He wished to return to China after a short visit to Malta in 1946, but was not allowed to return by the Communist regime of Mao Tse Tung. He, thus, decided to go to work with the Maltese migrants in Australia for two years until he joined the missions in Guatemala and El Salvador. He spent another six years in the missionaries and was asked by his superiors to go and help the Maltese Franciscans who had just started a new parish in San Francisco, California. Here Alessandro worked for 21 years.

He retired in Malta after 60 years of missionary work, and was resident at the Christus Sacerdos Home, Dar tal-Kleru, Birkirkara, where he died at the age of 82 years, and was buried at the Addolorata Cemetery.

This biography is part of the collection created by Michael Schiavone over a 30-year period. Read more about Schiavone and his initiative here.

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