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    Désiré Abbeloos - Jozef  Dobbe - André  Zijlmans

    Désiré Abbeloos - Jozef Dobbe - André Zijlmans

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    Désiré Abbeloos (1871-1900)
    Jozef  Dobbe (1864-1900)
    André  Zijlmans (1873-1900)

    CICM Martyrs

     Désiré Abbeloos, Jozef Dobbe, and André Zijlmans, together with many Christians, were martyred on August 22, 1900, in Tiegedangou, Central Mongolia, China.

    Desire Abbeloos

    Désiré Abbeloos

    J0zef Dobbe

    Jozef Dobbe

    Andre Zijlmans

    André Zijlmans


    André Zijlmans was born on December 27, 1873, in Waalwijk, the Netherlands. He was the third son of a grain merchant Adrianus Cornelius Zijlmans (1836-1906) and Adriana Maria van der Heijden (1842-1899. Maybe the fact that a distant relative, Joachim Zijlmans (1841-1901), had become a Scheutist attracted André to enter the Congregation. On September 8, 1893, André pronounced his first vows. He was ordained a priest on July 25, 1898. Less than two months later, on September 22, he took the train to travel to Marseille. A steamer brought him to Shanghai. Via Tianjin, he traveled to Beijing and Xiwanzi, where he arrived on October 31.

    Jozef Dobbe was born in ‘s Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, on May 19, 1864. He was a seminarian at the Beekvliet seminary in Sint-Michielsgestel (South of 's-Hertogenbosch) when he entered the Congregation. He professed his first vows on March 25, 1889. Three months later, on June 29, he was ordained a priest. On September 22, he left for China.

    Désiré Abbeloos was born in Opwijk, Belgium, on July 20, 1871. After finishing his humanities at the Minor Seminary of Hoogstraten, he entered the Congregation. In 1891 he pronounced his first vows. On July 19, 1896, he was ordained a priest by Mgrs. Roelens, Apostolic Vicar of Upper Congo, in the chapel of Scheut. He was eager to leave for China. However, his Superiors had other plans. He was tasked to teach philosophy to his younger confreres. In 1898 he received the joyful news that he could depart for China. On September 22, he took the train for Marseille, where he boarded a steamer. He arrived in Shanghai on October 30. From there, he traveled to Xiwanzi.

    In July 1900, Abbeloos and Zijlmans had to leave their mission and seek refuge in the residence of Dobbe in Tiegedangou. Initially, the Boxers did not bother the three missionaries. In August, the three confreres welcomed protestant missionaries – three men, three women, and seven children – who had fled their missions and were trying to reach Europe via Siberia.

    On August 22, 1,500 soldiers, divided into three groups, attacked the mission of Tiegedangou from three sides. All the Christians, about 400, the Protestant missionaries, and the three confreres gathered in the church to prepare themselves for martyrdom. The soldiers put fire to the church, and all died in the inferno or were shot dead, except an old widow. She was able to escape because a soldier protected her and let her go.


    Tiegedangou is one of the oldest missions of our Congregation in China. Before our Congregation was founded, there were already Christians living there. In 1876, Jaak Bax sent the first confrere Fr. Theodoor Ottens (1844-1929) there.

    The destroyed church of Tiegedangou

    The destroyed church of Tiegedangou


    André De Bleeker, cicm
    General Archivist