Bonnici, Aloysius (11.2.1893-21.3.1958)
Salesian missionary in China
Born in Sliema, Bonnici lost his father Thomas at the age of 7. In 1905 he entered St Patrick's School, Sliema.
In 1910 Bonnici joined the Salesian Brothers and started his novitiate year at San Benigno Canavese in Italy. He then carried out his laybrotherhood in Northern Italy where he taught music and tailoring, making his solemn profession in 1912. In 1914 he was posted to Palermo and in 1921 to Catania. In 1921 he studied at Milan where he obtained a diploma in tailoring.
At the age of 31, Bonnici was sent to Shanghai in China to carry out missionary work. Together with his confreres, he founded the first Salesian house in Shanghai and worked there as an instructor in the tailoring shop until 1927. Then he spent some time at St Louis School in Hong K6ng which had been entrusted to the Salesian Society. Besides .being in charge of the shop, Bonnici was also band-master thereby contributing considerably to making the newly-arrived Salesians better known.
A pious, hard-working, and obedient confrere, Bonnici later on accepted the responsibility of managing the printing shop of the school.
Following, the fall of Hong Kong to the Japanese, Bonnici was interned at Stanley until the end of the conflict, in spite of efforts made by the superiors through the International Red Cross to have him released. In the concentration camp, Bonnici found work as a tailor and shared with his confreres the little money he was able to make. After the war, Bonnici was to Malta.
In 1957 he fell ill and doctors diagnosed a brain tumour. Bonnici passed away in London.
Source: Maltese Biographies of the Twentieth Century (1997), editors Michael J. Schiavone and Louis J. Scerri