Galea, Pierre Baptist (5.12.1841-3.3.1913)
Born in Birkirkara, Galea joined the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor in 1862, studied at the Franciscan Seminary, and was ordained priest in 1868. Galea worked first amongst the Maltese in Tripoli (1872-74) and, after necessary preparations, left for China where he spent 23 years.
Galea is the first known Maltese missionary in China. At first he was stationed in the northern province of Shansi, but when this territory was divided he was made responsible (pro-vicarius apostolicus) for the southern part. Highly esteemed by the Church and Order authorities, he always refused the bishopric, a refusal confirmed by Bishop Pio Vidi, OFM who worked with him and died in Malta after six years of retirement in 1906.
Blessed Alberico Crescitelli, OFM, martyred during the Boxers' ersecution, was one of his fellow-missionaries. At that moment Galea was in Malta for a merited rest after 25 years of missionary activity and consequently he was unable to re-enter his mission.
Galea published Brevi cenni sull vita del Martire P. Alberico Crescitelli OFM. Dall'anno 1888 fino al 1897.Per il Pier Battista Galea dei Frati Minori gia' Missionario e Provicario Apostolico dello Shensi Meridionale (Avellino, 1902).
Source: Maltese Biographies of the Twentieth Century (1997), editors Michael J. Schiavone and Louis J. Scerri