55 Years of Dedication to Hualien, “Father From French” Yves Moal Calls Taiwan Home

Living in Yuli, Hualien for 55 years, French Reverend Yves Moal dedicated himself to helping the disadvantaged. By operating a secondhand distribution center and a charity farm, Rev. Moal provides opportunities for the physically and mentally challenged, homeless, and rehabilitated residents to maintain their basic livelihoods and reconnect with society. 

A ruthless fire engulfed the distribution center and left all donated items and hard-earned recyclables in ashes in February 2020. And an order of 2500 eggs from the charity farm was canceled at the last minute in March 2021. The two incidents made Rev. Moal’s story widely known on the island and gained him the name “Yuli’s Father from French”. 

▲The secondhand distribution center is packed with goods and materials from all over Taiwan. Rev. Moal is very thankful for the love of the Taiwanese. (Photo by Wang, Ting-Chi)

▲The recycling yard is located behind the secondhand distribution center. Rev. Moal uses recycling to help disadvantaged people reconnect with society. (Photo by Wang, Ting-Chi)

▲By providing job opportunities, Rev. Moal allows the homeless, the disabled, and the rehabilitated to make a living. (Photo by Wang, Ting-Chi)

Born in a traditional Catholic family and ranked second among the four siblings in the family, Moal was baptized at birth by his deacon uncle, whose biggest wish was to become a priest and to preach in Asia but later died as a guerrilla in World War II. Moal’s grandmother told him this story when he was little and planted a seed in Moal's heart. In 1966, Moal decided to inherit his uncle’s legacy. After sailing for more than a month, the then 25-year-old Moal arrived in Taiwan by boat and has since cultivated Hualien.

▲Fulfilling the last wish of his uncle (as shown), Rev. Moal comes to preach in Taiwan. (Photo by Rev. Yves Moal) 

Walking on the streets of Yuli, everyone knows this “Father from French”, who always gives warm smiles in return when receiving greetings. Early in the morning, Rev. Moal’s busy daily routine begins right after the Mass. Moal drives his employees of the recycling yard, the people he helps, to collect the recyclables in town in person, loading and then transporting them back for sorting. He also visits the charity farm on daily basis to inspect the chickens. 
Rev. Moal is never absent from nor tired of the toil, for all he wishes is to ease the burden of those in need.    

▲The hands-on Reverend is known as “Yuli’s Father from French”. (Photo by Chang, Ting-Ru)

▲Always willing to help, Rev. Moal receives countless phone calls a day. Whenever there are needs from the town, he will answer without hesitation. (Photo by Chang, Ting-Ru)  

Dedicated his life to Taiwan, Rev. Moal received Taiwan citizenship in 2017. In addition to taking over the "St. Andrew Training Center" established by Rev. Gu in 1999, Rev. Moal even sold his estates in France to raise millions of funds to establish “Yi Feng Garden,” home to over 200 homeless people. "I am so old now, and I have no children. I spent 25 years in France and have lived in Taiwan for 55 years. They are my family; Taiwan is my home. Those properties naturally belong to them." said Moal with his passionate eyes.

▲Devoting to Hualien for more than half a century, Rev. Moal was officially naturalized as Taiwanese and obtained a residence permit and the National ID card of the ROC in 2017. (Photo by Chang, Ting-Ru)  

Regardless of race, religion, or the past, Rev. Moal never refuses to lend a helping hand. He argued, "Everyone has a past, and you can find a lovely characteristic in everyone. If just one person is willing to refrain from violence or alcohol because of coming here, it's worth it." Speaking of Moal’s efforts on him, 37-year-old former inmate A-Niu, who spent his teenage years in prison, put away his fierce gaze, tears in his eyes, and said thoughtfully, "It's Father that inspired me to turn over a new leaf. In fact, rehabilitate people have little opportunity in society. I am really grateful that he would take me in.”

▲Rev. Moal (right) treats everyone as his own children and accommodates the homeless. A-Niu (left) is deeply touched by the selfless dedication. (Photo by Wang, Ting-Chi)

Taiwan has already become home to Rev. Moal, who treats everyone as his own children, embracing the helpless like a father. He missed his sister and brother’s weddings in France, and he couldn’t even see his father for the last time. Only through letters and old pictures could he keep in touch with friends and relatives in his hometown and reminisce.
"As long as I am not driven away, I will stay in Taiwan for the rest of my life," said the hands-on Reverend. Even though he is over eighty years old, he still does everything by himself. Over the years, the selfless dedication of “Yuli’s Father from French” left marks not only on his face but also on people’s hearts.

▲Looking at old photos to reminisce, Rev. Moal left France at the age of 25 and is now 80 years old. (Photo by Chang, Ting-Ru) 

Written by Wang, Ting-Chi (王亭淇) & Chang, Ting-Ru (張庭茹) from the department of journalism, Shih-Hsin University.
Translated by Oscar Lee.

Press Releases from SHU Newsweek. (小世界周報)