ASIA/CHINA - Two nuns from China's first indigenous female religious congregation take 'perpetual vows'

Monday, 20 March 2023 local churches   evangelization   mission   nuns   consecrated life  

Beijing (Agenzia Fides) - Two sisters of the Congregation of Saint Joseph of the Archdiocese of Beijing made their final vows today, March 20, on the occasion of the liturgical feast dedicated to the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Patron of the Congregation and the Mission in China.
After 10 years of religious life, parish pastoral experiences and formation in China and South Korea, the two sisters belonging to the first indigenous female religious congregation in China pronounced their perpetual vows in the presence of the Archbishop of Beijing, Bishop Joseph Li Shan. About thirty priests concelebrated with the Archbishop. It was also the first liturgy of profession of vows after three years of closure due to the pandemic.
With the profession of the two sisters, the community now has 50 sisters who carry out their mission mainly in the diocese, in parishes, schools, hospitals and in a retirement home. The sisters are also committed to helping young Catholics in their spiritual discernment. Contrary to the past, the origin of the nuns today is no longer limited to the diocese of Beijing. This is the case of Sister Zhong Haihong, one of the two who made perpetual vows, originally from Jiangxi, who, after her university studies, worked in the public sector from 2003 to 2010.
In 2022, the Congregation celebrated 150 years of great achievements in pastoral work and evangelization. The sisters traced the history of the Congregation, deepened and relived the charism of the founder, Louis-Gabriel Delaplace, CM, Bishop of Beijing. Since 1872, the sisters have continued their intense apostolic and missionary work, living a community life, despite wars and tribulations, social changes, the pandemic and its consequences on the life of the Church.
According to historical sources, Delaplace, during a time of meditation and prayer, the inspiration by Saint Joseph to found a Chinese religious congregation dedicated to service and ecclesial and social mission took place. This proposal was also discussed at the First Vatican Council in 1870. After two years of preparation, with the help of the Canossian sisters, the Congregation of Saint Joseph was founded in Beijing in 1872, with sisters who came exclusively from the capital and its surroundings.
In 1941 the Congregation reformed its structure, changed its statutes and its religious habit, and added the vow of poverty. Previously, nuns only took vows of obedience and chastity. The date of new religious professions has always remained linked to the Solemnity of Saint Joseph. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 20/3/2023)