ASIA/CHINA - Congregation of Saint Joseph welcomes four postulants

Tuesday, 22 August 2023 local churches   nuns   consecrated life   mission  

Beijing (Agenzia Fides) - The Congregation of Saint Joseph of the Diocese of Beijing, China's first native Congregation of Sisters, welcomed four young postulants a few days ago in the presence of Bishop Joseph Li Shan. After a warm welcome from the congregation and the diocese, the young postulants introduced themselves and spoke about their vocation journey during the ceremony, while Bishop Joseph Li spoke about the possibilities of the fruitful experiences of consecrated life. Referring to the current situation in the diocese and the lack of new religious vocations, the Bishop of Beijing encouraged the young postulants to persevere in their aspiration to follow God's call and to continue joyfully on the path to which they are called. The Bishop recalled that only in joy can the baptized accept the mission to which they are called, which is to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to the world. The Sisters' Congregation of Saint Joseph was founded in 1872 as the first native women's religious order in the Diocese of Beijing. On May 2nd, 2022 the Congregation celebrated its 150th anniversary (see Fides, 2/5/2022). In 1870, Louis-Gabriel Delaplace, a Lazarist priest and bishop of Beijing, had the inspiration to found a native Chinese order. Delaplace was also one of the Council Fathers the First Vatican Council and thus had the opportunity to present his proposal during the Council in Rome. Two years later, with the help of the Canossa sisters, the congregation was founded, which today includes sisters from various Chinese provinces. According to the will of the Founder, the main purpose of the Congregation is service (ecclesiastical and social) and mission. In 1941, the congregation reformed its structure, changing its statutes and religious dress, and also added the vow of poverty (previously the sisters only took the vows of obedience and chastity). The date of the religious profession has always remained linked to the Solemnity of Saint Joseph. Today, the sisters' activity extends above all to the fields of health and education, always being available for the concerns and needs of the diocese. As a result of the Cultural Revolution, the Congregation was dissolved for 30 years. It was relaunched in 1986 with six young women from the Beijing suburbs. There are currently 49 sisters. During their training, they study Sacred Scripture, Church History, Fundamental Theology, Canon Law, Liturgy, Spirituality, Philosophy, Church Music, Physics, Chinese Literature, Chinese Moral Tradition, Social Sciences and Foreign Languages. The motto of the Congregation comes from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians ("Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible", 1 Cor 9:19) and from the Gospel of Luke ("When you have done all what you have been commanded, you shall say: We are useless servants; we have only done our duty" (Lk 17:10). The path that the Congregation of Sisters of Saint Joseph has taken, even in difficult times, is a sign of hope for the entire Catholic Church in China. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 22/8/2023)