Nov 6, 2009

A Catholic in China

From a visual perspective, I am not sure if anything would stand out in the place shown in the two attached pictures.  I visited this park in the Southwestern part of Shanghai, known as Guangqi Park, in 2005.  I took time off my schedule to visit this park as my way of paying homage to the Jesuits who have touched my life.   This park is, in my view, a testament to the Jesuit ingenuity and dedication to their mission of evangelizing the world. 

  The park is the burial site of, and was named after, Paul Xu Guangqi after whom the prominent Jesuit school in Greenhills, San Juan -- better known as Xavier School -- was originally named.   Xavier School was set up as, and continues to carry the Chinese name, Guangqi School (in the Pinyin system of romanization) or Kuangchi School (under the Wade-Giles system of romanization). 

Xu Guangqi may very well be considered the 16th century "Atenean" (students of the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines) being the first Catholic convert of the 16th century Italian Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci.   Xu and Ricci would later collaborate and translate several Western classics to Chinese.   The Soong sisters -- including Mrs. Sun Yat Sen and Mrs. Chiang Kai-Shek -- were descendants of Paul Xu Guangqi.    The Jesuits' success in China would later spark what is known in Catholic church history as the "Chinese Rites Controversy," between the Dominicans and the Jesuits.

About the author:

Albert Yu Chang is a Filipino-Chinese attorney living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is an alumni of both Xavier School and Ateneo De Manila.

The author paying homage to Paul Xu Guangqi

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