Columban missionary Fr Eamon O'Brien writes: I have been visiting China since 1979 and working systematically there since 2000. In 2014, we were able to open an Augustinian Sisters' Active contemplative Monastery. I unhesitatingly call this a wonder and a miracle in the context of Communist China.
The foundation of this monastery can be sourced to many, including the prayers and financial support of many in Britain and Ireland, but in a special way to the extraordinary faith of two people: the Mother Foundress, Sr Mary, who with her family lived through all the oppression of the '50's and '60's in China and the positive response of an elderly bishop despite his suffering during the same period. I once asked the Bishop how was it possible for him to say yes when asked to sponsor this Contemplative Monastery in his diocese in such difficulties for Christians in China. His reply was profound: "When Sister Mary told me her story and the dream of her contemplative vocation, my twenty years in prison, ten of these in solitary confinement, flashed to memory, painful as they were. But in a moment I saw the point of it all. It was a grace that allowed me to recognise and understand her call to initiate a contemplative monastery, as that was the only option available to me while in prison - Contemplation."
The Monastery was formally opened in 2014. Since that time, the Sisters offered an opportunity to the pastoral workers and people of the area, for prayer, reflection, and silence before God, as well as opening up a space for people to to engage with the creation that God has gifted us with.
However, permission to open the Monastery was given by the government with a BIG CONDITION, namely, that a Nursing Home for the Aged would be attached to the monastery. This was acceptable to the sisters and would constitute the "active" part of their mission.
During my visit to the monastery in January 2019, we prayed and talked, about this challenge and to preempt any undue harassment from the government, we decided to proceed with the building of the Home for the Aged. As well as fulfilling the government requirement for the opening of the monastery. there is a growing need for this service in modern day China, especially for poorer people. We expect the cost to be about one million, nine hundred thousand US dollars. The Catholics of China have collected $500,000 to date and now I'm seeking support outside of China to raise another $1,000,000.
I am grateful for your generous support to us over the past twenty years to strengthen the Church in China in it's mission of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ in China; you may continue this support for the Contemplative Monastery with your prayer, and if possible a donation.
Please make cheque payable to CCS and return to me at the postal address: Fr Eamon O'Brien, China Church Solidarity, St Joseph's Way, Hendon. London NW4 4T.
Or use Paypal in our website: www.ccschina.co.uk./
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