BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Nearly 80 people — including almost 30 from China — gathered at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville for a weekend of “Experiencing Jesus Christ Through Chinese Eyes.” Many of the Chinese participants were Chinese priests and nuns participating in the Maryknoll-coordinated Chinese Seminary Teachers and Formators Project.
Sister Hedwig Zhang Xiu Kai, a member of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary in Shenyang, China, was one of those participants. She is studying pastoral ministry, with a concentration in youth ministry, at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.
“Everyone comes and participates at this meeting, and not everyone is Chinese,” she said. “It’s a beautiful thing.
“All the presentations give us ideas … how do I think about the Chinese church, what I can do,” she said after hearing presentations by fellow Chinese and the repeated question by American participants, “How can we help the church in China?”
Sister Maria Wang Zhi Lei, a member of Our Lady of All Holy Souls in China’s Hebei province, also is studying at CTU. She, too, expressed surprise at so much support for the church in China at the conference sponsored by the U.S. Catholic China Bureau.
“People care about China and pray for China … and give their whole life to China,” she said. “That touched my heart!”