Shangqiu (Henan, the People’s Republic of China) at present.

The missions, social projects and solidarity actions are a constant in the action of the Augustinian Recollect Family. The Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine has always lived in mission, since its very birth was motivated by the opening of the first evangelization missions in the Philippines in the 17th century. Since then, he has carried out his evangelizing activity following the mandate of Jesus in the places today called “frontiers”: there where it is necessary to defend the dignity of human life, social justice, equal opportunities, the defense of the most vulnerable.

Henan is one of the Northern provinces in China. The territory given to the Recollects was 8,000km2 with a population of between 2.5 and three million inhabitants, some 600 Christians. It is a flat region with good communications by way of the rail network of Lunghai-Pienlo and Hankaw-Beijing.

The harvest all depends on the rains. Everything was cultivated from the earth: wheat, barley, beans, millet, sesame, cotton, ground nuts, prunes, pears…From April to November the fields produced crops, but the rest of the year there could be famines. The climate is extreme. Winter is as low as -15ºC and summer as high as 40ºC.

The majority of the population are concentrated in the: Kweiteh (the Centre of the mission, at present called Shangqiu), Kaocheng, Ningling, Chechen, Yungcheng, Siayi and Yucheng, defended by a large wall. The Mandarin language was the first great difficulty for the recently arrived missionaries.

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