The population of China lived almost the first half of the 20th Century suffering the worst consequences and the destruction caused by wars and revolutions.

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.

For fifteen years, China was overcome in three successive waves of conflict: the Chinese-Japanese, the Second World War and the Communist Revolution. Shortages and famine fall upon the people and the religious. From October 1938 until their capitulation in the Second World War, the Japanese army take possession of Chinese territory. After the attack on Pearl Harbour, the allies submit China to a strict economic and commercial blockage that cut off help to the mission.

The missionaries found themselves incommunicado and starved. The chaos worsens because the Japanese only guarded the cities and transportation routes; the rest was in the hands of bandits. But despite the bombing, the demoralization and the destruction, the activity continues, to the point that in the most difficult moments there was great vocational fertility and many religious professions.

On the 5th of June 1947 the vicariate was raised to become a diocese and on the 30th of January in the next year Ochoa ceased in his responsibility. The mission was found to be without a visible head and missionaries started to leave for lack of security. ON the 20th of December 1949 they named a new bishop Arturo Quintanilla. He would not come to exercise his role as pastor for the diocese for a year.

The end of the Second World War precipitated the victory for Communism. On the 1st of October 1949 Mao Tse Tung proclaimed the Chinese People´s Republic. The communists had already the year beforehand occupied the Mission of Kweiteh and prohibited the public ministry of the missionaries. The seminarians leave for Hong Kong and Spain; the Augustinian Recollect Missionary nuns depart, they dispense the vows of the catechists of Christ the King and some friars flee towards the Philippines, Hong Kong or Shanghai and others are imprisoned.

On the 21st of September 1951 they expel the last Spanish religious, including the bishop. The Chinese religious are obliged to return to their homes or are confined to work camps or re-education. Some will die of hunger, thirst, exhaustion or worst of all in solitude.

The mission goes under, but a hard work of more than twenty-five years left seeds implanted, responsible faithful, and some Chinese religious that after many years in prison, torment and isolation, will bring out the mission from its ashes three decades later.

NEXT PAGE: f. Fourth period: Behind the bamboo curtain


TABLE OF CONTENT: MISSIONS

.