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Our Lady of China

by Zsolt Aradi

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    Document Information

  • Description:
    This article gives a brief description of Our Lady of China.
  • Larger Work:
    Shrines to Our Lady
  • Pages: 139-140
  • Publisher & Date:
    Farrar, Straus and Young, 1954

There are other great shrines dedicated to the Virgin in China. Of these, we shall give one brief mention here: that of Our Lady of China, located near Peiping. It stands in a village named Tong Lu. This mission was started by the Vincentian Fathers. It was a poor place, perhaps the poorest in the whole region, formerly called "the place of beggars." In 1900, there were some seven hundred Christians gathered about the little hamlet. Suddenly, the famous Boxer rebellion swept China and grew to such proportions, that even small places like Tong Lu could not escape its fury. In April 1900, a force of ten thousand rioters attacked Tong Lu. The soldiers, in senseless rage, started to shoot into the sky. Then suddenly they fled, frightened, and never came back again. According to the legend, a woman in white appeared above the settlement, and the rioters' bullets were aimed at her. When the apparition did not fade, attackers had not even time to reorganize because a strange horseman put them to flight. Soon after they had disappeared beyond the horizon. Father Wu, a Chinese priest, confessed to his flock that he invoked the help of Mary. A new church was built on the site and Father Wu placed a picture of Our Lady on the main altar. He asked the painter to dress Our Lady in the royal robes of the dowager Empress Tzi-Hsi. The image of the Blessed Virgin in the royal robes of the pagan Empress, with the Christ Child on her knees, is vivid expression of Chinese tradition. It is a shrine of the Mother and her Son. Though her robes be pagan, she belongs to every age, to all people and to every race. As was told and promised in the Old Testament: "I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge and of holy hope."

The Tong Lu church was completely destroyed recently by the Chinese Communists, but the picture of Our Lady of China remains intact because only a copy of the picture was used in the church. The original was hidden in the wall behind the copy, and this was recovered and found intact. It is now in possession of Chinese priests who carry out their activities in disguise.

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