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Jesuits, Chinese Catholics, China, Zhujiahe, Qing, sino-western relations


When four French Jesuits first encountered China in the late 1800s, they were unexpectedly swept into the turbulence of a dying empire. In this lecture, Dr. Anthony Clark, considers what it was like to be a Jesuit missionary in China as the Qing empire erupted into the violent Boxer Uprising of 1900. Living in what is today called Hebei, these missionaries struggled to learn Chinese and adjust to Chinese culture, while also maintaining their relationships with their families back in Europe. Dr. Clark will also discuss his recent travels to where these Jesuits lived and died in 1900. When Sts. Rémi Isoré, SJ, and Paul Denn, SJ, traveled by boat to China in the late nineteenth century they wrote hymns they hoped to rewrite in Chinese, and tender poems to their relatives who remained in France. They, like all of their Jesuit confrères who were assigned to China during the final years of the Qing (1644-1911), are well known for their missionary work in China, but little is known about the personalities they presented to the people they encountered day after day. Based on exhaustive research at the Jesuit archives at Vanves, France, and in China, this talk provides an introduction to the very human lives of China’s four Jesuit saints, Paul Denn, Léon-Ignace Mangin, Rémi Isoré, and Modeste Andlauer. Using newly-discovered historical photographs and examples from private letters, this remembrance of China’s Jesuit saints examines how the Society of Jesus preserved, celebrated, and promoted the exemplary lives of these four men as they encountered China during its most turbulent era of transition.


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