Into the unknown

“Lily” is a pseudonym for a Chinese woman married to a European. They are currently living overseas.

08 Faith Story - Rose Wee

I knew a little bit about God when I was in primary school but in China we are taught that it is science that brings us a better life. We were told that evolution explains everything.

There was a good Catholic couple who lived one bus stop from my home. They were ever welcoming but my parents were not so trusting. They did however let me go with my friends to watch some Christmas and Easter choir presentations and we got some chocolates as well . This happened when I was about eight or nine years old. In this way I learned a little about God, but not too much

Later, when I worked in Hong Kong and waiting for a subway train, a young foreign girl once gave me a piece of paper with Jesus’ image on it. I still have this paper.

When I moved to work in Shanghai, one day I went by the Catholic Cathedral and found that there were many people inside. The big gate was closed with a small opening in it was partly open. I went up and tried to get through the half opened door, then a security guy stopped me by asking ”are you a catholic?”

“Yes, I am” I answered without thinking.

Then the security guy questioned  “what’s your baptismal name?”

I turned away but then decided to pretend I had one by calling myself ”Lily”.

The security guy heard my answer and laughing said:  “obviously you’re not catholic, you don’t have a baptismal name. This is a church, a holy place, you can’t lie here. “ I had no choice but to stand outside of the gate and to look inside, with a desire to become a catholic.

On another weekend I again passed the Cathedral while walking the street. This time the big door of the gate was half open, and I noticed that the security guy was talking with someone, so I successfully rushed in. Looking around, on right side there was a garden with grape-vines and many trees, very green and beautiful in that summer, with cicadas merrily singing as well. Then I saw someone go into the red house with the cross on top of it – the Church in fact - and I decided to go inside to have a look.

The door of the church was half open. I was stopped by a man while I tried to get inside and he said ”you can’t go inside”

“But there’re many people inside” I answered.

“They’re here for Mass” the man replied.

“What is Mass?” I asked

“Shuuuu¨¨ be quiet” the man was frustrated by my questions.

“I want to be inside for Mass “ I insisted and tried to get in.

He had me stand outside of the door and told me:  ”you need to attend the RCIA program to learn to become a Catholic”

“What is RCIA ?” I asked him

“Look at the entrance, in the small room, you can consult and attend the RCIA, then you will know what is the RCIA and what is the Mass”. The man became patient with my questioning.

One day, I searched on a website, and found there are some other churches in Shanghai as well with  English Masses. I finally went to St. Peter’s Church. This church was very welcoming and was always recruiting people to serve the community and I was happy to join. From that time most of my Saturdays and Sundays were at the church and I felt happy to serve and share in work there. While sharing, I got to know more friends, and I prayed that God would let someone help me and talk with me to give answer to those questions in my heart.

Then one day at an Emmaus gathering, Imelda, a parishioner, came to me and shared that:”none of us knows what will happen tomorrow, only Jesus knows, we just pray and be positive.” I was woken up by her and I realized that Jesus knows what I am thinking and he lets someone else indirectly tell me the answer to my secret questions.

Ann Teh another active parishioner encouraged me a lot when she knew my broken love story. She was forever inviting me to various retreats at different churches in Shanghai, which did help me not to stay indoors at home lost in myself.

Later on, I met my husband at St. Peters, but at the beginning I was afraid to start a new romance especially with a foreigner.  With time and with encouragement from Father Warren I trusted more in God and in others and moved forward in faith!

As I look back on my life, I realize that God is observing and protecting us, and there is no need to be afraid or scared, just be happy and try my best, God will make a way!

I am now in Paris preparing for my wedding, and I’m happy and appreciate this present from God. Thank you Lord!