In Paris, as in Milan, the establishment of Catholic communities of Chinese origin, which developed throughout the twentieth century, has followed the rhythms of migration from Asia. The French and Italian ecclesiastical authorities have welcomed these migrants and have set up a number of special structures for them. Based on a comparative ethnographic study carried out over several years in the Chinese parishes of Paris and Milan, this article analyzes the ways in which the family environment of Chinese believers shapes their faith and durably anchors their religious practices. In particular, it examines how this spiritual family tradition is significant in the trajectory and vocation of Chinese Catholic priests and church members. This article also addresses the challenge represented by the transmission of the Catholic faith from Chinese migrants to the younger generations who grew up in Europe. Finally, it looks at the role of the sociocultural support that parishes provide for migrants far from their country of origin and roots.
The ecumenical National Christian Council of China (ncc) was the institutional home to an important religious and social campaign: the Christianizing the Home Movement. This article traces the development of this movement from the ncc’s founding in 1922 until the Second World War disrupted its activity. This home- and family-centered movement was a site of female empowerment, and the expansive topics it addressed show women’s desires to serve and lead in a broad set of arenas. This article shows how the Chinese women who led the Christianizing the Home Movement built and shaped a movement and describes the nationwide network of leaders that carried it out, promoting an ideal of Christian family that was culturally informed and progressive.
Amid debates and discussions on the institution of the family in Republican China, foreign missionaries and Chinese Christians played an active role in promoting an ideal Christian family. This article investigates the three waves of prominent theological thinking that underpinned changing ideals of the Christian family throughout the Republican period: Chinese society’s encounter with the gendered ethics of the Christian community in the early Republican period, discussions of domesticity by Chinese Christians amid the social gospel movements of the 1920s, and discussions of domesticity during the National Christianizing the Home Movement. An exploration of Christian publications on domesticity points to a gendered perspective on women’s domestic roles as well as a male-dominated theological construct that attempted to reconfigure the notion of the Chinese Christian family. The discourse on the ideal Chinese Christian family had both secular and spiritual dimensions, shaped by the dynamic transnational flow of ideas and the development of local theological thinking.
Wong Tsing-yi (1869–1903) was a third-generation Christian woman from a South China family. Focusing on her life story, this study aims to show how her family’s connection and interactions with western missionaries generated new resources for her to reimagine family relations, learning, and social and gender roles, thereby transgressing prevalent social norms. Using the Chronicles of Wong’s family and missionary writings, this study demonstrates how interactions and exchanges with missionaries in practice far transcended the binary view of the hegemonic transmitter and passive receptor. Through a sustained process of exchanges, the family and missionaries engendered a new culture of mutual learning that gave rise to a genealogy of breakthroughs.