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Sunday, May 5, 2019

FORGOTTEN HATE CRIMES: Martyred Catholics in China

Written by  Teresa Marie Moreau
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theresa moreau pic 2 coverSeven Martyrs of Shanhsi

Editor's Introduction: Facebook Takes a Page Out of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book

The following is slightly longer than the typical online Remnant article. We're posting it anyway and for two reasons. 1) It's another installment in a 20-year-long series of excellent articles on the history of the Catholic Church in China penned by our longtime correspondent Teresa Moreau, who is simply refusing to let us forget the systematic hate crimes committed against our brothers and sisters in China. If you're not a subscriber to The Remnant, you're missing out on thoughtful research pieces such as this one. So please subscribe today.

2) In light of what happened last week when several prominent conservatives were banished from polite social media society and sent to the E-Gulag, merely for expressing opinions contrary to those held by Facebook, Twitter and Instgram, this article provides sobering parallels to what was going on 70 years ago when one of the most ruthless Communist regime in history was coming to power in China.


First they tried to ban certain kinds of speech in China; then they took control of all religious practice; and before long they were rounding up Catholic faitful, sisters, priests and bishops for the "crime against the people" of practicing the Catholic Faith.

It's all happened before, in other words, and not that long ago. And whether you agree or disagree with the now-banished (from social media) men such as Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson, don't be deceived: it won't stop with them. 

Today it's Jones and Wason punished for thought crimes; tomorrow it'll be Carlson and Limbaugh; the next day Matt and Westen. The Remnant is aleady being shadow banned by Facebook on a regular basis. We've already been designated a hate group by the SPLC. History is repeating itself, and it's only a matter of time before persecution rises again, especially if the Vatican continues to sell us out as they've now sold out the Catholic underground Church in China. 

At this critical moment in the history of our own country -- with communists and socialists agitating to takeover Washington, D.C., in 2020 -- ignorance of the history we may soon be doomed to repeat is simply not an option.

Please take a few moments to read this important true story Share it with friends and family. Our children's future may well depend on us telling and retelling the story of our persecuted brothers in China. They went first. Are we next? If so, please God, let us remain as faithful as they have, and let us never forget. - Michael J. Matt 

The Real Missionaries of Mercy

Coaxed by her family for one final rendition of Ach! I Dunno, Molly O’Sullivan sat at the piano in the Catholic convent and belted out the lyrics. Laughing off the song’s inappropriateness, the light-spirited, zaftig colleen thus began her first day as a postulant, on September 16, 1935, seeking admission into the Lough Glynn Convent, named for the lake it overlooked in Ireland’s County Roscommon.

Blessed with a joyful and jocular nature, the gregarious Molly quickly found herself bound by the religious house’s restraints of self-disciplined conventions and regulations, such as: custody of the eyes, soft voice, noiseless walking and controlled laughter.

Molly O'Sullivan
theresa moreau pic 3 Molly OFor six months, she struggled as she labored, prayed, made countless mistakes and raised many a brow of the understanding and charitable Mothers of the convent, established in 1903 by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. But Molly also had attributes that flourished in the community.

Born in 1907, she had answered Christ’s call a bit late in life and found herself about 10 years older than most other postulants, who admired her common sense and wisdom. And as the eldest of 10 children, whom she had helped raise in the O’Sullivan clan from County Cork, she was reliable and dependable.

Because of her age and her elder-sister sensibilities, she stood out as the one to go to for advice and support when little crises arose. Even the Mothers recommended postulants go to her if they preferred not to speak to superiors. So it was no miracle that she survived her probationary candidacy and advanced to novice, on March 19, 1936.

During the Clothing Ceremony, in addition to the new ivory serge religious habit, she also received the greatest symbol of her new life — a new name, one which she had requested: Eamonn, Irish for Edward, the name of her father, who had died the previous year, 1935. Officially, she was Mother Mary of Saint Eamonn, simply called Mother Eamonn.

The following day, she packed her few things in a valise and left for her novitiate at Les Châtelets sous Bois, in France.

Two years later, on March 19, 1938, the feast day of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she professed her temporary vows for the congregation founded, in 1877, by Mother Marie de la Passion (Hélène Marie Philippine de Chappotin de Neuville, 1839-1904), born in Nantes, France.

“Will you take Jesus Christ, Son of God most High, as your spouse forever?” asked the presiding bishop.

“Yes, I will, and desire to do so with all my heart,” vowed Mother Eamonn.

“Will you keep the vows of chastity, obedience and poverty according to the constitutions of the Institute?”

“Yes, I will, with the help of God.”

“Will you follow unto death Jesus crucified, in imitating His most pure mother and your seraphic father Saint Francis, offering yourself as a victim for the Church and the salvation of souls?”

“Yes, I will, with the help of God.”

“Will you consecrate yourself forever to the missions of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in accordance with holy obedience?”

“Yes, I will, with the help of God.”

Mother Eamonn
theresa moreau pic 4 Mother Eamonn

Upon her finger she received a ring (symbol of betrothal to Christ as His spouse in chastity and fidelity) and upon her head a veil (symbol of consecration to the service of God and His Church). As the bishop placed upon her a veil, a crown of thorns (symbol of shared suffering), he recited, “Receive this crown which your celestial spouse offers you, that you may be worthy to participate in his passion on earth and his glory in heaven.”

Mother Eamonn then pronounced her three vows of chastity, obedience and poverty, followed with the singing of “Te Deum,” the Church’s solemn hymn of thanksgiving. Not long after the final notes floated heavenward, she received her assignment: The Republic of China. And she accepted her mission as the will of God, even though she understood the potential dangers, knowing full well the horrific details about the martyrdom of seven consoeurs, beheaded in odium fidei decades earlier.

After the seven Franciscan Missionaries of Mary arrived in Imperial China, on May 4, 1899, they immediately established an orphanage for about 200 girls, and opened a dispensary while waiting for the construction of a hospital, in Taiyuan, in the province of Shanhsi (old form of Shanxi).

Unfortunately, their arrival coincided with the rise of the Boxer Rebellion, an anti-Christian killing spree at the turn of the century. “Kill the foreigners! Slaughter the followers of the foreign devils!” was the motto of the Boxers, practitioners of martial arts.

When violence seemed imminent, Hsien Yü (old form of Xian Yu, 1842-1901), the province’s new governor later dubbed the Butcher of Shanhsi, invited the seven Sisters and other missionaries, a total of 45, to a safe haven in Taiyuan, promising them protection from the Boxers.

Tricked and trapped, the believers in Christ of the Cross stood helpless as a screaming mob wielding swords stormed the refuge, on July 9, 1900, and brutally decapitated all Christians, including the missionary Sisters, later hailed as the Seven Martyrs of Shanhsi:

  • Mother Maria Chiara (Clelia Nanetti, 1872-1900), born in Santa Maria Maddalena, Occhiobello, Rovigo, Italy;
  • Mother Maria della Pace (Marianna Giuliani, 1875-1900), born in L’Aquila, Italy;
  • Mother Marie Adolphine (Anne-Catherine Dierks, 1866-1900), born in Ossendrecht, Noord Barbant, Netherlands;
  • Mother Marie Amandine (Pauline Jeuris, 1872-1900), born in Herk-la-Ville, Belgium;
  • Mother Marie Hermine de Jesus (Irma Grivot, 1866-1900), born in Beaune, France;
  • Mother Marie de Saint Just (Anne-Francoise Moreau, 1866-1900), born in La Fate, France; and
  • Mother Marie de Sainte Nathalie (Jeanne-Marie Kerguin, 1864-1900), born in Belle-Isle en Terre, France.

theresa moreau pic 2 cover 3

But the gruesome murders did not deter Mother Eamonn. She bid Europe goodbye, boarded the Steam Ship Conte Rosso, sailed for China and arrived at her destination, Sacred Heart Convent, in Peking (old form of Beijing), on July 20, 1938.  A bit disappointed that, instead of saving souls in some remote pagan village, she stood at a chalkboard conjugating English verbs and illustrating musical notation in Sacred Heart Academy, the convent’s school. But as time passed, she surprised herself when she realized that she loved her role as a teacher, inspiring students with the wonder of God’s word and world.

Life inside the convent walls hummed along as tranquilly as a monastic chant; however, outside the convent walls, chaos had gripped the Republic of China since its founding in 1912, following the destruction of Imperial China’s centuries-old Ching Dynasty (old form of Qing), the rise of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, old form of Guomindang) and the Chinese Communist Party, their subsequent battle for power, and then Imperial Japan’s attack upon the mainland, on July 7, 1937 commemorated as 7-7-7.

Conflict and upheaval remained constant until Japan’s withdrawal following their surrender in World War II, on August 15, 1945. That same month, military troops arrived from the United States of America, and for nearly two years a calm prevailed upon the mainland until their departure, in March 1947. As soon as the Americans pulled out, chaos returned when the Communists engaged in bloody struggles with the Nationalists.

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Battling their way through the countryside, win after win, the Reds neared Peking, in October 1948. Fearful, foreigners soon began evacuating the walled city; however, the Sisters in Sacred Heart Convent wished to remain in the heart of their mission, their life, their vocation, and wrote their request to their superior general, in Rome, Mother Marie Marguerite du Sacré Coeur (Marguerite de Blarer, 1883-1977), born in Luxembourg.

Foreign Sisters under 40 were to return to the West, she ordered, but those older could remain in the East. Mother Eamonn was 41. By the end of December 1948, Communist soldiers surrounded Peking, and on February 1, 1949, they entered and “liberated” the Northern Capital from its “oppressors.”

Left alone at first, the Sisters began to receive official visits, starting in June 1949. At all hours of the day and night, authorities barged into the convent and interrogated the women, who found the severe questioning stressful, not knowing what traps they stepped into and aware that the upstart People’s Government, Communist and totalitarian, carried out mass executions of ideological enemies.

One day Mother Eamonn unexpectedly received a visit from three members of the secret police, who accused her of a two-fold crime of espionage against the State:

  • That she had gathered and spread information liable to damage the People’s Republic of China; and
  • That she had been in contact with foreign countries through secret channels and not through the official censor.

The accusations revolved around one of her letters smuggled out of the mainland by a missionary and mailed in Hong Kong to her family. Back in Ireland, a reporter published some of the letter in a local paper, including a joke about the scarcity of praties (potatoes) in China. Somehow, the Communists got their hands on the short newspaper piece.

Chilled with fear, she realized that not only had the government read each of her letters that she had mailed through the proper censoring channels to her family and friends back home, but that they had also made copies of the letters to put in her file. When authorities could not find the praties letter in her file, they concluded that it had been sent secretly and that she had to be dealt with.

Although severely tested, she remained free. During the regime’s transition period, the Dictatorship of Death and Destruction plotted to break all relations with the Pope, the Leader of Life and Liberty. The Reds argued that they wanted only to rid the Catholic Church in China of foreign political imperialism, headed by the Supreme Pontiff, despised as the running dog of American imperialists, housed in the Vatican, vilified as the headquarters of imperialistic cultural invasions.

To eliminate the Church and to gain control over her faithful, the Communists established the Three-Self Reform Movement – so-called for its aim to be self-governing, self-propagating and self-supporting. Catholics who refused to register with the Movement received the invisible “hat” of a counterrevolutionary, a dangerous classification in dangerous times.

bloodmaoThe regime made no secret about their war against counterrevolutionaries. On July 24, 1950, the People’s Daily newspaper published, “The State Council and Supreme Court Issue Instructions to Suppress Counterrevolutionary Activities” with the accompanying piece, “Severe Punishment of Counterrevolutionaries,” which announced a nationwide campaign launched by Tse-Tung Mao (old form of Zedong Mao, 1893-1976) to suppress and smash counterrevolutionaries, perceived as criminals by the revolutionary regime.

Seven months later, a follow-up item was published, on February 22, 1951. The “People’s Republic of China Regulations to Punish Counter-revolutionaries” concluded that “If a counterrevolutionary does not take the rehabilitation road, the only way for him is going to be death.”  With Catholics’ adherence to their Western religion deemed counterrevolutionary, the foreign and native faithful suffered attacks and arrests. And because the new authoritarian rulers had promised freedom of religion, Catholics were accused of generic counterrevolutionary crimes against the revolutionary State.

The persecuted Church was forced underground.

With terror dictating the lives of the masses under the new regime, the Sacred Heart Convent, a school that depended upon tuition for its only income, lost students. Many families of foreign students fled the mainland, and the parents of Chinese students feared sending their children to the school.

Nonetheless, classes continued, even though the student population, previously at 1,000, dwindled to 70 when school reopened in September 1951. The following September, 1952, the number of students fell to 60. But as the years passed, the number eventually climbed to 150, mostly children of diplomats from the Communist bloc, neutral countries and the Third World, attracted by the school’s classes in English, the lingua franca.

With interrogations fewer and further between, the Sisters lived in relative freedom behind their wall and survived by the good will of others: donations of food and money from diplomat families and others unknown. And what they received, they shared. Sometimes men and women, underground priests and nuns the worse for wear, arrived as beggars at the convent’s doorstep. The Sisters welcomed the persecuted stragglers, who often stayed for a few days in that small corner of religious freedom, among like minds and souls.

As the years passed, the Sisters witnessed the regime’s machinations. On July 15, 1957, the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, the schismatic national catholic church with its own statutes separate from the Vatican, replaced the Three-Self Reform Movement. The following year, the official patriotic church began “consecrating” its own “bishops” and subsequently formed the illegitimate Bishops’ Conference of Catholic Church in China, with its own laws.

In May 1958, Mao launched the Great Leap Forward, which prompted the Great Chinese Famine, a manmade catastrophe that spanned only a few years but caused the deaths of millions from starvation. Reportedly the greatest famine of the 20th century and, perhaps, of all recorded human history, an estimated 22 million died of hunger, in 1960, the largest number in one year in any country in the history of the world. In 1961, an estimated 12 million perished.

The disaster caused political fallout. On January 27, 1962, during the Seven Thousand Cadre Conference, in Peking, Shao-Chi Liu (old form of Shaoqi Liu, 1898-1969) – First Vice Chairman of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of the People’s Republic of China – publicly criticized and blamed Mao for the devastation caused by the famine.

The accusation planted a seed of revenge in Mao – Chairman of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission – that took years to cultivate until the deadly harvest. In May 1966, he sicced his attack dog Biao Lin (old form of Piao Lin, 1907-71) – Second First Vice-Premier of the People’s Republic of China – on political enemies.

With a raised clenched fist at the gathering of the Politburo, the Political Bureau of the Eighth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Lin announced that anyone who opposed Mao must be “put to death!…The whole country must call for their blood!”

That opening threat signaled the beginning of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-76).

In the June 1, 1966, edition of the People’s Daily, the State-owned, State-run newspaper, the order went out to the masses in an editorial, “Sweep Away All Monsters and Demons”:

An upsurge is occurring in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in Socialist China, whose population accounts for one quarter of the world’s total. For the last few months, in response to the militant call of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chairman Mao, hundreds of millions of workers, peasants and soldiers and vast numbers of revolutionary cadres and intellectuals, all armed with Tse-Tung Mao Thought, have been sweeping away a horde of monsters that have entrenched themselves in ideological and cultural positions. With the tremendous and impetuous force of a raging storm, they have smashed the shackles imposed on their minds by the exploiting classes for so long in the past, routing the bourgeois ‘specialists,’ ‘scholars,’ ‘authorities’ and ‘venerable masters’ and sweeping every bit of their prestige into the dust…

“The Proletarian Cultural Revolution is aimed not only at demolishing all the old ideology and culture and all the old customs and habits, which, fostered by the exploiting classes, have poisoned the minds of the people for thousands of years, but also at creating and fostering among the masses an entirely new ideology and culture and entirely new customs and habits – those of the proletariat. This great task of transforming customs and habits is without any precedent in human history. As for all the heritage, customs and habits of the feudal and bourgeois classes, the proletarian world outlook must be used to subject them to thoroughgoing criticism. It takes time to clear away the evil habits of the old society from among the people. Nevertheless, our experience since liberation proves that the transformation of customs and habits can be accelerated if the masses are fully mobilized, the mass line is implemented, and the transformation is made into a genuine mass movement.”

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution called for the destruction of the “old society” with its Four Olds standard of morality: old culture, old customs, old habits and old ideology. Targets included Capitalist Roaders, anti-socialist rightists, reactionaries, revisionists and teachers. Schools were closed and remained closed for years. Also shuttered were temples and churches, often used for other purposes such as horse stables or grain storage. Destruction included ancient art and texts, graves, headstones, corpses and anything that resembled or promoted Western culture.

Mao looked to the youth – easily manipulated students seeking purpose in life – to carry out the devastation. During a massive gathering of 800,000 vengeful and disaffected young men and women in Tiananmen Square, on Thursday, August 18, he urged his lawless devotees – who would become known as the Red Guards – to rid the country of anyone and anything that conflicted with him and his Socialism.

mao youth

Malevolent, ignorant and arrogant, Mao’s minions answered the call of their materialist messiah. In a wave of Social Justice vengeance, millions of teenage malcontents stormed through China, wreaking revenge on Mao’s political enemies, as well as their own. Untouchable and irreproachable, the Red Guards were feared by everyone, even by the police who were not to interfere with the revolutionary students; otherwise, they would be accused of interfering with the dictates of Mao.

Such mandates for the new stage in the Socialist Revolution had been outlined in the 16-point “Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,” adopted on August 8, 1966: “In the course of the movement, with the exception of cases of active counterrevolutionaries where there is clear evidence of crimes such as murder, arson, poisoning, sabotage or theft of State secrets, no measures should be taken against students at universities, colleges, middle schools and primary schools because of problems that arise in the movement.”

In his power grab, Mao and his political faction soon gained total control as his arch-nemesis, Shao-Chi Liu, was brutally criticized, purged and disappeared. Everyone who stood in the Chairman’s way to ideological omnipotence was to be smashed, destroyed, including a few old European Sisters.

On Wednesday, August 24, 1966, six days after the massive rally in Tiananmen Square, the Sacred Heart Convent doorbell rang.

On the other side of the door stood a group of Red Guards, wearing Mao field caps and Mao jackets with red armbands. They vociferously pronounced that the religious emblems displayed on the outside of the convent were offensive and ordered the removal of everything, especially the large statute of the Sacred Heart above the entrance. Heavy and embedded in concrete, the statue was impossible to move, the Sisters explained.

“If you can’t do it, we will. At the very least, it will have to be covered up.” the Red Guards demanded and left. After dinner in the refectory, the Sisters gathered in the chapel to pray the rosary and recite invocations to the Sacred Heart, to Our Lady and to Mother Marie Hermine de Jesus, one of the Seven Martyrs of Shanhsi.

Sometime after 8 that night, the doorbell rang again. Shouts and screams could be heard on the other side of the door. As Mother Maria Olga Sofia stepped to answer the bell, Mother Mary of the Cross called out, “Let us each go to our cell!” to the community of 24, of whom eight were foreigners:

  • Mother Maria Luigia Antonietta (Rosa Millefanti, 1900-91), born in Busto Arsizio, Italy;
  • Mother Maria Olga Sofia (Olga Fedorowicz, 1908-2000), convent superior, born in Wyszatyce, Poland;
  • Mother Marie Joel (Irinie Zarotiadou, 1926-2016), born in Irkoutsk, Siberia, Russia;
  • Mother Marie de Saint Notker (Stephanie Ida Muggler, 1893-1980), born in Saint Gall, Switzerland;
  • Mother Marie de Saint Sigisbert (Thérèse Gressiens, 1907-2004), born in Reims, France;
  • Mother Mary of the Cross (Winifrid Duff, 1890-1975), provincial superior, born in Quebec, Canada; and
  • Mother Mary de Saint Thomas à Becket (Catherine Rogan, 1901-83), born in Tolgross, Scotland.

As the Sisters, mostly in their 60s and 70s with Mother Eamonn the youngest at 59, escaped to their private rooms for safety, a huge mob of Red Guards pushed Mother Maria Olga Sofia out of the way as they stormed in, brandishing knives, hatchets, hammers and whips.

In the past, the Communists had never entered a Sister’s cell, which was absolutely forbidden, but that night was different. Through the convent, the young men and women surged, screaming, swearing, storming into rooms with open doors and breaking down closed doors, destroying everything in their way.

Dragging the Sisters from their cells to the oratory on the first floor, the Red Guards kicked and beat the women and forced them to sit on the floor and watch as religious objects were carried into the room, smashed, spattered with red paint and dumped into the Sisters’ laps.

Ordered to remain in her room, Mother Mary of the Cross watched as the vandals hauled a large statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary before her. “Look at your mother!” screamed the Red Guards, as they violently smashed the statue to pieces that scattered across the entire floor.

The beatings, the destruction, the screaming, the threats continued throughout the night, until 6 the next morning, Thursday. As the sun rose, the Sisters – forbidden to communicate with one another – were allowed to eat a simple breakfast, under watchful eyes, and then ordered to sleep in the dormitory, with one or two Red Guards watching each occupied bed.

The next day, Friday, August 26, all the religious women – foreign and native – in the convent were forced outside, where they stood on the front steps, surrounded by a raging mob and put on trial by the People’s Court, presided over by the Red Guards, who acted as judges. Black veils were violently yanked from the Sisters’ heads, as they were compelled to bow deep at the waist, while accusations and threats were broadcast over loudspeakers.

theresa moreau pic 6 sisters persecuted

For the reading of the indictment, the Sisters were forced to kowtow, to kneel with their foreheads to the ground, as they listened to their so-called crimes:

  • That they secretly colluded with a number of counterrevolutionaries in Catholic churches;
  • That they undertook espionage of information about China;
  • That they printed reactionary documents;
  • That they fabricated and spread rumors;
  • That they instigated counterrevolutionaries to engage in plots to create riots; and
  • That they committed acts of sabotage seriously detrimental to China’s sovereignty.

Returned to the interior of the convent, the Sisters were separately interrogated and then each subjected to a private trial, during which each was screamed at for hours and concluded with orders to write a full confession of crimes with a complete life history.

Saturday, the Red Guards continued to torment the Sisters, sticking guns in their faces and pulling the triggers on empty barrels.

“You are a dog!” they screamed. “Do you love Chairman Mao?” one of the Red Guards asked Mother Maria Olga Sofia.

“I am a Christian, and I do love Chairman Mao. I love the Chinese people very much. In fact, I love you, too.”

“We don’t love you! We hate you!” he screamed back at her.

Because of Mother Eamonn’s heavy size, close to 200 pounds, she was a favorite target of the Red Guards, who addressed her as Fat Pig and wrote Fat Pig in Chinese characters on her cell wall, on her habit and headdress. For hours, they screamed and chanted, “Fat Pig! Fat Pig!”

“You’re too fat!” one of the Red Guards shouted at her. “That’s true,” she answered.

On Sunday, August 28, the foreign Sisters were ordered to pack their belongings. Again, the Red Guards targeted Mother Eamonn, forcing her to run up and down the stairs, with her luggage in her hands. “Hurry up! Hurry up!” they yelled and beat her with bamboo canes.

After 6 p.m., the foreign Sisters were ordered to leave the convent and to stand, again, on the front steps, where they received their sentences: expulsion, to be carried out immediately.

Dressed in gray mantles over their white habits, with solemn black veils covering their heads, the small group of religious women from the hated West was surrounded by an agitated mob that refused to move out of the way and that beat their passive victims as they walked down the steps toward jeeps.

theresa moreau pic 7 sisters persecuted

At the railway station, there was no demonstration, and they quietly boarded the train. For more than 40 hours, the train traveled the 1,500-mile journey from Peking to Canton, accompanied by a large group of Red Guards, who constantly harassed the Sisters, called them names and forbade them to speak to one another.

Station platforms at each stop were filled with an endless mob of Red Guards who pressed against the windows, screamed anti-imperialist slogans and made threatening gestures with raised clenched fists. At 2 p.m., on Tuesday, August 30, the train rolled into Canton. The Sisters were escorted to a hotel, where they spent the night, and where Mother Eamonn began feeling feverish.

The next morning, the women were put on the train for the final 3-hour leg of the journey to Hong Kong. Seriously ill, Mother Eamonn turned pale and then lost all color. One of the Sisters, carrying an emergency medical kit, stuck a thermometer under the tongue of the ailing woman, whose temperature had soared to 105 degrees. After noon, when the train pulled into Lo Wu Station, on Wednesday, August 31, 1966, she had weakened, but was still conscious.

As soon as she and the other Sisters disembarked, they were accosted by more Red Guards, who screamed slogans of hate and shook their fists in the Socialist salute. Those with brooms made threatening sweeping gestures to beat the women.

Although held up by two Sisters, Mother Eamonn collapsed upon the ground. Red Guards forbade anyone to assist her as the shrieks and threats continued. Eventually, a few soldiers hoisted her up and dumped her upon an old rickety baggage cart.

theresa moreau pic 8 mother collapsed

Her consoeurs pushed her across Lo Wu Bridge and into freedom, where they were greeted by Hong Kong Police Officer Matthew O’Sullivan. An Irish native of County Cork, Mother Eamonn’s home county, he helped wheel her to an ambulance that hurried her to Saint Teresa’s Hospital, 327 Prince Edward Road, in Kowloon, founded in 1940 by the Sisters of Saint Paul de Chartres.

When her temperature continued to soar during the night, the chaplain was sent for. Although able to make her confession, she was too weak for Communion, and the chaplain administered Last Rites, the Sacrament of Extreme Unction.

At 6:45 in the morning, Thursday, September 1, 1966, Mother Eamonn breathed her last, in peace, in freedom.

Returned home to Ireland, Mother Eamonn’s body was laid for its eternal rest in a place of honor among the deceased of her religious community. The small cemetery is just a short distance from the now-abandoned Lough Glynn Convent, where she had begun her spiritual journey so many years before with a favorite song, “Ach! I Dunno.”

theresa moreau pic 9 mothers grave

Miscellanea and facts were pulled from the following:; “Loughglynn Convent and Nuns Cemetery,” by James Finn;; Peking Review; “A Reconstructed Account of the Expulsion of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary from the Sacred Heart Convent in Pekin,” by Sisters of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary; and “The Truth About the Religious Persecutions in China Contained in the Prison Diary of an Expelled Nun,” by the United States of America Central Intelligence Agency.

Theresa Marie Moreau is the author of “Blood of the Martyrs: Trappist Monks in Communist China,” “Misery & Virtue” and “An Unbelievable Life: 29 Years in Laogai,” which can be found online and at

 It's not only Catholics who are being persecuted in China:

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Last modified on Monday, May 6, 2019