On the 7th of September at 3:45 in the morning at St. Januario’s Hospital, Sr Maria Lourdes Chen died. She was 80 years old.
She was one of the first Chinese sisters to enter into our Congregation of Missionary Dominican Sisters of the Rosary. Sr Lourdes was born in Saigon, Vietnam, when her family was temporarily there as a result of the Chinese war.
The family moved to Macau. A student at St Rosa de Lima’s School, she received Catholic instruction and was baptized when she was 15 years old. After visiting our Spanish sisters, refugees themselves from China, and looking the way they were sharing the little they had with the poor children in their barrio she decided to join them and became a missionary herself.
The sisters saw the need to open a Day Care Center to give shelter, education and food to the many children of their barrio who did not have anywhere to go and asked Sr Lourdes to take care of it. Posting an announcement at their door, 70 children came the first day, July 25, 1958.
By and by the Day Care Center became a Kinder and then a Primary School. A refugee herself she made a point to accept the kids whose families could not pay, the ones who coming from other countries could not speak Cantonese and the ones that where too old to be in Primary School.
The day Sr Lourdes was assigned to our missions in the Northern Territory of Australia, the School had a population of 1,300 students. It is the present “Sagrada Familia School”
For the last 10 years she has been very sick though always trying to live a very normal community life.
Rest in peace, dear sister.