Saturday, April 21, 2007

Thomas Cardinal Tien, SVD

photo grab:

Name: Tien Ken-sin Born: September 27, 1890 in Chantsui, Shandong, China

Parents: Kiliam Tien Ken-sin and Maria Yang

Converted to Catholicism and Baptized: 1901 “Thomas” (Christian name)

Education: Seminary at Yenchowfu

Ordained to Priesthood: (age 27) June 9, 1918 by Augustine Hemminghaus, SVD, vicar apostolic of Yenchowfu

Joined the SVD (incardinated): March 8, 1929, Steyl, Holland

First Vows in the SVD: February 2, 1931 Final Vows in the SVD: March 7, 1935

Pastoral work: Yanggu mission – 1918-1939

Prefect apostolic of Yanggu: February 23, 1934

Apostolic vicar of Yanggu: July 11, 1939

Ordained bishop: October 29, 1939 by Pope Pius XII

Founded the sisters’ Congregation of Our Lady of China Vicar apostolic of Qingdao: November 10, 1942

Elevated to cardinal: (age 55) February 18, 1946 [FIRST NON-WHITE & FIRST CHINESE CARDINAL]

Archbishop of Beijing: April 11, 1946

Expelled from China by the Communist regime: 1951

Participated in the conclave of 1958: election of Pope John XXIII

Apostolic administrator of Taipei, Taiwan: December 16, 1959 appointed by Pope John XXIII

Chair, Board of Trustees, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taipei, Taiwan: April 1960-December 1967

Attended second Vatican council: 1962-1965

Participated in the conclave of 1963: election of Pope Paul VI Death: (age 76) July 24, 1967 in

Taipei, Taiwan; buried at the metropolitan cathedral in Taipei; later transferred to the Cardinal

Tien Memorial Chapel at the SVD mission station in Chiayi, south of Taiwan

Total number years of service to the Church: 49 years as a priest, 27 years as a bishop, and 21
years as a cardinal

Influence of St. Joseph Freinademetz, SVD on Thomas Cardinal Tien, SVD

Thomas Cardinal Tien, SVD, who knew Joseph Freinademetz [first SVD missionary to China] from his childhood in Shantung, gave a brief sketch of Joseph on the fiftieth anniversary of his death:
All (Chinese) Christians considered Joseph to be a living saint…. He was always friendly, modest, humble. He spoke Chinese well. Whoever came in contact with him was deeply impressed and somehow drew comfort from his very presence. A catechist who hardly had a good word to say about the foreign missionaries said about Joseph: 'Fu Shenfu is a saint. He is different from all the others'.

While I (Cardinal Tien) was a seminarian, I noticed in church how Joseph always knelt in the sanctuary. It was a powerful experience to see hi in prayer before the tabernacle. Other missionaries were no less zealous than he was, but for us Chinese, their manner was somewhat too aggressive and often too inconsiderate. This was not the case with Joseph. He was always available to others and sacrificed himself to the utmost limit of self-forgetfulness. His piety was natural and attractive. He always remained his friendly self. He was indeed a perfect man."

One thing you might notice when looking at a picture of Joseph is that he looks Chinese. He so enculturated himself to China that he took on a form of dress similar to the local Chinese spiritual leaders. His most frequently repeated words were, 'I like to be Chinese even in heaven.' He truly loved the Chinese people with whom he lived and worked, and Joseph was especially energized by the local clergy and catechists. He promoted the idea that they should become the leaders in the local Church before Rome was quite ready for this. It was decades later that Rome appointed the first Chinese bishops and also the first non-white Cardinal, Thomas Tien, SVD.

From an Article in Time Magazine, Monday, Feb. 29, 1960:

In Rome last week for an audience with Pope John, frail, pale Thomas Cardinal Tien Ken-sin, 69, was halfway to a new assignment—his first since 1948. In that year, as the Chinese Reds were advancing against the Nationalists, Chinese Cardinal Tien, suffering from a heart ailment, left Peking for Shanghai and then for a long recuperation in the still peaceful British Crown Colony of Hong Kong.

After China fell to the Communists, the cardinal retired to a seminary of his congregation, the missionary Society of the Divine Word, near Chicago. No assignment came from Pope Pius XII, who was said to be irked that the cardinal had left his post. But John XXIII, deeply concerned over the Chinese Communists' efforts to establish a tame "national" Catholic Church in schism from Rome, felt that Cardinal Tien could serve on Formosa as a rallying point for Asian Catholicism and as a symbol of papal interest in the Far East. He installed him as apostolic administrator in Formosa, which now has 200,000 Catholics (up from 12,000 in the past ten years).

"I didn't go back before to avoid increasing the Communist persecution of the mainland priests," said Cardinal Tien last week. "But now the situation could not be worse, and perhaps my return will give the Catholics moral encouragement".
Texts sent by D. Rayco (Dubai)

A Letter of Cardinal Thomas Tien, SVD:
Letter written by Thomas Card. Tien, S.V.D. Archbishop of Peiping,
who was then living in exile in St. Mary's Mission House, Techny, Illinois, USA.
As Catholics of the great Chinese nation are now being persecuted by the same enemies of Christianity as those who are oppressing the tiny Slovene nation, in central Europe, I am pleased to recommend to Chinese Catholics the reading of the splendid little volume, entitled: GEORGES KOZIAK, A SLOVENE JANISSARY, originally from the pen of the great classical writer, Joseph Jurcic, and recently translated into good Chinese through the authorization of Dom Paulinus Lo, Prior of the Trappist Monastery of Our Lady of Joy, located in Hongkong.

It is my hope that the example of the heroic fortitude of the Slovene nation, through the centuries, is resisting the efforts of her persecutors to rob her people of the Christian Faith, may serve as a heartening example to our Chinese Catholics, now subject to a similar oppression. May this beautiful story of heroic faith find a large and enthusiastic reading-public among Chinese patrons of Catholic literature.

No comments: