Heritage and Future

Who are we? Where are we going? These are important questions we sometimes forget to ask ourselves. They’re fundamental, frightening, and often lead to other broad and troubling questions. To understand who we are and where we’re going, we first need to know where we came from. Where do we come from? The answer has become increasingly complex in our globalized world, where cultures cross and intersect at a frantic pace. Our modern society is made richer by all these different influences; nonetheless, it is our duty to remember where we came from and preserve our cultural history. We must protect it from dissolving into a worldwide American “monoculture” perpetuated by new communication technologies. To fight hegemony, we must remember our origins, preserve our culture, and communicate our distinct heritage with respect for others.
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SHANGHAI, MY CITY! Before the Second World War, Shanghai was considered as one of the world’s five famous cities. It was a glamorous port of entry, a door opened to the West. The Opium War forced the corrupted Ching Dynasty to lease part of Shanghai to the French and part to the English. This occupation had a great impact on the city of Shanghai. Soon, we saw French and English style houses being constructed, Catholic and Protestant Churches were erected, missionary schools were opened, and the establishment of two famous universities took shape: Aurora University by the French Jesuits and St. John University by the Anglicans. People started to learn English or French and the incoming foreign missionaries began their work of evangelization. THE ORIGIN OF MY FAITH Born in a Catholic family I was raised within a religious milieu. For the first six years of my life we lived in a French style Park Apartment which still exists to this day as a heritage building. Each apartment had a balcony overlooking the large circular garden in the middle. My parish, St. Peter’s Church, was at a walking distance and the pastor was French speaking. As a child, I attended the morning Mass and afternoon Benediction with my family. Every evening we would say the rosary and night prayers together. The Church became the center of our life. The Church bells were like God’s soothing voice which made me feel that He was always close by. It was there that I received my religious education from two nuns who were forced to be laicized, but remained in Shanghai as consecrated virgins. They were later arrested.
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