Wang Shiqian: From China to Taiwan, my faith and young people
Originally from mainland China, she was born into a family without religion but now everyone is Catholic. She works for Magis, a global network of young people linked to the spirituality of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. World Youth Days strengthened her personal faith and joy of belonging to a community with young people from every continent.
Taipei (AsiaNews) - Young, dynamic, attentive to the demands of the young people entrusted to her, Wang Shiqian (王世 芊 小姐) was born in Taipei in a family that gradually became Catholic. She has an older brother; her father worked for the government; her mother worked as a clerk. Both of her parents were born in mainland China and neither came from a Christian family. Here is her story.
My mother came to Taiwan when she was five. In Keelung (基隆市), her family became interested in the Catechism proposed by a Catholic priest who also hailed from mainland China. Thus, the whole family was baptised.
My dad was not Catholic and did not follow any particular religion. After he married my mother and under the influence of myself and my brother, he to came to Catholicism and chose to be baptised.
My brother was baptised at birth, but I was when I was four years old. My mother even asked me if I wanted to be baptised.
When I was little I started attending the Holy Family parish in Taipei. It was fun to take part in parish activities. There were many parties and many tours. There were also many Masses for children and teenagers that were fun. The catechists knew how to communicate the faith in a spontaneous manner, suited to our age.
I and my friends liked to help those who were lonely or sick. I remember Ms Sun and the parish priest who made us understand the importance of being together with lonely people.
In the Christian community, thanks to the presence of many people from other parts of the world, we also had an opportunity of meeting people from different cultures and countries, like all the missionaries and their friends.
Then I grew up and attended Fujen University (輔仁 大學) where I studied sociology. My first job was in the parish, only for six months, helping Father Gino Picca (王秉鈞 神父) re-organise the parish office.
After that I worked in other companies. I was always interested in working in an atmosphere of friendship and dedication. I never chose a position for the salary or benefits that it could bring. In my view, the greatest advantage is to help each other and feel like a community, creating solid and lasting friendships.
At one point, I accepted an offer to lead Magis youth, here at Sacred Heart Parish, putting young Taiwanese online. This gave me the opportunity of working at the international level, with the Ignatian spirituality-related Magis network of young people. Magis is the movement for teens and young tied to the Jesuit global network and is present in almost every parish and school that belong to the Society of Jesus.
Most of the young people we approach are not Catholic, but have Buddhist or Taoist backgrounds, or have grown up in families with no particular religious sensitivity. This allows us to offer our message in a selfless manner.
What I like the most are prayer activities because one can see the depth of children and young people who discover a new dimension, that of prayer and dialogue with God. Often young people come with a lot of suffering and are unable to find solutions other than in a relationship with God who is the only one who can heal them.
In the recent past, it became increasingly clear that for young people knowing themselves is the most important thing. After meeting them many times, I realised that when they encounter God a whole new world opens up for them, a world of hope opposed to the cul-de-sacs to which they are accustomed, or the world of competition that often generates dissatisfaction. God comes to answer the deepest questions and meet the thirst for answers that everyone has within him or herself.
I would say that, of all the people who have accompanied me in my growth of faith, from my youth to my marriage, Father Paul Sun (孫 柔遠 神父) stands out. He was very important for me. We were very young, and he was not yet a priest and attended my own parish. He helped me understand even more the meaning of our faith, and the aspirations I had inside of me. He accompanied me in the discovery of the source of freedom generated by the Christian faith.
When I was little, Ms Sun also (孫小姐) also accompanied me with enthusiasm.
Everything has grown on the foundations my mom and my grandmother set by experiencing with simplicity the Christian faith. For them, following Jesus and experiencing the parish activities was a natural thing. They passed on to me and my brother the passion for belonging to a community.
When my mother got sick, my dad began to question even more the meaning of life and chose to be baptised.
One of the experiences that I remember with the most gratitude is the sense of belonging and celebration that we experience in the Christian community. I had the good fortune of participating five World Youth Days with our youth.
The first time was in Rome for the Jubilee of 2000, then it was in Germany, then the last three with Magis in Australia, Brazil and this year in Poland. Experiencing the journey of faith with young people from every continent accompanied by the pope himself strengthened every time my life of faith and the union of our community.
(Xin Yage contributed to this article)