"I have called you by name" - Contribution of Chinese Women to the Church


- International Workshop

“I have called you by name”
– Contribution of Chinese Women to the Church

from September 25–26, 2014, in Sankt Augustin, Germany.

Women in the Chinese Church

Without women the history of the spread of Christianity in China could never have been told and yet they are mainly nameless. Due to the traditionally subordinate role of women in the Chinese empire, this fate was the lot of Chinese Christian women in particular in the past. Today, as well, many women remain unknown, even though they are a significant factor in the Church in China. To make names and faces of women in the Chinese Church known, the Institute Monumenta Serica held an international workshop entitled “I have called you by name” – Contribution of Chinese Women to the Church

The workshop took place from 25–26 September 2014 on the Campus of the Steyl Missionaries in Sankt Augustin.

It was co-organized by:

Fourteen men and women speakers from the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, the USA, Germany and Sweden reflected in five panels on historical examples of contributions of women to Christian life in China, whether they were lay women or members of religious orders and communities. The lectures spanned an arc from the 17th century to the present: they introduced among others the “Apostle of China”, Candida Xu (Xu Gandida 徐甘弟大, 1607–1680), and other Christian women of the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), lay women and Catholic Virgins (beatae) of the 18th century, women missionaries and intellectuals of the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as women in the late 20th century Church. The workshop had a deliberately ecumenical perspective. Thus it gave insight into the situation of the Protestant and Orthodox Churches.

Two general talks on the situation of women in Church and society framed the workshop. For the first lecture we were able to invite the head of the women’s section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Ana Cristina Villa Betancourt. She spoke on the new definition of the role of the woman in the Catholic Church; her talk was entitled: “Women in the Church According to Mulieris Dignitatem.” Nicola Spakowski, Professor of Sinology at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, in her closing talk posed the question “What has become of half of heaven? Women in socialist and post-socialist China.”

Program of the Workshop


Conference report

I have called you by name