Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Marian Shrine in Taiwan

Interesting bit of local history, though not sure how reliable it is:

During the tour of duty of the Qing Court official Shen Pao Chen to southern Taiwan, he passed by Wanchin and began to be interested with the work of the Catholic Church in this village. He was deeply moved by the people's simple and happy lives and how the missionary, Fr. Francisco Herce OP wearing a Chinese apparel and fluent in the Fukien dialect taking care of these people with enthusiasm. He was informed of the constant harassment made by the neighboring Hakkas against them and thus he personally wrote a report to the Qing Court asking the imperial protection to the people of Wanchin and the mission.

In 1874, the Qing Imperial Government promulgated an edict thereby placing the Catholic Church of Wanchin under Imperial protection. Two Granite tablets each bearing the inscriptions: "On Imperial Orders" and "Catholic Church" were sent to the Catholic mission. On January 12, 1875, these tablets were inlaid in the facade of the church. This was a singular privilege and honor for the Christians. From then on, every Imperial soldier passing by Wanchin church had to dismount from his horse as a sing of respect.

In spite of the Imperial orders, the hostility of the Hakkas towards the Christians did not change. Numerous clashes between the two village dwellers continued sporadically for many years.

In August 17, 1895, the same year when Taiwan was transferred to Japanese rule, the most violent skirmish occurred between the Hakkas and the Wanchin Christians. The Wanchin villagers were at the losing side, beset with difficulties with depleting food supply. Many were desperate and were waiting to be massacred. Fortunately the Japanese army arrived and drove the enemies away. The conflict between the Hakkas and the Christians then ceased to exist.

There's a pic of the church on the page. It must still be around...


Anonymous said...

Very cool for me to bump into your blog, I left Taiwan when I was 14 and am currently studying in California State University. It's very interesting to see what the foreigners have to say about Taiwan from their perspective, looks like I will be regular customer here from now on.

Michael Turton said...