Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis
I was born on April 8, 1921 in Shan-Tung, China and was named Yuan Ying (Catherine). I was the youngest child of four girls and three boys. Fearful amid the increasing presence of the Japanese who were anti-Roman Catholic and anti-Chinese landowners, my parents were concerned for my safety and placed me in an orphanage and school in nearby Ping Yin in 1925. In 1932, I was enrolled in a school farther way in Jinan, China where I met the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis. Sister Clementia, along with other Sisters, visited and talked about religious life and their work at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Jinan. I was impressed with them and I thought that I would join them after I finished my education.
When I entered the Community on September 8, 1944, World War II was underway and the Sisters were caring for the injured soldiers. I was invested on October 17, 1945 and received the name Pacis (meaning “peace”) because of the recent peace treaty that was signed that ended the war.
In September 24, 1947, I made my first profession. Due to the increasing instability in China, it was necessary for the Sisters to leave and so several of us sailed on the SS General Meigs on May 12, 1948. After arriving in San Francisco, California, we traveled on the train to Springfield, Illinois and arrived on June 5. The plan was to stay three years and then return to China. However, since the conditions in China did not improve, we did not return and had very limited contact with our families for nearly 30 years. Sadly, many members of my family had been killed.
I am a 1963 graduate of St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing, Springfield, Illinois. For about five years, I served as a registered nurse at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, and at St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin. In 1968, the political situation improved in Taiwan and the Sisters decided to open a mission. Three Chinese Sisters and I volunteered to serve the poor in Kaohsiung at the Star of the Sea Clinic.
In 2000, I attended a prayer service about forgiveness in Kaohsiung. I knew that I needed to forgive those who had killed my family and let go of the hatred that I had carried for nearly 50 years. There were over 5,000 people at the service and the Holy Spirit was present to me and touched my soul. I was finally at peace and I forgave them.
After 34 years in Taiwan, I returned to Springfield in 2002 and have remained active. Presently, I spend time in prayer each day and I continue to have a special devotion to the Blessed Mother. Next year, God-willing, I will celebrate my 100th birthday.