Fu Jen Catholic University, Taipei. Every Tuesday afternoon at five thirty, in the centre assigned for spiritual assistance at the Faculty of Languages, a small group of students gets together with us priests for a meeting in which we talk about our lives. Afterwards we always go out to dinner in one of the many restaurants close to the University. It is thanks to these meetings that about three years ago we met Rosalia.
Taiwanese and coming from a Taoist family, Rosalia took this name while studying Spanish at the Catholic University. From the beginning Rosalia never participated directly in our meetings. She worked for the Spiritual Assistance centre, and while we were singing and discussing, she would over hear everything from her work station. She was always happy to see us. One time after the meeting I invited her to join us for supper. She smiled and said: “Today, I am not available but next time I will certainly come”. And the next time she came. And not only did she come by herself, but she brought along her friend Patricia, a colleague who had been baptized a few years earlier and who has a degree in French.
A short time afterwards, Rosalia expressed the desire to be baptized. Following a period of catechesis, during which she was accompanied faithfully by her friend Patricia, she received the sacrament of baptism during Mass on Christmas eve at our Saint Francis Xavier parish in Taishan. It was given: Patricia was the godmother.
After the summer, I met Rosalia at the University, where she came to see her friend Patricia. Soon after Patricia told me: “Shen Fu (Father), Rosalia would like to get married within a year, but she does not want to have it celebrated it in the Church, please speak to her”. I asked Rosalia if her non Catholic fiancé did not want to get married in the Church. She responded to me saying that the reason had to do with their financial situation. They were thinking about moving to Australia, where Mike, her future husband, was finishing up a doctorate: “we want to get married civilly and put off the celebrations and festivities for a few years”. I replied: “getting married in the Church is about getting married in front of God, it has nothing to do with money nor with celebrations or festivities. If you want, I can marry you guys in my parish office. What is important is that you desire to entrust your love to God”. “If it’s this way, then it is fantastic”, she responded to me. In this I invited her to the marriage preparation course.
Rosalia is very intelligent. During the course she understood everything very quickly (even in spite of my poor Chinese) and asked pertinent questions. One time while speaking about being open to children, she told me: “Shen Fu, I am not sure if we want to have children because there is a possibility that they could inherit my disease”. I remained speechless for a second, looked her in the eyes and asked: “are you happy to be alive, to be in the world, even despite your illness?”. Moved by her affirmative response, I continued: “I am also very happy that you are alive, and I will be very happy to meet your children”.
On the 28th of March, the first Saturday following Easter, Rosalia and Mike were married in Taishan and the festivities follower: there were white Easter orchids and songs from our band. The refreshments were offered by the parish. At the beginning of May, the newly wedded couple moved to Australia. On the 22nd of that month Rosalia wrote to me: Dear An Shen Fu, here in Australia it is winter, it is very cold and every day I have to buy the groceries and prepare the meals. At home, my mother and father took care of all of this. My husband is awaiting the results of his thesis and his work visa which will enable him to begin to work. I do not know what the future will entail but I want to entrust it all to God”.
In the picture, Emanuele Angiola with the young married couple from the parish of Saint Francis Xavier in Taishan (Taipei).