From the time Lu Zhengxiang entered Saint-André in 1927 until his death in 1949, Lu Zhengxiang was directly or indirectly involved with nearly all important global initiatives by Chinese Catholics. A home away from home with a direct line of communication to Rome, the Abbey of Saint-André became a global center and a sacred space for Chinese Catholicism, a destination for nearly all Chinese Catholic figures who visited or resided in Europe. As a well-informed statesman, Lu Zhengxiang’s choice of the Abbey of Saint-André was intentional, as he knew that he would have the efficient collaboration of Dom Edouard Neut and the support of Abbot Nève who shared his view on the mutually beneficial relationship between Catholicism and Chinese culture. With the indefatigable collaboration of Dom Edouard Neut, Lu maintained a massive web of connections with Catholics and non-Catholic Chinese residing in various parts of the world as well as with Vatican officials and notable Catholic figures in Europe. Weaving together archival resources (letters, manuscripts, notebooks, drafts, interviews, newspaper clips) and printed primary as well as secondary materials in Chinese, English and French, this paper examines Lu Zhengxiang’s role as a link between the Vatican and China before the establishment of official diplomatic relations in 1942 and the context in which his intellectual apostolate was inscribed between 1942 and 1949. The archives preserved by Saint-André also include documents that shed light on the important role played by such overlooked Catholic figures as Wang Changzhi who wrote to Lu Zhengxiang.
Professor, English and World Languages, Purdue University Northwest, Indiana, United States
Global Catholicism, Chinese Catholicism, Global Religious Networks, Sacred Space
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