Our hotel was located in Xujiahui. Wikipedia translates this to “Xu’s junction” – or, more precisely, “property of Xu family at the junction of two rivers”. The “Xu family” refers to the family of Xu Guangqi , China’s most notable Catholic convert. This would explain the location of St. Ignatius Cathedral…
… and the location of the Office of Catholic Church in Shanghai. (See this veiw taken from our hotel).
As I walked around the quiet, cool space I came to the chapel for Mary, The Mother of Christ. Sitting on one of the few pews facing the chapel was a Chinese woman in prayer. Approaching behind her I noticed she was speaking aloud and tried to walk as quietly as possible so as not to disturb. (Does verbal prayer make one more devout?) As I passed she became more animated in her ‘prayer’ and as I took a final look I noticed the mobile telephone held to her ear.
Religion in the 21st century?
The Roman Catholic Church in China is considered illegal with an estimated 8 million Catholics following the church underground. (Wikipedia)