The following excerpts are from AsiaNews.it:
Jiuji (AsiaNews/Ucanews) – For the past 42 years, Kong Zhenlan, a Catholic in China's Shanxi province, has been bringing up handicapped orphans and abandoned children along with her own kids, and that has inspired one of her sons to become a Catholic priest.
Kong's son Father Anthony Fan Changliang says the adoption of orphans is related to a local tradition in their Jiuji Catholic village in Qi County.
Before the communist revolution in 1949, the ancient Catholic parish in the village maintained a tradition of charity to help the orphans.
In the two decades that followed the revolution this noble tradition and all the charity works were stopped as religions were oppressed, Catholics say.
In the 1970s, there was an increase of abandoned children but there was no orphanage. Father Fan said that in 1977 his mother began to adopt abandoned and handicapped orphans.
The lack of medical care and children’s poor health made mortality rate quite high, said Father Fan, who was a teenage at the time. The deaths of some children and the unbearable financial burden on the family saddened him.
For a while, he said, he lost the faith. But the words of his mother made him think deeper. "To love the poor is to love Jesus. Each of the kid is a little brother, a little Jesus. When we take care of our little brothers, we are taking care of Jesus," she used to say.
Only after graduating from the novitiate did Father Fan fully understand and support his mother's mission, he said.
“We are all brothers and sisters, there is no difference," he said when asked how many biological and adopted brothers and sisters he has. "It is a blessing" that his mother is able to give love to the kids, "a love with faith, and she enjoys doing it," he said.
Since the age of 24, Kong and her husband Fan Bucheng have been engaged in this charitable activity. Now, they are both 66-years old.
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