Thirty Years in China
Casa Ricci Social Services (CRSS), one of Jesuit Missions long standing partners in China, celebrated it’s 30-year anniversary in October 2017.
Today CRSS supports more than 40 programs distributed across 10 different provinces serving around 5,000 people in China. These programs include working with adults and children affected by leprosy or living with HIV/AIDS, women at risk, or people dying without support at the hospitals. They are organised as a network of “communities of solidarity”. These communities are aimed at helping people learn how to overcome discrimination, helping people to overcome physical, psychological and social wounds and where dignity is affirmed.
During the last thirty years there have been many challenges which the CRSS have had to overcome. These include lack of electricity and water in communities, crossing difficult terrain to some of the remotest communities and most tragically a car accident in which a Sister died while taking a leprosy patient to the hospital during a typhoon in 2008. There is also the ongoing challenge of discrimination to those living with leprosy or HIV/AIDS.
Despite these setbacks, Fr Fernando Azpiroz SJ, Director of CRSS says:
“Our reward has been far bigger than all the efforts we have made during these 30 years. A reward that only those who love can understand. Due to love, receivers become givers, and givers become also receivers. Today, the same impulse of love has brought us to many new frontiers and has also pushed us to do more in terms of ecological justice in China, trying to help people to change their ways of living, consuming and producing, in order to do justice to nature and our future generations. Thanks to Jesuit Missions, year after year you have been our companion in this journey to the frontiers and to the margins of humanity.”
CRSS was set up by Fr Luis Ruiz SJ in 1987, in collaboration with local governments and church communities, after he was moved by an encounter he had with a community of persons affected by leprosy (PALs). He wanted to create a service that would bring relief, dignity and social justice to the poor and marginalized in China.
Richard Greenwood, Outreach and Communications Manager at Jesuit Missions, who visited China in 2015, says:
“It was a huge inspiration to see the work of Casa Ricci in 2015. They continue to serve the poorest, including those abandoned by their own family, sharing God’s love with forgotten people.”