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  • Writer's pictureFr. Scott Haynes

A Little Girl Takes a Stand

Fr. Scott A. Haynes


 

A little Chinese girl, who was only three years old at the time, was subjected to the brutal fist of the communist party. In the village where the girl lived, her family and her neighbors were Catholics. But when the agression of the Communists rushed upon them, it seemed everyone around her was going to abandon their faith. However, the way that she responded not only converted many people, but shows the courage of her charity and love for God. 

 

One night, in April of 1951, a little Chinese village was suddenly engulfed in the shackles of Communist repression. Little Mei, who was just three years old at the time, watched the developing drama with wide-eyed innocence throughout it all. These Communist forces swooped upon the area like silent phantoms when the community was shrouded in darkness.

 

They took Catholics away from the comfort of their homes and drove them away from their families and homes, ripping them away from their homes. Mei was unable to do anything but listen to the muffled noises of concern that reverberated through the streets of the town while she was safely tucked up in her bed. Her small heart was filled with fear and perplexity.

 

The scars left by that fatal night continued to linger even after months had gone. Under the watchful eye of Communist interrogators, Mei’s mother found herself in a position where she was pressured to abandon Christ and the Church. Her voice was shaking with dread and despair as she acknowledged that she would be speaking against the Catholic Church in a public gathering. This was a heartbreaking demonstration of submission on her part.

 

As her mother stood before the Communist office, a feeling of dread began to creep into her little heart, as she listened to her mother’s renunciation of Christ and rejection of the Church. The child was saddened at the words of treason which came from her mother’s lips. In the middle of the pandemonium, Little Mei had a moment of clarity. She  found her voice and with childlike innocence said, “Mummy,” she said, “didn’t we promise God that we would be faithful to the Pope and to our bishop?” Why do you want to spend eternity in hell? The child’s words hung heavily in the air.

 

Mei’s mother, rattled by her daughter’s unshakeable faith, began to weep, her eyes clouded with tears of sorrow. Her daughter’s words had awakened her faith in this moment and the child sensed her mother’s change of heart. Little Mei was certain that her mother now would be strong in her faith, sohe child turned and addressed the Communist officer, “Do you think we are afraid to go to prison for our faith?”

 

At these words, the Communist officer was incensed with rage, and he took Little Mei and her mother to prison. Little Mei’s spirit remained unbroken. Now confined to jail, little Mei soon discovered she was so small that she could slip easily between the bars of the prison. Because she was so small, the soldiers paid little attention to her comins and goings from the jail cell.

 

Amongst the prisoners with Little Mei and her mother was a bishop, several priests, and a few nuns. In the jail cell, the bishop and the priests  could not say Mass, but there were still some priests in hiding in the underground Church who could offer Mass. They used to send in loaves to the Catholic prisoners, with consecrated hosts secretly hidden in them, so that the bishop and priests could receive Holy Communion and then distribute Holy Communion to the other jailed Catholics.

 

In time, little Mei and her mother were released. By then, Little Mei’s bravery became the topic of conversation within the community, and her name was whispered in awe by people in the region. In that place, a missionary priest in hiding. Mei kept asking him to give her Holy Communion.  She was now four years old, but she knew was well-instructed and very fervent, so, the priest let her make her First Holy Communion, and a month afterwards she received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

 

Soon after this, there were a few occasions when Little Mei courageously encountered those Catholics who joined the Patriotic’ Church. When one of these men approached her mother, she went up to the man and said, “You are a traitor to our faith. If you want to go to Hell, go there, but leave us in peace. You cannot enter.” The man left without saying a single word. Little Mei approached her mother and calmed her, saying, “You see, Mummy, I am not afraid because I have received the sacrament of Confirmation and I am a soldier of Christ.” 

 

The bravery and dedication displayed by Little Mei are reminiscent of the experiences of the children of Fatima who were there during the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917. The children of Fatima, like Little Mei, were subjected to persecution because of their devotion to Christ and His Church. Their strong faith allowed them to persevere through adversity, even though they were subjected to threats and pressure to make a change in their views. We are reminded of the significance of being steadfast in our faith, especially in the face of hardship, by the fortitude and resiliency displayed by Little Mei and the little children of Fatima.

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