Peking — Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa, who hopes to establish the first Christian mission here since the Communist takeover in 1949, met today with a leader of China’s breakaway Catholic church.
Bishop Michael Fu Tieshan of Peking told the 74-year old Roman Catholic missionary, ‘‘you are a good daughter of God and have done a lot of work in helping the poor and disabled. It’s great work.”
Mother Teresa, who arrived Sunday on her first trip to China, said, “it’s God’s work. We take care of the poorest of the poor.
She was invited for a three-day visit at her own request and there was no immediate response from Chinese authorities to her hope of establishing homes for the needy.
She met Fu at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in southwest Peking, the only full-time Catholic Church in the Chinese capital. Earlier she attended a 6:30 a.m. Mass there.
“I was surprised to see so many people so early and praying so beautifully,” said Mother Teresa, who founded her order of nuns, the Missionaries of Charity, in Calcutta, India, in 1950.
Mother Teresa said she took communion despite the split between the Vatican and China’s Patriotic Catholic Church, Which severed relations in 1957 after accusing the Holy See of interfering in Chinese affairs.
Peking has rejected overtures from Pope John II for reconciliation, in part because of Vatican recognition of Taiwan.
Religion was banned and many places of worship desecrated in China during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution. But the current government has reopened some churches and the constitution says people are free to believe in God.
Albanian-born Mother Teresa said the Chinese service had ‘‘a few things different’’ from the Roman Catholic Mass, but was basically the same.”
“I think the priest was saying it in Latin and the people were praying in Chinese. Thank God we can each one talk in our own language with God.”
The Patriotic Catholic Church claims a membership of 3 million of China’s 1 billion populations. Christianity took root in China through Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci 400 years ago.
Mother Teresa visited Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao before arriving in Peking, and said her Taiwan trip was ‘‘very good.’’ Her sisters were already working there.
The gray stone cathedral dates from 1904 but a Catholic church was first built on the site in the middle of the 16th century.
Article extracted from this publication >> January 25, 1985