Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

From Ruohan to Yaohan: the Founding and Spiritual Practice of Little Brothers of St. John the Baptist, one of Indigenized Catholic Congregation in China (1928-1934)

Author: LIU Xian, Associate Professor, Institute of Qing History, Renmin University of China



The Little Brothers of St. John the Baptist, together with the Congregation of the Disciples of the Lord, were among the earliest indigenized Congregations in Chinese Catholic history. Little Brothers of St. John the Baptist was founded in 1928 by the Belgian priest Vincent Lebbe (who was later given Chinese citizenship), and adapted the austere regimen of the Order of St. Benedict, adopting “Sacrifice Fully, Love Sincerely, Rejoice Constantly” as their motto. Based on newspaper articles and memoirs, this paper tries to trace this congregation’s founding history, its unique abbey culture, and the formation of its spiritual tradition. Through the naming of the abbey (“Zhenfu Yuan”真福园), its unique religious culture, missionary practices, and ritual and music reforms, the efforts that the Little Brothers undertook to indigenize the Catholic church in China can be seen. During the Anti-Japanese War, the self-sacrifice of the Little Brothers of St. John the Baptist reinforced its identity as an indigenous Chinese Catholic congregation



Vincent Lebbe, Little Brothers of St. John the Baptist, Sacrifice Fully, Love Sincerely,Rejoice Constantly, Indeginious Congregation


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