The Period of 1953 – 1959

After the last SVD missionary in 1951 had left Formosa, the voices of the old China  missionaries did not keep quiet, saying that one should at least in the periphery of China, namely in Formosa, continue the biggest and oldest SVD mission. Fr. General in his letter to General Assistant Fr. Kroes of Nov. 6, 1952 gave an answer to the arguments of the old China Missionaries, saying:

1. For the spiritual preparation of a renewed mission work in China the East-Asian Institute which is planned in Tokyo should in the first place be responsible. There the study and observation of the East-Asian situation should be done. It is there that the foundations should be laid and kept for the training which will be necessary for a new beginning in China.

2. Fr. General is against a big investment in personal in Formosa in view of a preparation for the opening up of China: “Then we will run the danger, that with a big preparation many of our best people will have to do work of relatively weak value for the Kingdom, while in many other places our confreres are crushed by their work and are unable to do those tasks for which we have a heavy responsibility, and that are also more meaningful, than the work of those who do the preparation. How would we organize the people concerned? Which concrete tasks would we give them?” (N.B. From this follows that Fr. General does not underestimates the mission work in Formosa, but does not want to provide bigger number of people just to prepare for Day X, when China would open up.)

3. The questionable security of Formosa is also a reason why he hesitates to send more missionaries to Formosa. It seems that the first big fiasco in Formosa in 1948/51 had caused Fr. General to be very cautious. He can not bring himself to make a big initiative regarding the mission work in Formosa. That is why he points out as a practical way for the future: “To be as sure as possible that we do what is under the given circumstances the most advisable for the holy mission work in China, it is necessary to always again inquire what other Congregations which are in a similar situation like us regarding China, are doing, and more so, what the Propaganda wants.” (Nov 6, 1952)

But at that time, when Fr. General wrote his letter, the Jesuits and the Maryknoll Fathers already had decided to work in Formosa and to invest as if they would stay for ever, and the results were great. The number of Catholics in Formosa grew with leaps, and especially among the intellectuals, and then again in particular among students and professors, the Jesuits had a brilliant success.