Through the tumultuous late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Lu Zhengxiang—a devoted disciple of both Confucius and Christ—served his native China as a leading diplomat and statesman for more than thirty years. He entered the Catholic Church in 1911 and became a Benedictine monk in 1927.
In 1942, during the German occupation of Belgium, the elderly monk, now known as Abbot Pierre-Célestin Lu, O.S.B, answered a divine call to bear witness to how God had guided him through challenging times—from the political upheavals in both Asia and Europe to the untimely death of his beloved wife.
Originally delivered as a series of talks to brother monks, this book tells the extraordinary story of Lu's life and reveals how he sought to transmit the fruits of the religious life to his fellow countrymen, believing that Catholicism was the fulfilment of Confucius' teachings.
The historical and spiritual riches of Chinese Christianity have barely begun to be tapped in the West. Lu's story is a true treasure, embodying the challenges and the triumphs of the Christian communities in the Far East. Lu truly lived out the unity of East and West, testifying to the real catholicity of truth and goodness. His powerful story—furnished with an introduction and footnotes by Professor Joshua Brown—is essential for remembering the glorious past of the Church in China and hoping for its bright future.
"In Lu's Ways, I encountered a world and a cast of mind entirely new to me. I believe that its message is providentially calibrated for our moment—a light from the past for our future work in the apostolate."
— Mike Aquilina, Author, The Fathers of the Church; Editor, Reclaiming Catholic History series
"Joshua Brown's inspiring introduction is alone worth the price of the book. Working and praying for the future of the Church in China is incumbent upon every Catholic. This book is the place to start, because Lu Zhengxiang's extraordinary stories make manifest the terrible cost of Western imperialism vis-à-vis China, the richness of what Lu calls the Confucianist spirit, and the treasures that attract converts to Catholicism, which must be sustained today."
— Matthew Levering, James N. Jr. and Mary D. Perry Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
"Here we see the impressive life of a man who spent years as a diplomat for China and who later became a Benedictine monk. He saw every step of his life as a vocation. The humility and the intelligence leap off the page. The book is aided by a fine introduction and notes."
— Paul Mariani, S.J., Professor of History, Santa Clara University; Author, Church Militant: Bishop Kung and Catholic Resistance in Communist Shanghai
"In 1946, one of the most important Chinese Catholic intellectuals, Abbot Pierre-Célestin Lu, O.S.B., published his memoir under the title Souvenirs et Pensées. This long-awaited reprinting brings one of the great Christian classics back into circulation, and the voice of a Chinese spiritual master will again be heard."
— Anthony E. Clark, Edward B. Lindaman Endowed Chair, Whitworth University