Date of Award
Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2018.
Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)
Aware of the need to address the existing challenges of the religious women of southwest China, I find inspiration and guidance in the Book of Ruth. This thesis suggests that the main challenge to women‘s religious life in southwest China is the lack of foundational religious formation and a vital spirituality of religious life. It argues that the character of Ruth embodies the spiritual principles of solidarity, initiative, and integration, and can therefore provide the religious women of southwest China with a model of holistic spirituality which fosters a formational renewal of spiritual and communal life and confirms religious identity.
Chapter One presents an overview of the history of Chinese religious women, particularly the life and ministry of the religious sisters of southwest China. Chapter Two gives a brief introduction to the Book of Ruth, followed by an exegetical study of four passages through the lens of women‘s spirituality, conducting a close reading of these passages in relation to the three themes of solidarity, initiative, and integration. Chapter Three serves as a synthesis and conclusion, demonstrating the link between these spiritual features of the Book of Ruth and the needs of the religious sisters of southwest China for a renewal of religious life.
With regard to methodology, the study employs historical analysis to trace the emergence of religious life in China, particularly the life and ministry of the religious women in the southwest region after the end of the Cultural Revolution. My approach to iii the Book of Ruth consists of a close reading of the character of Ruth through the lens of women‘s spirituality, using a formalist literary method that attends to what a character says and does in the text, how the narrator describes the character, and how other characters respond or react to this individual. In addition, it employs a socio-historical analysis of the character‘s social location in order to understand what it means for Ruth, a Moabite woman, to go to Bethlehem and to struggle for survival in the patriarchal culture of ancient Israel.
The story of Ruth offers to the religious women of southwest China a source of inspiration, one which can be of great help in the process of exploring the charism and spirituality of our religious institutes. Ruth‘s qualities of solidarity, initiative, and integration, which reflect a biblical spirituality, can provide a spiritual model for the formation of the religious women of southwest China. Such a model could help us to fashion an integrative transformation of religious life, one that binds us together in solidarity and kinship, and renews our passion for the love of God and the service of God‘s people.
Chen, Xiaoqiong, "Ruth: A Spiritual Role Model for the Religious Women of Southwest China" (2018). Jesuit School of Theology Dissertations. 18.