SSpS Mission in Taiwan – The Beginning
The first two SSpS Sisters to set foot on Taiwan soil were Sr. Otgerina Luters and Sr. Euphemiana Schenk. Both were former China missionaries, who arrived from the Philippines on December 18, 1953.
The first years saw a rapid increase in the number of sisters. First, the former China missionaries, who had been dispersed to other countries after the take-over of the Communists of Mainland China, were sent to Taiwan. In 1958, the first new young missionaries, Sr. Athanasia and Sr. Celiana came from Germany. New missionaries kept coming also in the following years.
On September 8, 1965, was the first investment of a Chinese sister, but she was still sent to the Philippines for the novitiate.
On October 3, 1966, two postulants entered. They were the first to receive their formation here in Taiwan. They were followed by a number of other local vocations.
In the first years, the sisters were kept on the move. From the small place in Ta Tung Rd., only rented for them by the Jesuits, they soon moved into a house on Bei Da Rd. Since this house was much too small for the growing number of sisters, they built a second house in the same Japanese style. After the kindergarten was built, a number of sisters went across the street every evening for their night-rest there. In the early years, the kindergarten also served as the parish church. In 1960 the new Holy Spirit Convent opposite the kindergarten became a home for one community of sisters. The original house became the St. Joseph's Convent. But also his house was later replaced with a new building strong enough to resist the many typhoons that roar across the island every year. Attached to the convent, a dispensary and a sewing school were built. The sisters were involved in various activities: teaching religion, preparing for baptism, treating the sick in the dispensary and also visiting them in their homes, helping the poor, teaching sewing, and taking care of the vestments of the increasing number of parishes in Hsinchu.
The sisters living in the Holy Spirit Convent were mainly engaged in the teaching apostolate. After the kindergarten, they opened a high school in 1960. A year later, Mgr. Fahy asked the sisters to take over the Primary School he had built opposite the first St. Joseph Convent.
God's blessing accompanied the work of the sisters. They could sow the seed of faith into many hearts and the Church grew rapidly in those early years.