Sister Christina Marie Jung, MM
Born: February 3, 1914
Entered: December 6, 1937
Died: July 4, 1994
Sister Christina Maria Jung died very suddenly at the Center at 3:00 p.m., Monday, July 4th. Her great love for music accompanied her to the end. She died as she had lived, enjoying life every minute.
Jung Quai Tow (meaning Peach Blossom) was born February 3, 1914 in San Francisco, CA to Peter Jung Gain On of China and Tang Choy Yee of California. She was one of eight children, five girls and three boys. She attended Lowell High School and the Evening High School of Commerce in San Francisco. She was baptized in 1935 at Old St. Mary’s Mission in San Francisco during her high school days, taking the English name, Lillian.
At the age of 23, Lillian entered Maryknoll on December 6, 1937, just one year after her younger sister, Margaret Marie, entered Maryknoll. When Lillian was getting ready to come to Maryknoll, she wrote to Mother Mary Joseph: “I have bought everything required in the list except the collars and laundry bag. I shall appreciate it very much if you would order the collars and the laundry bag for me.” She was always refreshingly direct.
Sister Christina Marie made her First Profession at the Center on June 30, 1940. At that time she described her understanding of a Maryknoll Sister’s vocation in these words: “To love God and bring others to God.” From our experience with Christina, we know that her conviction grew with the years.
In June of 1943, she made her Final Profession. Those who knew Sister described her as a woman of great flexibility, generous, loyal, having an overall spirit, lovely sense of humor and innate refinement. Christina never looked on any task as beneath her, but approached everything with care and concentration.
After Final Profession, Sister Christina Marie studied at Maryknoll Teachers College and, after graduation in 1947, was assigned to Transfiguration Parish, New York City. In a press release, Sister Christina Marie was described as “a bright-eyed nun, who entered the Congregation of the Maryknoll Sisters with the idea of doing missionary work among the Chinese.” This she did …. in Transfiguration Parish, New York City for six years, followed by two years in Chicago. In both Chinatowns she worked as an interpreter, prepared Chinese people for naturalization, took them to the hospital when they were sick and taught the children. In 1955, eighteen years after entering Maryknoll, just when she thought she was too old to be sent out of the country, she was assigned to Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean, about 450 miles east of Madagascar, where 150,000 Chinese people had settled.
In 1957, after two years in Mauritius, she was assigned to Hong Kong where she saw her sister, our deceased Sister Margaret Marie, for the first time since 1939. For seventeen years Sister continued to live and work with the Chinese in Hong Kong as Teacher, Supervisor and Principal at Holy Spirit School, Manager of a Hostel for Maryknoll Hospital nurses, and Manager of lay retreatants at the Maryknoll Fathers’ Society House in Stanley. In 1983, she came for Congregational Service and worked as Assistant Supervisor in the Mail Room until 1986. When she completed her service, Sister Sue Moore of the Central Governing Board, thanked her by acknowledging her contribution with a lovely note: “Do know that your gift of yourself has not gone unnoticed. God will bless you for taking your responsibility so seriously.” In 1986, she returned to her Region, this time to Macau, where she worked with the aged and taught English in the Catholic Pastoral Center.
Sister Christina Marie was very much loved and her friends have many delightful stories to tell about her. Sister Rose Chin recalls that on one occasion when she and Christina went to the Maryknoll Hospital convent to visit the Sisters there, both of them were given the room where, just a year earlier, Sister Maria Teresa Yeung had died. Rose nervously took the bed that Sister Maria Teresa had at the time of her death. Sister Christina said to Rose: “Don’t be silly, she is not going to hurt you.” After midnight, Christina admitted in a soft voice: “I can’t sleep either.” Neither Christina Marie nor Rose slept that night! Christina kept in close contact with her Chinese roots and their deep respect for the spirits of the dead.
Sister Christina Marie loved to cook and go shopping in the market. She was always ready to work. It was difficult for her to return to the Center but for health reasons she, herself, knew this was what she needed to do.
Here at the Center, Christina continued to enjoy life. She loved a good Chinese meal and was delighted to accept invitations to go out to nearby Chinese restaurants for a meal. She also enjoyed group gatherings. The staff on Assisted Living describe Christina as a loving and lovable Sister, with a quiet unassuming presence. Christina was patient with her limitations and never wished to be a burden to anyone. She was also a Community person, always present for Community activities whenever she felt up to it.
Today, as we celebrate Christina Marie’s fullness of life, we thank her for her gentle quiet presence among us.
We welcome our Maryknoll brother, Father Joseph Veneroso, who will lead us in the celebration of the life and Resurrection of Sister Christina Marie.