Betty Ann Maheu is a Maryknoll Sister with degrees in drama, theology, Italian and Chinese. She spent 18 years in Hawaii teaching and doing education administration before serving on the Maryknoll leadership team then with the International Union of Superiors General as a coordinating editor and translator for the UISG main publication (Bulletin). A frequent traveler to China, she has taught English there and for 15 years served at the Holy Spirit Study Centre in Hong Kong.
The response of young, newly educated women religious to the fast-paced changes taking place within Chinese society will play a determining role in the future of religious life in the nation.
Christianity's path in China closely follows the country's political revolutions, so it was Aug. 22, 1991, when members of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Kongmoon would make their final vows, after 42 years of waiting.
"Does the government interfere with your work?" the foreign visitor asked Hà. "I just heard one of the children call you 'Sister.' Does the government know that you're a religious sister, and still they let you work here?" As a Maryknoll missionary working in China, Ngoc Hà Pham, like every Maryknoll Sister, including myself, who has worked in China, has answered those questions repeatedly.