On August 3, 2002, the mosaic of Our Lady of China was dedicated. Residing in the west nave stair hall of the Great Upper Church, this mosaic is a copy of the painting of Our Lady of China by John Lu Hung-Nien. Through the use of vibrant color and delicate mosaic detail, it shows Mary and the Christ Child in traditional Chinese garments. Beneath the mosaic, the words faith, hope, charity, and unity are written in Chinese characters.
About the Artist and the Project
Born in present-day Beijing in 1914, John Lu studied at the Academy of Fine Arts at the Catholic University of Peking. A convert to Catholicism, Mr. Lu is recognized as a master of religious art, particularly for his Madonna. His painting of Our Lady of China became well-known as a result of its use on a holy card by Thomas Cardinal Tien Ken-Sin, the first cardinal of China. After his exile, Cardinal Tien Ken-Sin used the card to promote devotion to the Blessed Mother and prayers for the persecuted Church in China. Thanks in part to his efforts, the devotion flourished.
Chinese Americans in the Archdiocese of Washington pioneered the mosaic project at the Basilica as a means of showing gratitude towards Mary for her maternal intercession for the people of China. Across the nation, Chinese Americans contributed to the creation of the mosaic, which today stands as a tribute to Mary’s love for the people of China. As Pope Francis prayed at the Library of the Apostolic Palace:
Dearest Catholic brothers and sisters in China, I wish to assure you that the universal Church, of which you are an integral part, shares your hopes and supports you in your trials of life. She accompanies you with prayer for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, so that the light and beauty of the Gospel, God’s power for the salvation of whoever believes, may shine within you. In expressing to you all once again my great and sincere affection, I impart a special Apostolic Blessing. May Our Lady keep you always!
Our Lady of China Prayer
The following prayer appeared on the original prayer card featuring the painting of Our Lady of China by John Lu Hung-Nien:
Hail, Holy Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mother of all nations and all people. You are the special heavenly Mother of the Chinese people.
Teach us your way of total obedience to God’s will. Help us to live our lives true to our faith. Fill our hearts with burning love for God and each other. Stir up in our youth an unconditional giving of self to the service of God.
We call on your powerful intercession for peace, reconciliation, and unity among the believers, and conversion of the unbelievers in China and throughout the world, for God’s mercy is our only hope.
Our Lady of China, Mother of Jesus, hear our petitions and pray for us. Amen.