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Father Francis Xavier Wang S.J.

Fr. Francis Xavier Wang, S.J.
(Wang Chu Hua)
March 3, 1921 - April 23, 2011
China - Los Gatos CA
Father Francis X. Wang, S.J., 90, died April 23, 2011 in Regis Infirmary, Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos. He was a Jesuit for 70 years and an ordained priest for 59 years.
Francis was born in Shanghai on March 3, 1921. His parents sent him to be educated by the Jesuits and it was during his high school years that he accepted baptism in 1938. He entered the Jesuit novitiate at Zikawei on August 30, 1941. After pursuing philosophy studies in Beijing and theology studies in Shanghai, he was ordained a priest in Shanghai on April 16, 1952 by Ignatius Kung Pinmei, Archbishop of Shanghai.
He was able to do some apostolic work among students at St. Ignatius Church, Shanghai, before being arrested by the Communist authorities on May 20, 1954. Accused of being a counter-revolutionary and a member of the Legion of Mary, he was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment. One account indicates that he shared a 30' x 40' cell with 50-60 others. The prisoners slept side-by-side and could not turn over without disturbing all the others. In 1965 he was transferred from the prison in Shanghai to a labor camp in Qinghai Province. Upon completion of his sentence in 1966, he remained in forced labor at the Qinghai Reform Camp for refusing to denounce his Catholic faith. He worked at a factory in Xining producing tools and was able to perform clandestine ministry to the approximately 500 Catholics in the village in which he was living.
Re-arrested in November 1981 for his apostolic work, he was sentenced to six more years in the labor camp. The years in a harsh climate with poor rations took its toll on his health and he was given a reduced workload. Upon his release on November 18, 1987, he resumed his ministry.
In 1988, through the work of his sister, Mary, Fr. Wang was able to get a visa to come to the United States for health care. Before he left China, he made his long-delayed final vows in Shanghai on November 4, 1988. He arrived in Portland, Oregon, via Hong Kong on November 24, 1988. In 1991 he took up residence at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, where he ministered to the Chinese community in the San Jose area. During the last years of his life Fr. Wang's his health did not permit him to go out and do ministry, but the affection and high esteem which the Chinese Catholic Community had for Fr. Wang was clearly demonstrated by the constant string of visitors he had while he was in the Infirmary at Los Gatos.
Fr. Francis Wang is survived by a sister, Mary Wang, of Campbell.
Funeral services for Fr. Wang will take place at St. Clare Catholic Church, 725 Washington St., Santa Clara (408-248-7785), on Thursday, April 28. There will be a viewing and Rosary at 9:00 AM followed by Mass at 10:00 AM. Burial will take place immediately after the Mass at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery in Santa Clara. There will be a reception in the St. Clare parish hall after the burial.


Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Apr. 27, 2011
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