Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Father Nicholas Kao Se Tseien, O.C.S.O., 1897-2007.

Trappist Father Nicholas Kao Se Tseien, the world's oldest Catholic priest, died early yesterday in Hong Kong at the age of 110. Born three years before the Boxer Rebellion, Father Kao grew up during the last years of China's Qing Dynasty and the turbulent early years of the Chinese Republic. Raised a Buddhist, he became Catholic at the age of eighteen. Ordained to the priesthood in 1933, Father Kao ministered in his home diocese of Fuzhou for sixteen years before fleeing China to escape Communist rule. After engaging in pastoral ministry in Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand, Father Kao entered the novitiate of the Abbey of Our Lady of Joy on Hong Kong's Lantao Island at the age of 75. He professed his final vows as a Trappist in his one-hundredth year. Father Kao remained healthy, mentally sharp and active in the affairs of his monastic community until dying in his sleep yesterday morning, scarcely a month before he would have celebrated his 111th birthday.

I once posted an entry about Father Kao on my old blog, focusing on a newspaper interview in which the aged monk explained how living a life of continence offered a recipe for longevity. He also shared some words of wisdom that manage to remind one of Confucius and the Desert Fathers at the same time: "My life has been marked by two words: patience and death. . . . Patience in the struggle for excellence of conduct, in learning from Jesus' patience on the cross. Death in learning to die without fear and to die in innocence." Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. AMDG.


At 12/13/2007 9:44 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Hello, I liked your piece. I linked it in my write up of Nicholas:

At 12/12/2016 1:50 PM, Blogger Marcia said...

Hi Fr. Joseph,

Thanks for posting this a few years back. I just found it because I am looking for an article about my uncle. I am writing to you here because I'm not seeing your email online, but please do not publish my comment. Fr. Kao was my great-great uncle. Incredibel person. :) Just want to let you know that I appreciate seeing someone write about him in the U.S.

Also, would like to invite you to pray for his great nephew, my uncle. He is also a Trappist and, this past weekend, just became the Abbot of the monastery that Fr. Kao lived and died in.

I hope that your Advent is as you need it to be. Blessings on your journey.



Post a Comment

<< Home