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How a sketchbook led one Chinese woman to the Catholic faith


Yan Xu is an artist from the central China city of Wuhan. What she drew one day would change her life.

Confused about her future after resigning from a job in 2003, she found herself at an unlikely place.

“At that time, I used to carry a sketchbook and pen with me, and spent all the day time on urban sketching,” she told CNA. “I like to sketch the classical buildings of the city, and this is how I found St. Joseph’s Cathedral, which is built downtown.”

She said she found the Church to be “magnificent, beautiful.”

“I stayed there and then came back there to sketch my painting,” she said. “On the third day, a Catholic priest came and talked to me about the Catholic faith. For years, I had not cared about religion, and I wanted to know more about faith.”

“I attended the Mass every Sunday, and prayed to the Lord that he show me the way, even though I was not Catholic.”

It took her nearly seven years to be baptized, and she came into the Church at St. Joseph’s Cathedral during the Easter Vigil of 2011.

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