Sister Agnes Chou

 Sister Agnes Chou, M.M.

Current Ministry Location-Hong Kong

Sister Agnes, from Kung Ch’eng, China, entered Maryknoll in 1962. Her father, a Baptist, found Marian devotion in harmony with Chinese filial piety, and it aroused his interest in the Catholic Church. He studied books he borrowed on the Catholic faith and became a Catholic and led many people in his village into the Catholic Church. Sister Agnes was baptized by Bishop Joseph Regan, M.M., who was a young missionary priest at the time. After her baptism, she entered the Sister Catechists of Our Lady, a Chinese community trained by Maryknoll Sisters.

Sister Agnes and two other members of her Chinese community arrived in Macau in 1950 to finish their high school studies. In 1950, countless refugees from China went to Macau and Hong Kong. Since the Maryknoll Sisters had helped establish the Sister Catechists, they took an interest in the displaced Sisters while they finished their studies and then found positions for them in the Hong Kong diocese. Sister Agnes did social welfare work at King’s Park Welfare Centre, working in refugee settlements with Maryknoll Sisters and hoping that eventually she would be able to return to China, where the rest of her community was. As the hope faded, she entered the Maryknoll Sisters’ newly founded novitiate in the Philippines in 1962. She was in the first group to receive their complete novitiate training outside the United States.

Sister Agnes was assigned to Hong Kong, where she gave instruction in the faith in the sampans where many people lived on the water. After making her final profession of vows in 1970, she earned a B.A. in education from Chau Hai College in 1971 and came to the United States. She did pastoral work in Chicago’s Chinatown as well as studying English at City College of Chicago. She moved to New York and continued her pastoral and social work in the Chinatown health clinic in New York City. From 1981-1983, she worked with a refugee assistance program in Brooklyn. Eventually, she worked with Chinese immigrant families in all five boroughs of New York City from 1985-1989.

Sister Agnes returned to Hong Kong in 1990, where she worked at the Catholic Institute for Religion and Society in the Hong Kong/Macau region. When she represented the Maryknoll Sisters at the executive meeting of a center for the elderly, she realized she wanted to work directly with senior citizens. Some of the seniors were curious what Sau Neui (Cantonese for “Sister”) meant, giving Sister Agnes the opportunity to share her Gospel values.

Sister Agnes continues visiting homes, hospitals, and nursing homes in Southern China. She also makes what she calls “friendship visits” to the churches and Hansen’s Disease patients. The photo above shows her visiting with some of her Hansen’s patient friends.