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A Visit to the Isle of Prayer

02 April 2016

Presse MIC

A Visit to the Isle of Prayer

For almost forty years, the MIC Sisters took care of the people with leprosy on St. Joseph’s Island, providing food, lodging, care and comfort. After overcoming many obstacles, including war, the last four Sisters had to leave their work when they were expelled by the communists in June 1952.(1)

(1) GAUTHIER, Chantal, Women Without Frontiers, Ed. Carte blanche, 2008, p. 320
(MIC Mission News, Spring 2015, p. 10 – Research by Marie-Paule Sanfaçon, m.i.c.)

Beneath the serene sky of a beautiful May day, we behold the Isle of Shek-Lung, set in the sparkling waters of an apparently calm and peaceful river. ?A solemn stillness prevails, broken only by the rustling of leaves in the gentle breeze, the rippling of the waves and the splashing of oars. ?A sweet melody comes to us across the waters, “San Yi Fouk Malea… San Yi Fouk Malea… Hail Mary, Hail Mary.” It is the voices of our unfortunate lepers mingling their incessant hymn of faith and gratitude with the song of the little birds that have taken up their abode not far from the chapel.


This island has been named The Isle of Prayer on account of its profound solitude and the tender piety of its inhabitants. In this little corner of the earth, unknown to the greater majority of men and dreaded by those to whom it is known, hundreds of creatures stricken with the inexorable leprosy, live, suffer, and pray in awaiting a better life. The joy of God’s smile shines on these faces, frightfully distorted by the disease, but radiant with the grace of baptism.

How touching is the spectacle presented to the eyes of visitors! How sweet it is to hear the uninterrupted recitation of the Rosary on the lips of these poor disinherited of the earth, whose life is consumed in suffering and prayer.

(The Precursor, September 1923, ?p. 33)

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