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Macau nuns use travel stamps to evangelize tourists

Nuns introduced the stamps recently to cater to tourists interested in collecting them
Two Daughters of St. Paul nuns pose for a photo with two newly designed travel stamps in their bookstore in Macau.

Two Daughters of St. Paul nuns pose for a photo with two newly designed travel stamps in their bookstore in Macau. (Photo: Jornal O-Clarim)

Published: May 15, 2024 07:02 AM GMT
Updated: May 15, 2024 08:38 AM GMT

A group of Catholic nuns in Macau has started distributing two specially designed travel stamps to tourists flocking to the Chinese-ruled former Portuguese colony.

The Daughters of St. Paul nuns introduced the stamps recently to cater to increasing tourist interest in collecting them, Jornal O-Clarim, the Catholic weekly of Macau diocese, reported on May 10.

Sister Bernadette Kim Geun said these exquisite stamps not only serve as souvenirs but also act as a means of evangelization, allowing the sisters to engage in conversations with visitors and share God’s love.

According to Sister Kim, the superior of the congregation in Macau, an increasing number of Chinese visitors have been coming to their bookstore asking for such stamps.

They often carry a “little passport” with their travel stamps collected from various tourist locations, the Korean nun noted.

The congregation members then discovered that St. Paul’s Bookstore in the city center has become a top location of interest shared on Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book), a popular Chinese social media platform.

According to the Macau government's Statistics and Census Service, as of December 2023, Macau recorded 2,943,930 visitor arrivals. About 67 percent were from mainland China, 23 percent from Hong Kong, and 10 percent from other parts of the world.

In response to this interest, the nuns invited artistic members among them to create two designs, one featuring the iconic Ruins of St. Paul’s, a well-known historic landmark in Macau, and the other with Macau's cathedral, the report said.

Both stamps depict a happy nun in front of both locations carrying a sign saying: “Jesus loves you.”

“The Ruins of St. Paul’s is a recognizable landmark, but people don’t recognize us as nuns,” said Sister Kim. So, the nuns decided to use the stamp to convey the message of faith and to create an opportunity for dialogue.

“We want to share with them God’s love and our mission of evangelization in Macau.” she explained.

On average, ten tourists visit the bookstore daily to ask about the stamps, Sister Kim said.

She said she was surprised that some of them actively inquired about their religious faith and the nuns' identities.

She believes that this is a great opportunity for evangelization and hopes that these two small stamps will continue to spread God’s love to more people.

The Daughters of St. Paul is an international Catholic religious order founded in Italy in 1915. Also known as the Media Nuns, they engage in communication work and operate Pauline Books and media centers in 51 countries worldwide.

The congregation came to Macau in 1969 and currently has seven nuns serving in Macau diocese.

Macau was handed over to China in 1999 following centuries of Portuguese rule from 1557.

Macau is now a special administrative region of China with an estimated population of 700,000, including about 30,000 Catholics.

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