Updated: May 11, 2012 10:35 AM GMT
On the day of Matteo Ricci’s death, following a short illness, in Beijing on 11 May 1610, the Jesuits of his community gathered around his bed. One of them asked him if he realised that he was about to abandon his fellow members of the Society when they were in so great a need of his assistance. ‘I leave you,’ he said, ‘at a door open to great merits, yet not without many perils and labours.’ And, as if it were he laying them to rest, he closed his eyes and very softly went to sleep in the Lord. He was only 58 years old and had been Superior of the whole of the Chinese Mission since 1597. What was the door he left open? What perils and labours had he foreseen? Only by placing his intellectual formation in its historical context can we answer these questions. After graduating from the Jesuit secondary school established in Macerata, Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) was sent to study Law at La Sapienza University of Rome by his father, Giovanni Battista, who wanted to secure a better future for his son. But he had not foreseen that Matteo had another idea in mind, and in 1571 he entered the novitiate of the fairly new Society of Jesus, established in 1540, to begin his Jesuit formation. The following years were to be very important in shaping his future. Full Story:Matteo Ricci's legacy: a loving patienceSource:thinkingfaith.orgRead more great writing about Matteo Ricci on our blog. Click here.