Trip to Taiwan–28 October (Part 1)

Our accommodations at the Franciscan retreat center were not quite the same level as the 19th floor of the Monarch Skyline Hotel in Taipei. The actual pilgrimage group took up all the rooms of the center, so the three of us coming in as extras slept in this room the first night.   The bathroom was one floor down and there was no shower so we had to wait till one of the pilgrimage people got out of her room so we could use her shower.
The actual retreat center was quite nice and really well renovated, reusing and recycling materials to be very environmentally friendly, in good St. Francis style.
Hong Kong friends now gathered in Taiwan: Charlie Dittmeier, Dominique Wong, Judy Wu, and Henry Wong. I married Judy and Henry in Hong Kong and later visited them in Geneva when Henry was working at CERN.
After leaving the retreat center we took a large bus up really narrow winding roads into the mountains in northeast Taiwan. Often we met situations like this were we had to back up to a wider place in the road to get by other traffic, and sometimes the curves were so sharp we had to back up and maneuver just to get around the hairpin bends.
Finally we got to the church we were visiting, about 4,500 feet up in the mountains. A Jesuit friend of the pilgrimage leader has been there for 43 years and he arranged a welcome for us by the aboriginal people there.
We had a mass with the aboriginal community and then everyone got together for a photo. They were such a warm and inviting community.
Notice that Mary’s robes are of the same style and pattern as the aboriginal people’s distinctive clothing.


The walls of the church were covered with large and small depictions of aboriginal life.