Joseph Freinademetz (1852–1908), a pioneer of the mission of the Society of the Divine Word in China, was canonized along with Arnold Janssen on October 5, 2003. A diocesan priest in his hometown of South Tyrol, he then joined the missionary foundation in Steyl and was sent to China; as a missionary he gave his life fully to the service of the Chinese people until his death.
Availability is an essential characteristic of the call to the missionary vocation. As members of the religious family of Arnold Janssen we have in the life of Joseph Freinademetz a clear model of inculturation and of respect for the religious and cultural traditions of other peoples. This inculturation was marked by a process of interior and exterior transformation which Joseph Freinademetz exemplified in his own life and death.
This short biography that narrates the life and missionary experience of Saint Joseph Freinademetz, was prepared on the occasion of his canonization on October 5, 2003 in Rome. It is excellent inspirational material for all those who yearn to be missionaries, for those who seek to grow in interreligious and cultural dialogue and, above all, for those who wish to share the Good News of God’s love in communities beyond their own.
Jesus is our model in the way we live our mission as members of the Arnoldus family. The suffering of Christ on the cross, the bread of the Eucharist, meditation on the Word of God and personal prayer were the stars that guided the life of the missionary Joseph Freinademetz. Those same values, like radiant stars, can guide our missionary life today.
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