The new Matteo Ricci Cultural Exchange Exhibition Center details the life of the Jesuit priest, known as Li Madou to Chinese people, through an array of exhibits and written accounts.
The center is located near the ruins of the first church and Jesuit house that Fr. Ricci and his companion Jesuit Father Michele Ruggieri were allowed to build after they arrived in China in 1583. The church, called “Xianhua Temple” out of respect for Buddhist custom, was dedicated to the Blessed Mother.
Jesuit Father Gabriel Li Jiafang of Jiangmen, who attended the opening, hoped the exhibition, which is designed to boost tourism, would make more people aware of the missionary and the Catholic faith.
“The local Church has provided historical material such as books and written records for the Ricci exhibition center which is managed by the city museum. A replica of a Ricci statue owned by the parish is also erected there,” the pastor of Zhaoqing’s Immaculate Conception Church said.
Other exhibits include Fr. Ricci’s writings, items of clothing, scientific instruments and astronomical data, to help visitors understand his background, his six years in Zhaoqing (until 1589) and his contribution to cultural exchanges between East and West.