Sister Margaret Cho, along with Sister Helen Kiang, were the U.S. Adorers’ first non-white, non-European, non-American members. Natives of China, the two women urged the U.S. Adorers to continue “the great mission
work,” as Margaret wrote to Mother Mary Dorothy Simpson in 1948.
Sister Margaret Cho was born on July 23, 1908 in Wang Muo Chuang, Shantung, China. Lin-dscheng, or Mary, was raised in a family compound of 60 people.
Traditional Catholic Family
Mary’s family members were traditional Catholics for generations, and she had a great uncle who was beheaded because of his Catholic faith. Trained by Franciscan missionaries, Mary was one of the chief catechists for them and for the Adorers who arrived in China in 1933.
She and Helen arrived in the United States on June 20, 1939, encouraged by the Franciscans to join the community in the U.S. out of a hope that the presence of Chinese Sisters in Ruma would increase interest in the China mission.
Mary became Sister Margaret Cho and made first vows in 1941 and final vows in 1946. Because of immigration restrictions, she and Helen could not renew their visas and had to return to China from November 1947 until
March 1949. After years of negotiating with Immigration and Naturalization Services, these Chinese sisters were granted legal permanent residence under a federal law passed in 1953.
Sister Margaret Cho ministered in domestic service, mostly at the Ruma Center, freely sharing the bread she baked with visitors. Her English was as unique as she was.
She often went to her room “to take her feet off.”