Aurora College for Women in Shanghai, 1937-1951

Cindy Yik Yi Chu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This paper discusses Aurora College for Women, which was under the management of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart in Shanghai from 1937 to 1951. The College was the first and only Catholic institution for tertiary education for women in China. It was an American-style university-college like other Sacred Heart colleges in the United States. There were only three Christian colleges for women in China at the time, the other two being Jinling Women's College (Jinling College or Ginling College) in Nanjing and Women's College of South China (Huanan College or Hwa Nan College) in Fuzhou. This paper is crucial to understanding the Chinese Catholic Church in the first half of the twentieth century. First, it examines the only Catholic university for Chinese women, which has barely been studied. Second, by focusing on Chinese women students, it contributes tremendously to the neglected area of Chinese women (particularly lay women) in the history of the Catholic Church in China before the 1950s. While historians have identified Chinese male elites in the Church, highly educated Chinese women have been ignored in scholarly studies. Thus, this paper is the first of its kind in the study of the Chinese Catholic Church and attempts to offset the gender bias in the traditional approach to its history. Third, this paper discusses a crucial period in Chinese history, covering the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), the Chinese Civil War (1945-1949), and the early years of the establishment of the Communist regime. It shows how Aurora College for Women responded to the difficulties of the war and the transfer of political authorities. Fourth, the events took place in Shanghai, which was the Chinese city under the greatest foreign and Catholic influence. This paper examines the neglected area of Chinese lay women's contribution to the Catholic Church.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAsia and China in the Global Era
EditorsAdrian J. Bailey, Ricardo K. S. Mak
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781501505591
ISBN (Print)9781501514890
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2021

Publication series

NameSocial and Cultural Changes in China

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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