Initial Announcement: Father Rob Carbonneau, C.P. to teach in China (September 2007-July 2008)

Home / Publications / Historical Reflections / A Year Teaching in China: Background and Reflections / Initial Announcement: Father Rob Carbonneau, C.P. to teach in China (September 2007-July 2008)

October 15, 2008
Introduction to this essay: The following announcement was sent out to Passionists and the public on July 4, 2007. In doing so I felt both excitement and anxiety. The excitement was based on the fact that teaching in China was a dream come true for me. The anxiety was over whether I would succeed and how would I spend my time each day? I certainly felt the support of the Passionists and was eager to associate with AITECE. This organization placed me at my teaching site in Chongqing. Those who might have a dream of teaching in China should contact them. Finally, after much thought I decided to seek prayerful and financial support through this email. So many responded in a positive manner. Now having completed a successful teaching and life experience in China, which was beyond my expectation, I have every hope to continue to apply monies from the Father Marcellus White Trust to educate the public about the historic presence of the Passionist in China. Another hope is to be able to eventually establish a Passionist Archives Financial Trust that will allow the archives to operate without an ongoing subsidy from the Passionists. For this reason and the historical record I am keeping information about donations in the email. I hope your reading of this first email encourages you to read others about my teaching and living experience in China. I thank all of you who did support me and welcome those who wish to contribute to the future success of the Passionist Historical Archives.

With pleasure, excitement, and anticipation, I want you to know that I will be teaching in China for a year. Today, email is the most efficient way to get this news to you. You have received this information because you know me or have had contact with the Passionist Historical Archives. After you read the following information please email me if you have any individual comments or questions.

I plan to leave the United States on August 23, 2007. I have been thinking of this for many years. The Passionist leadership of St. Paul of the Cross Province and the Passionist community here at Baltimore: Fathers Bill Murphy, C.P., Alban Harmon, C.P. and more recently Paul Zilonka, as well as my family and friends agreed that the time is right to fulfill this long time dream.

Where and what will I be teaching?
I will be teaching in Chongqing, China. Located in Sichuan province on the Yangtze River, it was formerly known as Chungking. During the 1940s this was the war-time capital of the Chinese Nationalist government under Chiang Kai-shek. In 2005 the population of the urban area of Chongqing proper was 4.1 million.

I will teach at Sichuan International Studies University (SISU) in Chongqing. I got the position by sending my resume to the AITECE Teachers Program. AITECE (Association for International Teaching Educational and Curriculum Exchange) is a an association for placing Catholic teachers in Chinese universities. AITECE made contact with SISU. The SISU English language website is

How will I spend my time there?
SISU has asked me to teach fourteen hours of classes. I will teach in English. The courses will be about American history, language, culture or literature. This might mean teaching topics such as multi-culture communication, international relationships or American culture and literature, which are connected with history. While the Chinese students will know English, it is my job to improve their English languages skills. I expect the teaching to be demanding. I know I must be flexible, I will know the exact details of what I will teach when I arrive in Chongqing in early September 2007. SISU will pay me a basic salary and provide me with an apartment. Everything seems to be ready. I am awaiting by mail the written invitation from SISU which will enable me to get my travel visa. Please pray that all the necessary permissions are granted. There will be an option if all goes well to teach a second year.

Less easy to articulate is the religious dimension of my experience. I suspect most people will wish to be skeptical when I tell them that the Catholic Church and interest in religion continues to slowly grow. I had good experiences with church leaders here. In the last month I met long time Catholic leaders from the former Passionist area of west Hunan and in the next several days will be the guest of Rose Wang and her family. Her grandfather was the catechist for the Passionist mission in Yuanling, China. As time went on students asked questions about religion and some began to worship at local churches. Still other students, in candor, came to me and asked advice on how to deal with some American foreigners who were going around our campus and were trying to promote their Christian faith and use of the Bible.

I need your support in three ways:

  1. I need your prayers.
  2. You will always be able to email me at [email protected]. After my arrival in China I hope to have available for you a China contact email if you wish to write to me. Be advised that there might be certain guidelines to follow. Why? It is because I am an invited guest in China.
  3. You can also help me witness as a Passionist in China by making a donation . You can also help me witness as a Passionist in China by making a donation.
  4. Another option is to write a check payable to the Father Marcellus White Trust. The family and relatives of Father Marcellus White beagn the Trust in 2003 to honor his memory. A Passionist missionary to China during the 1940s through 1950s, he loved and was loved by the Chinese people. He was born in 1908 and died in 2003. Money from the Trust keeps this friendship with the Chinese people alive today. Know that the monies used from this fund are for important educational purposes. Specifically, when I am in Chongqing, money from the Marcellus White Trust will allow me get a tutor so as to improve my ability to speak, read and write Chinese, and conduct historical research about the Passionists in China during the twentieth century.

You can send your donation to Robert Carbonneau, The Passionist Historical Archives 526 Monastery Place Union City, NJ 07087.

I look forward to hearing from you,
Rob Carbonneau, C.P.