Thursday, September 8, 2011

Li Tim-Oi

♥ ♥ ♥ Today's Awesome Woman of the Day is Li Tim-Oi (1907-1992) Although there were ancient Sumerian and Akkadian priestesses who held equal status to high priests, the first female priest of the Christian religion wasn't ordained until 1944 with Li Tim-Oi, thirty years before any Anglican church regularised the ordination of women.

When she was baptized as a student, Tim-Oi chose the name Florence after Florence Nightingale, the famous 19th century English nurse. In 1931 at the ordination of a deaconess in Hong Kong Cathedral, she heard and responded to the call to ministry. She took a four-year course at theological college in Canton. She was made Deacon on Ascension Day 1941, and was given charge of the Anglican congregation in the Portuguese colony of Macao, thronged with refugees from war-torn China.

Three years later, she was ordained priest on 25 January 1944, by Ronald Hall, Bishop of Victoria, in response to the crisis among Anglican Christians in China caused by the Japanese invasion. A storm of protest after the war forced her to refrain from exercising her role as a priest. To defuse controversy, in 1946 Tim-Oi surrendered her priest's licence, but not her Holy Orders, the knowledge of which carried her through Maoist persecution.

Towards the end of her life, she emigrated to Canada where she was able to resume her priestly duties. She was awarded Doctorates of Divinity by General Theological Seminary, New York, and Trinity College, Toronto. She died in 1992.
The Ordination in the Anglican Diocese of Hong Kong and South China took place in the Free China village of Shui Hing during the Sino-Japanese War.