Church of St. Teresa

St. Teresa’s Church is a neo-Romanesque building, completed in 1932. The architect was Dutch Benedictine monk, Adalbert Gresnigt, OSB, who was also a renowned artist. His works are found in the United States, Brazil and many other countries; the former Fu Jen University in Peking and Holy Spirit Seminary in Aberdeen were also designed by him.
St. Teresa’s Church is characterised by its Romanesque concept of balanced symmetry, similar to churches built across Europe during the same period. The aisles are defined by round arches supported on Corinthian columns of local granite, readily distinguished by the acanthus-leaf motif on their capitals.

The windows are glazed in simple geometric patterns of yellow and green, imbuing a humble purity that goes well with the spiritual simplicity of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus. Built in reinforced concrete, the roof beams nevertheless contain a solemn touch of Chinese palace architecture.

In the marble sculpture behind the main altar, the cherub on the cross is seen showering down roses, as a symbol of God’s heavenly grace. The statue was carved to replicate the one in the Carmelite church in Lisieux, France and donated by students of St. Mary’s College. In the colour-mosaic composition on the rear wall (redecorated in 2007 to celebrate the church’s 75th anniversary) are depicted glowing clouds, shower of roses, little white flowers, grass, earth, water, and the burning fire of Hades. It is an allegory to St. Teresa carrying on from her earthly wish and mission for the salvation of souls; from heaven above she showers down roses, for the welfare of mankind, that the earth may be blessed with green grass and flowing springs, full of life’s breath. The statue of Our Lady of Fatima, above the side altar to the left, was among the first shipment from Portugal, after the apparition of 1917.

The campanile on the east side is an iconic feature of the church. Older parishioners still remember the chimes for the Angelus, which continued well into the 1960’s. After World War II, the statue of St. Christopher, patron of traffic safety (by tradition, a third-century figure), was erected near the corner of the fence wall, to the right of the main façade, looking onto the traffic of Prince Edward Road and Waterloo Road, as if to protect divers and pedestrians using these busy thoroughfares. In the past, a special rite for the blessing of motor vehicles was held every year on 25th July; this practice is now discontinued.Wikipedia

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