For her part, Mrs. Irene Cheong confided:
“Since the founding of Colegio Mateus Ricci, we have been serving low-income families or young people struggling to succeed in their studies. Non-Catholics represent 99% of the school community. Through the presence of Jesuits and the formation of various staff members, we try to implement Ignatian spirituality and pedagogy, integrating them into the fundamental values and identity of the school. We promote them in school activities and programs. In religious, civic and moral education courses, which is a fundamental subject from kindergarten to the end of secondary school, also in the classes of universal history and Chinese history.
We furthermore provide students and families with a villa in Coloane (a neighbouring island) where they can enjoy nature and outdoor activities. In all these contexts, we build bridges with God, with people of different faiths, with the poor, with young people to give them hope, with the Macao community, with nature and between Eastern and Western cultures.”
She admitted that when she arrived at the Colegio Ricci, she knew nothing about Matteo Ricci or Saint Ignatius. Since then, she has read and participated in retreats. It transformed her life and her relationship with others and with God. “I was then called upon,” she said, “to spread the Ignatian values that are so valid for everyone - whether Catholic or not.”