Sister Lucy Chang was born on February 19, 1923, to Joseph and Mary Chang in China. She along with her brother, Simon, and her sisters Mary and Theresa, were raised in the Catholic faith. She attended Catholic elementary school as well as a Catholic high school.
To support the family, her father had a good position at the post office. They lived in a happy and comfortable home until the war broke out in 1937, when Japan attacked China and occupied it for the following eight years.
Sister Lucy became acquainted with the School Sisters of St. Francis through her cousin, Sister George, who was a member of the congregation.
Sister Lucy came to the United States in 1947 and was received in 1948. After her first vows, she was to return to China and teach at the high school in Tsingtao, China, which was owned and staffed by the School Sisters. However, by 1949, all the School Sisters were being called back to Milwaukee because of the takeover of China by the Communist Party.
Sister Lucy had a positive experience upon entering the congregation and was always hopeful and happy. She came to the United States to receive a higher education which would benefit her upon her return to China. However, because of the political situation this did not happen.
In 1953, she began teaching in Catholic elementary schools at St. Anthony of Padua in Milwaukee, Cross Plains, Campbellsport, and Dane, all in Wisconsin, and at St. Joseph’s in Wilmette, Illinois. She often recalled what a privilege it was to teach and prepare the second graders for their First Holy Communion.
After 15 years of teaching, she entered the business world. She worked at Allis Chalmers and the Deutz Allis Company in West Allis, and also at Manpower Inc., in Milwaukee. In 1989, when Lucy was semi-retired, she worked at the Village of Manor Park. After a total of 25 years in the business world, and at the age of 74, she finally retired.
Sister Lucy was a school teacher in China before she joined the School Sisters of St. Francis and continued to be an educator all her life, even in her retirement. She continued her ministry of education by teaching courses about China to older adults in the LaFarge program at the Motherhouse and in the Life Long Learning Center at Clement Manor. Her appreciation of her own culture continued to grow as she studied and taught about her native land. Her classes included such topics as “China in the 21st Century” and “Major Religions in China.”
Because of the political situation between China and the United States, Sister Lucy could not go back to China to see her family. However, on June 1, 1979, the two countries reestablished diplomatic relations. It was then that Sister Lucy quickly obtained a visa from China and visited her family for the first time in 32 years.
Sister often said, “It was only the grace of God, with the love and support of the School Sisters and my friends, that helped me through these difficult years.”
In closing, Sister Lucy wanted to relate how Ken and Bernice Saeman from Cross Plains, Wisconsin, played such an important role in her life since the 1960s.
“A spark of love from a second-grade child in my class extended God’s love on earth to me through the family of Ken and Bernice Saeman. In those days, our Rule allowed the sisters to make a home visit every six years, and then later every three years. When Mary Kay Saeman, one of my second-grade students, heard this from the sisters in school, she told her parents that all the sisters would be going home to their families during the summer vacation. Sister Lucy has no home to go to. Can she come to our house for her vacation?
Ken and Bernice, and their three daughters, Barb, Mary Kay, and Jean, welcomed me into their lives with open arms. Their doors were open to me on all occasions. I have received love and friendship beyond measure from the whole Saeman family throughout my life in the United States. I owe a great deal of gratitude to them now and forever. Only God can reward them fully for their kindness shown me.”
Sister Lucy, in your favorite psalm, Psalm 27, you have often prayed with hope, “I believe I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.” And now you are enjoying the goodness of God in the eternal land of the living. May you now rest in peace. Amen.