The Xavier Centre for Memory and Identity is situated in the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) and named after the Jesuit missionary, Francis Xavier, who died attempting to enter China on an island not far from Macao in 1552. Xavier’s deferred “Chinese dream” came to life through Macao in the subsequent centuries, and the cultural dialogue here between East and West has continued down to the present. Macao’s fascinating blend of Sino- and Euro-cultures shape its unique identity as a city defined by paradox and pragmatism. Catholic education in China began in Macao, as far back as 1594 with the founding of the College of Saint Paul, and this tradition persists today in the University of Saint Joseph. As memory, tradition, faith, and identity are continually being (re)negotiated in modern society, the Xavier Centre for Memory and Identity seeks to gain insight and reflect on the roles of memory and identity in Macao and at USJ as a Catholic university serving China. The aims of the Centre are:
- To promote the study and research on the memory and identity of Macao, notably how intercultural exchange constructs the identity of Macao;
- To deepen understanding of the identity of Christianity in our world today: how the memory of the past shapes Christian identity and how Christianity responds to the shape of modern culture;
- To contribute to an international network for reflecting on Catholic higher education in the 21st century: to collaborate with the International Research Group on Memory and Identity under the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU/FIUC) for reflections on how memory and identity can inform the mission of Catholic universities, for presentation at the 2025 General Assembly of IFCU/FIUC.