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  • Guoying Stacy Zhang

Human Connection: Retired Catholic Priests and a Chinese Buddhist Monk

Writing this article during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, I am drawn to wonder how this virus, one out of millions of viruses on earth, has brought out the worst and best of humanity around the world? The coronavirus seems so symbolic. It can be anything that scares and separates people, causing prejudice, hatred, violence . . . but I have a deep faith in the human capacity to connect. Let me share a story with you.

One summer, after attending a wedding in Oslo, I traveled around Europe, going to places old and new, catching up with friends here and there: La Seine, the Vienna State Opera, Museum Island in Berlin, the Temple of Poseidon outside Athens . . . drinking almost everyday. However, I was completely sober during my stay in Belgium. I was visiting a Chinese Buddhist monk friend of mine, and Chinese Buddhist monastics follow hundreds of rules, no drinking being one of them.

My living room with a portrait of St. John “Don” Bosco. Photo by the author

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