|Renhui huigui 仁會會規 in Yesuhui Luoma dang'anguan Ming Qing Tianzhujiao wenxian 耶穌會羅馬檔案館明清天主教文獻.|
Jap-Sin II, 169.1
Renhui huigui 仁會會規
After the introduction (three paragraphs) there follow nineteen rules. This Renhui 仁會 most probably refers to the Confraternitas Misericordiae, an institution of charity founded in Portugal at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Cf. Documenta Indica, vol. 6 (Rome, 1960), p. 98, footnote 12: “Institutio notissima lusitana, a regina D. Eleonora et Michaele Contreras († 1505) fundata, in qua omnia officia caritatis erga pauperes, infirmos, orphanos etc. exercebantur, difusa per totam quoque Orientem lusitanum.” See also João Ameal, Dona Leonor, Princesa perfectissima (Porto, 1968).
Concerning the institution of the Confraternity in the Orient we have:
1. A letter from Francisco de Pina, S.J., to Fr. Jaime Lainéz, then General of the Society of Jesus, dated 11 December 1563, which mentions the existence of a house of Misericordia. “Há tambem aquy, hua casa da Misericordia.” This shows that by 1563 the Confraternity already existed in India. Cf. also Josef Wicki, “Die Bruderschaft ‘Misericordia’ in Portugiesisch Indien” in: Das Laien-apostolat in der Missionen (1961).
2. The Introductio, p. 724, quotes the annual letter of Luis Fróis written on 2 January 1584: “Anno 1583 oppidi Nagasakiensis incolae japonici ad fidem conversi Confraternitatem Misericordiae instituerent atque sua pecunia Ecclesiam Misericordiae sub invocatione BMV construxerunt.”
In the introduction of the Renhui huigui the members are exhorted to have special devotion to the Blessed Virgin; in performing their spiritual duties they must imitate the kindness of the Blessed Mother. They must try not to utter empty words, rather they should carry out their resolutions with great earnestness. It is interesting to note that the introduction pays attention to the way in which prayers should be recited in public: the chanting of prayers should be in harmony without one going ahead and the other behind; if the left side says the antiphon, let the right side say the responsory and vice versa. They must not mix their language with local dialects.
Cf. Courant 7348: Jen-hoei yo so hsing thiao mu 仁會約所行條目, Règlement d’une Confrérie de charité. There is a preface by Wang Zheng 王徵 written in 1634. Could this have been the first institution of the confraternity in China?
Source: Albert Chan, Chinese books and documents in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, pp.457-458.