The Macau Ricci Institute is focused on Macau’s historic role as a privileged door to China. It served as the crossroad of missionaries and a hub of cultural exchange between China and the West. Inspired by the life of Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) who became a true friend of China, the Macau Ricci Institute studies and promotes dialogue between the wisdom traditions of China, including Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism and Islam, and the Christian faith in modern society. The Institute seeks to build bridges between China and the West. Macau continues to offer a unique door to China and has a distinct history of facilitating dialogue between different cultures and China. The Macau Ricci Institute is an independent research institute which is affiliated with the University of Saint Joseph, Macau, and has developed programs of cooperation in the fields of teaching and research, as well as hosted jointly sponsored conferences promoting these fields.
There is a threefold focus at the MRI:
1) Comparative Spirituality
Inspired by The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola, the contemplative dimension has played a crucial role as an instrument of dialogue with other wisdom traditions, such as Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and Islam. It has also enabled the Christian faith to take root in different cultures. With its annual Symposium and a variety of Forums, the MRI brings together different circles of society and offers them different ways to dialogue with Chinese culture and wisdom traditions. Biographies of missionaries, such as Matteo Ricci, Alessandro Valignano, Johann Adam Schall, and Giuseppe Castiglione, as well as the story of the Rites Controversy.
2) Moral Leadership
The widening gap between the rich and the poor, as well as the growing ecological crisis, require new approaches to economics which are oriented to the common good.
The history of missionary activity in Macau offers insights for values education, highlighting solidarity, subsidiarity, fairness, and the importance of role models. The MRI is committed to sharing key insights from the lives of the missionaries with students from high schools in Macau, Hong Kong and beyond. It has also launched Cinema Forums which allow the participants to better understand Chinese culture and specifically feature examples of Confucian ethics.
3) Social innovation
The history of exchange between China and the West documents how deeply missionaries have contributed to social innovation. Examples include their sharing of knowledge about the natural sciences, including mathematics, geometry, cartography, astronomy, and medicine. They also used music and the fine arts in order to share their friendship with local people. The MRI highly values cultural events, featuring music and art, as a privileged way of dialogue between different cultures. The Institute sponsors research projects focused on the music and art of Jesuits in Macau and China. The MRI collaborates with the University of Saint Joseph and the Jesuit Worldwide Learning network in an effort to reach disadvantaged student demographics using blended learning methodologies in both online and offline courses.