Casa Ricci Social Services

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Casa Ricci Social Services
Established1951; 71 years ago (1951)
PurposeCare for the neediest and for their children
  • Largo de Santo Agnostinho 4, Macau, China
Luis Ruiz Suárez
AffiliationsJesuit, Catholic
WebsiteCasa Ricci

Casa Ricci Social Services (利瑪竇社會服務  (Chinese)) began in 1951 when Spanish Jesuit Luis Ruiz Suárez opened the Jesuit residence in Macau, China, to war refugees.[1] With their resettlement Ruiz addressed the situation of those suffering from leprosy, and later those with AIDS. CRSS is supported by the independent Ricci Social Service Foundation."[2]


The roots of Jesuit social work in Macau go back to 1569 when Melchior Carneiro, the first bishop of Macau, founded there the first Western-style hospitals in Asia.[3]

In 1951 the Spanish Jesuit Luis Ruiz Suárez came to Macau and found it flooded with refugees from World War II. He opened the Jesuit residence to these refugees and initiated the Casa Ricci Social Services center.[4] The center provided the refugees with food, shelter, job help, and document processing. For their children the centre set up the “Colegio Mateus Ricci School” and “Escola de Santa Teresa do Menino Jesus School.”[5]

In the 1960s, the refugees had moved on and Ruiz shifted the services of the centre to the elderly, founding “Betania Home” for men[6] and “Santa Maria Home” for women.[7] Ruiz also extended services to the north of the peninsula and Taipa Island to alleviate family poverty and child labor.

In 1971 he enlisted the support of Caritas Macau, with help from Caritas International, to take Ricci House under its umbrella. while he continued extending outreach efforts.[5]

Emphasis on leprosy[edit]

Ruiz's work with he poor went on unabated. In the mid-1980s he extended Casa Ricci Social Services to lepers at Dajin Island of Taishan city in Guangdong province.[8] He began by obtaining medical care, food, water, and help with housing, then he found a group of religious sisters who would live among them and serve their needs. The anniversary of these new efforts was celebrated in 2017.[9]

He further established leper colonies deep in the mountains of Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in the north, bringing dependable drinking water and new housing, and, again, the help of a group of sisters. Ruiz emphasized reintegrating into the society the children of the lepers, securing their education along with other children. He established orphanages where they would not be associated with the stigma of leprosy. Ruiz went on to establish charitable institutions for the elderly, the disabled, the mentally handicapped, and to educate social workers throughout much of China.[1]

Emphasis on AIDS[edit]

With advances in medical treatment for lepers and the shrinking number of those impacted, Ruiz turned his attention to those suffering from AIDS, establishing a care center in Hongjiang, Hunan province, with the children living and being educated with other children.

When Ruiz became afflicted with diabetes and was bound to a wheelchair, he handed over his executive position in Caritas Macau to Mr. Poon Chi Ming. He continued as best he could moving between Macau and mainland China, in his outreach to those with leprosy or HIV/AIDS.[10] The center's work found continued funding through the independent Ricci Social Service Foundation, and the revised text of the "articles of association was filed in the Department's 2010/ASS/M2 file group on May 6, 2010".[2] Ruiz died in 2011 and is buried at Sanctuary Cemetery.[11]

In 2015 the Ricci Social Service Foundation was running 50 programs distributed in 13 provinces of China with 64 leprosy centers for a total of 4,000 patients and 5 HIV homes with a total of 300 HIV+ mothers/adult. It was also caring for 1500 students from poor families.[1][12][13][14] His work earned him several nicknames - "Luk Ngai" in Cantonese, "Father of the Poor"[12][14] and "Angel of Macau."


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Our Story". Retrieved 2017-02-20.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Team, 印務局 Internet. "印務局 - 公證署公告及其他公告". Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  3. "Melchior Carneiro, SJ". Retrieved 2017-02-20.
  4. "使命". Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Caritas". Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  6. "Caritas". Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  7. "Caritas". Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  8. "Taking a Walk through the Streets of Macao". Retrieved 2017-02-20.
  9. "承先啟後‧喜樂共融 利瑪竇社會服務成立30週年紀念活動 | 號角報". Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  10. "【社服】麻瘋病人的倚傍──利瑪竇社會服務 | 耶穌會中華省". 耶穌會中華省 (in 中文). 2013-06-26. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  11. "陸毅神父". Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Azevedo, Tiago (2011-07-27). "Fr. Ruiz dies at 97: Macau bids farewell to 'Father of the poor'". Macau Daily Times. Archived from the original on 2011-10-09. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
  13. "Macau Caritas founder dies at 97". CathNews Philippines. 2011-07-28. Archived from the original on 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Macau Caritas founder dies, Spanish Jesuit, whose Cantonese name was "Luk Ngai," also founded Casa Ricci". Union of Catholic Asian News. 2011-07-27. Archived from the original on 2011-09-25. Retrieved 2011-08-17.

Coordinates: 22°11′32.66″N 113°32′19.28″E / 22.1924056°N 113.5386889°E / 22.1924056; 113.5386889

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