Mission to the Land of the Three Rivers (1933-1952) In 1035, St. Bernard of Menthon built a hospice on the Mont Joux, the most ancient pass through the Alps.
Related: Lamas performing Cham Dance in Tibet
The hospice was run by a congregation of canons, with the aim of assisting mountain travellers and providing shelter.
In the 16th century the hospice, together with the pass, were named Great St. Bernard.
The hospice’s fame was also due to the dogs used in mountain rescues, named after this patron saint of mountaineers and climbers.
Between 1933 and 1952, the canons of the Great St. Bernard sent 4 missions to Yunnan province.
Their area extends from north to south, confined between the natural barriers of the Yangtze river, the Salween river and the Mekong river, from Yanjing (known in Tibetan as Yerkalo) to Weixi.
The views offered by the three rivers, separated by mountains reaching heights of more than 4,500 meters, are breathtaking and unique.
During the mission’s twenty years in Yunnan the canons took over the French M.E.P.’s mission stations.
They built a shelter, began the construction of a hospice on the peak of Latsa and opened many schools, in particular Hualuoba school.
Most notably, the canons were able to enter an almost impenetrable universe of diverse ethnicities, religions, customs and traditions.
At the Canons of the Great St. Bernard’s archives in Martigny, ample materials with extraordinary documentative and anthropological value were unearthed.
This exhibition was the result of an extensive research financed by CASCC (Center for Advanced Studies on Contemporary China).