sincere thanks to Theresa M. da Luz, San Francisco, California,
who wrote the following article for the Lusitano Club of
San Francisco some 10 years ago.
The article also appeared in the 'Casa de Macau Australia
Newsletter', April 2006 issue.
Ladies of Little Flower Club'
Theresa M. da Luz
around old photos, Virgie McDougall discovered the photograph
below. It was taken on the grounds of Little Flower Club
in Kowloon. We had a great time identifying all the ladies
present. I was quite suprised that I was able to remember
the names of 95% of the ladies - quite a few of them were
my aunts and cousins or related by marriage to the vast
Yvanovich clan, lovingly called "Outsiders"
by my Uncle Vicente. I am guessing that the occasion was
farewell luncheon for the Menezes sisters, Celeste Menezes
Ribeiro and Marie Menezes.They immigrated to Australia
sometime in the 1950s.
Little Flower Club's founding members were Hedewiges da
Silva, Bertha Vaz Barretto, Aurea Baptista and Dona Reca
(the lady who taught Portuguese to many of the Canossian
Institute students). The Club was primarily a Catholic
Action Ladies Club. At first, they woud meet in a little
room in the rectory of the Hong Kong Catholic Cathedral
and as they recruited more members, they moved to rented
quarters in Jordan Road, Kowloon, and eventually to their
permanent location at Kings' Park, right next door to
Club Recreio. The Macao Catholic Action Ladies were invited
to join the Club. Aurea Baptista formed a band called
"Lira Das Florinhas" and they performed in many
of the Macanese functions.
World War II put a stop to all this; the ladies had to
take care of their families on their own, as many of their
husbands were interned as Prisoners of War. Everything
in Hong Kong cam to a standstill during the occupation.
There was no way of earning a living in Hong Kong, all
assets were frozen or could only be converted to worthless
Japanese script. Many left for Macau with their children
to wait out the war.
The Macau Government generously provided for all those
who wished to accept food and lodging. While in Macau,
those who had husbands and sons in POW camps received
a subsidy from the British Governent through the British
Consul. Many of the younger men who were not in camp were
hired by the British Consul as guards.
However, a few of the ladies opted to stay behind in Hong
Kong, some because they had homes which could not be abandoned
for fear of complete destruction by looters. By selling
some of their precious possessions, some were able to
hang on and provide their husbands in camp with food parcels.
1943, the Red Cross opened a shelter for POW families
at Rosary Hill and many of the ladies moved up to the
Hill. The Club was abandoned and the looters did their
When World War II ended and we were allowed to return
to Hong Kong and life normalised, all that remained of
the Club house were the 4 walls. Bishop Valtorta asked
Rita Xavier to help him rebuild the Club. Through her
connections in the building trade, Rita was able to bring
the Club house back to its pre-war state. Rita was President
of the Club for 10 years in those early post war days.
I understand Betty Baptista is presently running the Club.