Mystery Hong Kong woman gives Irish church 100,000 euros

The mystery woman, believed to be visiting an ill relative, hands the priest a cheque for €100,000

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 April, 2013, 6:02am

You could call it manna from heaven, a parish priest in Ireland got the shock of his life last week when a mystery woman from Hong Kong appeared on the doorstep of his church and handed him a €100,000 (HK$1 million) donation.

The cheque was delivered in person to Father Sean Hanafin, of St John's Catholic Church in the town of Tralee, southwest Ireland. He said he was amazed when it cleared.

Hanafin - refusing to disclose any details that might identify the woman, who has insisted on anonymity - said he could only speculate as to why she decided to be so generous.

"I think she needed to be in Tralee, possibly [because of] somebody that was in hospital, probably walked down the town," he said. "We're on the main street, she saw the church and walked in.

"And somehow she connected with God through the angels in the entrance to St John's."

The secret good Samaritan was related to someone in the Chinese restaurant business in Kerry county - which encompasses Tralee - and had visited the area before, a media source in Ireland revealed. On this occasion, she was believed to have been visiting an ill relative.

The source said the woman initially phoned St John's from Hong Kong about the donation before later giving the cheque in person. The bank issuing the cheque was not named.

It was all academic to Hanafin, though, who was just happy to find that Christian charity was still alive and well despite all the rigours of modern life.

"People walk in every day to every church; we don't know what goes on in people's lives. We all have our own prayer space and that's what we need to do, we need to reflect," he said.

"And this was a time that obviously she needed some reflection; she needed to be in touch with something else more than the day-to-day issues of life."