Last month marked the 72nd anniversary of one of the great events in modern church history (though one that attracted little notice at the time). On January 25, 1944, an English-born bishop consecrated a Chinese woman to the Angli­can priesthood.

To understand just how radical a step that was, consider that it would be another 30 years before women attained that rank in the Episcopal Church in the United States, and not until the 1990s were women or­dained as priests in the Church of England.

Even had she not been a priest, the woman at the heart of the story, Florence Li Tim-Oi, deserves to be remembered as a potent symbol of Chinese Christianity during the 20th century.