MISSION OF JAPAN
Our apostolic zeal knows no boundaries,
neither that of race nor of peoples.
Before the Pacific War, Monsignor Taguchi, Archbishop of Osaka, asked Mother Saint Paul, Provincial Superior of Sainte-Hyacinthe, to send sisters to teach in his diocese. This wish was finally realized after the war in 1948.
Mother Saint Paul, Provincial Superior of Sainte-Hyacinthe
The first Missionaries
Nine sisters in two groups crossed the Pacific Ocean by boat. They settled in Osaka and looked for a suitable site for school, which was not an easy task. They had to go through great difficulties of the postwar confusion. Nevertheless a kindergarten was opened in Abeno parish in 1952. Another one started in Sakai in 1954, which later developed into the primary, secondary and high schools under the name of “Kenmei” taken from the litany of Our Lady “Virgin Most Prudent”.
Expelled from the Communist China, the C.I.C.M. priests had just arrived in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture next to Osaka. As they were looking for some teaching sisters, our Congregation accepted to start a high school also under the name of Kenmei. It developed into an educational institution that produced more than 11,000 graduates during these 70 years.
At present the schools are in the hands of lay-teachers who carry on the zeal of Christian education of the young people. The retired sisters help them in various ways: helping children in need of particular care, accompanying students from foreign countries, giving talks to the parents and to the graduates, etc. And finally with hands always raised in prayer, they commit themselves “evermore deeply and more efficaciously in the plan of Redemption for our world.”(C133)
Japan was a region attached to the Province of Sainte-Hyacinthe until 2018, when it was constituted as a Mission attached to the General House. More than thirty missionary sisters from Canada, the USA and the Philippines came to make Jesus Christ known and loved in this Far East country where the Catholics count only 0.4 % of the population. They left a great deal of influence on those who had come in contact with one or other of them.
Since 1951 when the novitiate was opened, 37 Japanese sisters made profession. Some Vietnamese young ladies came to enter since 2005. Three of them are now temporary professed sisters. In collaboration with the Province of the Philippines, a House for the Vocation Ministry has been opened in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. May “God initiate the call and also inspire the response” (C114) in the heart of many young ladies in and out of the country.