Asia

The School Sisters of Notre Dame were originally called to Japan in 1937. However, because of war, the establishment of the first mission in Kyoto was delayed for 10 years.

The call to Asia came after World War II in 1947, when a missionary from Belgium described the needs of the people to the St. Louis Province. The hardships of the Japanese people increased with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

Consider praying with our sisters from Japan as they remembered Hiroshima and Nagasaki through the recorded memories of Father Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

Mother Evangela Wagner accompanied sisters leaving for Japan in 1948. From left to right: Mother Evangela, Sisters Eugenia Laker, Mary Paul Niemann, Vivienne Hazelett, and Richard Ann (Mary Louise Fitzgibbon).
Mother Evangela Wagner accompanied sisters leaving for Japan in 1948.
From left to right: Mother Evangela, Sisters Eugenia Laker, Mary Paul Niemann, Vivienne Hazelett, and Richard Ann (Mary Louise Fitzgibbon).

In 1948, the first School Sisters of Notre Dame accepted the invitation to go to Kyoto, Japan. Today the Region of Japan has its own governance and elected leadership with a close relationship to the St. Louis Province as a “sub-unit.” (YAS #73)

In 1998, when the sisters of Japan celebrated their 50th anniversary, there were 82 Japanese sisters recognized as “pearls of great price.” These native sisters along with SSNDs from the United States ministered together in schools and related works. They established a junior high school in 1952, a senior high school in 1953, an elementary school in 1954, and a women’s college in 1961. Consider the remarkable ministry of SSNDs in Japan through a reflection by Sister Celine Matsumoto.

In 1961 sisters went to Okinawa. Their ministry of education and parish ministry continues to strengthen the people of Okinawa.

Sisters Ambrose Kawase, Evangela Imamura, Miriam Therese Kanaya, and Janet Tanaka established a mission in Nepal in 1983.
Sisters Ambrose Kawase, Evangela Imamura, Miriam Therese Kanaya, and Janet Tanaka established a mission in Nepal in 1983.

The School Sisters of Notre Dame in the Region of Japan extended their educational ministry to Nepal in 1983. Because of the Maoist threat to their school, the sisters had to leave Nepal, but then returned in 1991. Reflect on the experiences of two Japanese missionaries to Nepal, Sister Miriam Therese Kanaya and Sister Evangala Imamura. In 1996, the Region also responded to the call to Korea.

On May 9, 2000, four sisters from Baltimore and Dallas began a mission in Lahore, Pakistan. They had begun to adapt to this Muslim country, learning Urdu, and getting to know the people and culture. However, their sixteen-month stay was abruptly ended by the events of September 11, 2001, and the sisters returned home.

 

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