The love of Christ impels us to manifest His tenderness and love.
Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres
Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres
SPC-Japan …..A spark of light that continues to shine ….
A spark of light from 1878 had brightened darkness and continues to shine all throughout these 132 years of existence in a country with minority of Catholics. The Sisters of St. Paul of Charters (SPC) in Japan are among the SPCs in 35 countries that spread out light of faith in the 5 continents of the world. It was in 1848 when our Congregation responded to the call of the Far East thus from the first SPC-mission in Levesville light traveled fast to Hong Kong,, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Thailand, China, and the Philippines.
Upon the invitation of Monsignor Osouf, the first community of three SPC Sisters was installed in Hakodate, north of Japan. The first apostolate started with an orphanage in 1878. It was called “Babies Home” and later expanded to “Day Service” where they did not only provide home for the babies but also train young mothers to be responsible and effective care-givers. Truly enough this mission has fully grown and continue to yield rich harvest. It seems that many former recipients of this social work apostolate have successfully build homes of their own and continue to connect with the SPC Sisters with deep gratitude.
Surprisingly I was invited to a mission in Japan at age 46? End of school year 2006-2007. God’s grace worked mysteriously and timely on the “kairos” when my heart was full of gratefulness for the many blessings received for 23 years spent back home and equally 23 fruitful years with our SPC family. That was also the special year of St. Paul, our patron and great missionary.
Inspired by the words of Bishop Rooker … “ It was the good Lord who have chosen you, make Jesus known and loved in Japan….” and the generosity of the Philippine province to send out missionaries, I came to Japan on August 20, 2007 with the song of the “Magnificat” in my heart. Although I personally believed of being a missionary to my own country faced with widespread poverty, yet I felt a stronger call to serve the greater Church with no territorial boundaries.
Being a missionary to Japan, a first world country with minority of Catholics, I realized that I had first to immerse myself to its culture, language, traditions, diversities, and practices otherwise, I felt like a fish out of the water.
Responding to the needs of the present society, the SPC-Japan constructed the CARITAS home for the elderly within the grounds of Sendai College in 2005. This institution also serves as practicum and training for our students who are taking up Comprehensive Welfare who after graduation can get a license for care giving. Some of our elderly but still able SPC Sisters work here as volunteers. They assist in taking care of the elderly, help in the monthly mass, and more importantly make Christ present and felt by their joyful and prayerful presence. In Japan retirement is strictly implemented even to the SPC Sisters. However some Sisters in spite of retirement age still try to make themselves useful inside the convent or do some volunteer work.
At present there are 133 SPC Sisters distributed in thirteen houses in Japan. Among the 133 Sisters, there are 129 Japanese Sisters and 4 Foreigners (3 Koreans and 1 Filipina) two of whom are missionaries from Korea and Japan. With St. Paul on his 2000th birth anniversary, I came to Japan on August 20, 2007 as a missionary ready to do whatever is necessary, available to the call of the Spirit, making "all things to all people" (1Cor. 9:22).
It is the love of Christ that brings us hope to work together to make Christ known and felt.
SR. BERNADETTE PADAWEL, SPC-JAPAN March 29, 2010
In order to contribute to Japan’s growth, a first world country, the Sisters have also engaged to the mission of Education. This is the major apostolate of SPC-Japan until now. The Sisters run 8 schools in basic education from kindergarten, elementary, and high school level and 2 higher institutions. These ten schools are located in Hakodate, Morioka, Sendai, Tokyo, Gora, Shonan and Yatsushiro. Our schools in Japan are called Shirayuri which means white lily, the flower and color that represents dignity, integrity.
One Japanese Sister said there are so many missionaries in Japan but the work is minimal It’s true yet I discover everyday that evangelization in this modernized country is not really aimed at converting people to Christianity but making them experience Christ, His person and message through our witnessing. I always feel truly happy every time I see our non-catholic Shirayuri students, parents, teachers and many Japanese people fold their hands fervently with closed eyes in prayer and make the sign of the cross. For me this is a sign of hope.
My challenging moments moved me to be intimate with God, stay close to Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit to guide every movement and action I do for the good of our congregation, the Church and Christ’s mission. I am blessed that God never fails. His faithfulness and goodness come through kindness of people, events and circumstances seem to fall at the right time, right place and space.
DEO GRATIAS SERVITIO CARITATIS!
MY MISSIONARY EXPERIENCE IN JAPAN
Sr. Bernadette Padawel, SPC
“Lord where do you want me to serve you?” This has always been my usual prayer at the end of every school year.