Click here to read this story - Journey of the Samurai
I was born in Hagi city, Yamaguchi province of Japan.
When I first met Good Shepherd Sisters I felt attracted to the mission of the sisters, as I saw them living out the spirit of Jesus the Good Shepherd. So, I joined the sisters, and made my first profession in June 1975. This means that I have been a Sister of the Good Shepherd for over 40 years.
Now I coordinate a Child Care Center in Sendai. The name of the Center is Sayuri Hoikuen (sayuri is a small lily). Our facility provides day care support for many children. Some are children from single parent families, some have disabilities, and some just need a loving home. Since the great earthquake which hit this northern part of Japan on 11 March 2011, we also focus on the care of earthquake victims and their families.
In one terrible situation, the earthquake damage left a single mother with four small children with nowhere to go. She had no help from the father of her four children and was rejected by her relatives. Also, she had been subjected to domestic violence by her husband. Finally, she was sheltered in a facility near our day care center.
The two younger children, three-year old girl and five-year old boy, joined our day care center in September, 2012. Because the boy had also been treated with violence by his father, when he first joined us he was almost totally withdrawn. He did not speak or show any emotion, nor any interest in doing anything at all.
We assigned a special care classmate for him who would take care of him and encourage him to join group activities or play. At first he refused but we consistently supported him and took care of him with great patience. Little by little he started to open himself to his classmate and participate in activities. Six months later, he entered the first grade of the elementary school.
Our success was due to team effort. My staff and I worked closely together, reporting and communicating with one another on the progress of the child. We believed it was essential to work as a team and take care of the mother, who had been a double victim of domestic violence and the earthquake. It took time, but with love, the mother and children have found their inner strength and have regained a sense of confidence, peace and self-worth. Now the mother has found a part-time job and is raising her four children on her own with some government assistance. We are especially happy with this outcome.
Saint Mary Euphrasia
Sister Joanna Esijema's creative idea of introducing the children attending the Child Care Center in Sendai to Sister Ana from Philippines brings new life and energy to the Bible lessons
Comprehensive overview from the GSAPP team - how Good Shepherd Partnership for Mission is developing in this region