22 years in Japan
Sister Kathleen Stack, CSJ (USA)
1. Arrival and language study
After teaching sixth grade at St. Theresa's elementary school in Honolulu,
Hawaii, I was missioned to Japan by my Community (CSJ). Japan was very
different from Hawaii in it's culture etc. However, I was very excited
about my new mission and was determined to learn the Japanese culture
and language. I lived in Kyoto with other Sisters of St. Joseph and attended
the Protestant Language School for nearly two years. We had to learn to
speak, read and write in Japanese. It was a challenge but I enjoyed studying
2. Saint Joseph Joshi Gakuen
After language school, our senior high school in Tsu shi, Mieken was ready
to open and I was sent to Tsu to be the school office manager and music
director. We had wonderful Japanese teachers and staff and from them and
the students we learned more about the Japanese culture and people.
3. Takano Kyokai, Kyoto, Japan
After seven years in Tsu, I longed to be more closely connected with the
adult society...especially the poor. My superiors allowed me to serve
at Takano Kyokai for two years and it was there I really learned the language
and the culture of Japan. Previously, I had studied brush writing in Tsu
and in Kyoto I studied the Okoto and the tea ceremony.
4. Tokyo House of Studies. The Friendship Volunteers
After two years in Kyoto, I was asked to go to our Tokyo House of Studies
to be the administrator where seven of our young Japanese sisters were
attending various universities. One year later, another sister came to
replace me and I was free to stay in Tokyo and pursue my dream of working
with the poor. The Friendship Volunteers were founded and served with
a charismatic Protestant Minister, Rev. Reiji Takahashi. Eventually I
became the coordinator of the Friendship Volunteers which included about
200 volunteers from all religious sects and nationalities and served there
for eight wonderful years.
5. Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan
For three years, while with the Friendship Volunteers, I studied for my
Master's Degree in Social Welfare and graduated with my degree at Sophia
University. I returned to the United States for two years for health reasons.
On my return to Japan I was asked to develop a volunteer program at Sophia
University for the students. I had a wonderful assistant, Mrs. Chizuko
Kitajima, who helped me greatly during my time there. Eventually, the
university phased out the program to go in a different direction.
It was at this time after twenty-two years in Japan, I felt God was
calling me to return to the United States. It had been many years since
I have returned to the U.S. but my many memories of the beautiful people
of Japan will always be part of my life. I thank all of the Japanese people
whose lives have touched mine. I thank them for their patience, kindness
and sensitivity....God bless Them!!!