NEWS FROM JAPAN:   “ISOGASHII!”

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            The above word is a very common expression among the Japanese. It means "busy!!!!”(忙しい)。It is derived from two major Japanese characters:“心”(heart) and “death).  

"In our ‘busyness’ the heart can die!” said Sr. Yoli Brandolin, one of the members of the Formation Team of Akenohoshi Pre-School.  “So we are invited to 'rest’ for a while and like ‘children’ learn from Jesusfor His ‘yoke is easy’ and His “burden is light’” (Mtt. 11:25-30). Such was the “Mood Setting” for our formation activity held July 24 for fulltime teachers after a hectic first semester in the Japanese school calendar.

After watching a short video entitled, “The Potter”, a beautiful allegory on pedagogy, the teachers once again reviewed our document “The F.I. Way of Educating”. This time they focused more on the chapters “Our Educative Style” and “Agents of Education”.  The points for reflection were the following: Which do I believe am already living out? Which do I find difficult? What needs improvement or strengthening? Afterwards, there was small and big group sharing.

            “I believe that the children and their parents like the warm and joyful atmosphere in the Pre-School.”

            “The children feel they are loved individually and know God loves them.”

            “Each teacher do have the heart and the spirit of Mother Candida. We are busy but joyful in work.”

            “The difference of the attitudes and behavior of our graduates from other Pre-Schools are seen when they move to the elementary level.”

            “The difficulty is that the atmosphere in the home is different.”

        “Am concerned how to sustain their prayer life after they leave the school.”

            “At the end of the day it is good to evaluate ourselves on the points given.

            “It is good to involve the part-time teachers and parents too in this formation activity.”

            It was my first time to join the formation activity of the teachers of Akenohoshi, now our only Pre--School in Japan. Seated in the chapel with them for the culminating activity, I felt deeply consoled as I thanked the Lord for three things: First, for all the sisters who had “labored” hard in this educative mission the past sixty three years. Thanks to their dedication, the charism of Mother Foundress and our way of educating continue to be alive, dynamic and enculturated.  Second, for each of the teachers we have at present. They are Buddhists and Shintoists but like us, they too were called by the Lord to collaborate in His mission. The two who are Catholics are like “yeast” in their midst. Their great love for God, Mother Foundress and the Congregation are very evident and this is great witnessing to the others. Third, for the Formation Team comprising of both sisters and lay. I value the contribution of each one to the work entrusted to us since last year. It was an experience of mutual help in the midst of many limitations.

In a country like Japan where only .01 percent of the population is Catholic and the percentage

of Catholic teachers is even less, the challenges of the mission of  evangelization are even more pronounced. But the Lord continues to work miracles!

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 Mother Candida, continue to intercede for this small but beautiful vineyard of the Lord in Japan!