God in His mission with the Homeless in Kamagasaki Osaka


 Sr. Rosa showing the picture of Saint Teresa in Kamagasaki

When Mother Teresa came to Japan in 1981, she described the spiritual hunger found in the prosperous Japan. Quoted from the article of Sophia University, here are the words that she shared with the audience, “The poor people are not only those who are hungry for bread of those who have to live on the streets. The people who hunger for love, the people who have been rejected by society, are much poorer—even when they are living in the midst of abundance.”


 Five members of the Shotoku Gakuin Catholic Club together with Miss Kawakami and I had a chance to cook and serve food to the homeless along the Kamagasaki area in Osaka on November 3, 4 and 5. Saint Teresa visited this same place when she was in Japan. The students were surprised to know that homelessness is an existing reality in their country, especially when they watched for the first time the video clips of the destitute people in Tokyo shared by Sr. Flor Florece, FI. 

 Can this really be a thinkable reality in a thriving country like Japan? Just a bit of a background, Kamagasaki has been an overcrowded slum by the Osaka freeway, where companies pick up day laborers, (homeless) for odd jobs to avoid long-term employment. Things get worse in times of economic downturn and the result –increasing number of homeless. The majority of the destitute in Kamagasaki is male and elderly camping out in cardboard boxes or sitting motionless waiting for the day to pass. They have different backgrounds and stories to listen to. Some of them were rejected and neglected by their own families, and some could no longer afford the high standard of living in their own land.

Homelessness is a prevailing issue, not only in Japan, but also in the world. Moreover, you can’t truly grasp how it affects someone’s life until they lead you around and show you what their life is really like. Let the pictures and the reflections written by the students speak about God in His mission.