Joy and Hope


On September 8th, 1965 I left Tokyo for Susono after a year teaching at the International School as a missionary volunteer and entered the Society as a postulant. With me were two Japanese and one Filipina. It is amazing and "unbelievable" that it is already 42 years ago.

This summer 2007 I was asked to prepare a presentation for the children coming to our annual International Summer Camp. The theme was chosen from the bishop's annual New Year's letter ―"The Way to Joy and Hope"―"Yorokobi to Kibo e no Michi". A Japanese seminarian, a Canossa Filipina sister and I were to share about our vocations and missionary life in the light of the joy and hope that keep us committed to our lives and apostolates.

As I reflected over my whole lifetime the assignment given me turned into a wonderful blessing. I felt amazed at and overwhelmed by the incredible love that I have received from my parents, siblings, relatives, teachers, RSCJ, and friends. Even as a stubborn and selfish youngster, I experienced over and over the forgiveness and unconditional love of my father and mother. Over the years of study and prayer the image of a mother-father God has taken root in my heart.

From my family up-bringing to boarding school, I discovered the Heart of God and Jesus and the call to live my life in prayer and apostolic mission with the Sacred Heart community of sisters. In college I read the biography of St. Philippine Duchene, prayed more about a possible contemplative order, and then had a sense that the Society is the home of my heart, and did not waver any longer.

Indeed, as we sang at the recessional of our first vow ceremony, "It's a long, long road to freedom, a winding steep and high"....With the joy of faith in our God, and the hope that all is possible with God, I give thanks for the love, the call, the education and the mission that I have received so abundantly.  (G.H.H.)