聖ヨハネ会St. John's Congregation

福音史家聖ヨハネ布教修道会The Missionary Sisters of St. John the Evangelist

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戸塚文卿師Fr. Bunkei Totsuka
ギカ師Monsignor Vladimir Ghika
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創立者 マザー岡村ふく

Founder Mother Fuku Okamura

  • Fuku together with her mother, father, brothers, nephews and neices両親、兄弟、姪、甥たちと共に、前列中央がふく
  • As a young girl少女時代
  • During her school days女学生時代
  • Together with Srs. Totsuka and Murai before the augeration of Sakuramachi Hospital桜町病院創立前、Sr.戸塚、Sr.村井と共に
  • As an aspirant志願者の時
  • During the construction of Konohara Gakuin甲の原学院の時代
  • Mother in later years晩年のマザー岡村
Alt Tag
 岡村ふくは、明治32年6月3日、父竹四郎、母政子の5番目の子供として誕生しました。
 
 生後一週間目に洗礼の恵みを受けたふくは、幼い頃から、いつも両親に連れられて神田のニコライ堂へ熱心に通い、日々の生活を通して信仰は育まれてゆきました。
 
 楽しかった小学校を卒業して、香蘭女学校、聖心女子学院の英文科専門学校へと進みました。
 
 この聖心女子学院の少人数で充実した学生生活の中で、とくにマザースから受けたさまざまの教えや生き方によって、ふくは自分が変えられていくのを感じました。キリストのみ教えを宣教するために遠い日本へ派遣されて今、私たちを単に学問のみでなく、キリストへの愛に強烈に駆り立てて下さる…彼女たちをあのように燃え立たせているものは何なのだろうか。…そんな思いがふくの心にふつふつと、わいて来ました。


 卒業の年にふくはごく自然のことのようにカトリックへ改宗し、卒業後も 学校に残り、マザーの助手として、語学やカトリックの教えについての授業を受け持ちました。
GHIKA

 その後、長い間 病気の床にありましたが、ある日ルーマニアから来られた司祭モンセニョール・ウラジミル・ギガが持ってこられた主の茨の冠のご遺物によって奇跡的にいやされました。
 
 この出来事が真実だったということを、公表されるのをふくは控えていたようですが、数十年を経てから本人に確かめたところ、はっきりうなずいたと伝えられています。 

 岡村ふくの生家は関東大震災で全焼し、その後目黒区に居を移したことから、岡村家は摂理的に戸塚神父の西小山の教会と近くなりました。はじめは、岩下師が数人のグループのための聖書の勉強と、病気のふくのためにご聖体を運んで下さいましたが、そのうち、岩下師より依頼された戸塚師が、訪れるようになりました。ふくの家族との交流も深まり、父竹四郎は妻政子とともに岩下師と戸塚師の導きで、カトリックに改宗し、戸塚師の事業に援助を惜しみませんでした。健康を取り戻したふくは、戸塚師のたっての望みによって真剣にその事業に身を投じてゆきました。その頃彼女は26才位でした。
DOI
 戸塚師の帰天二ヶ月後に開院した桜町病院を見て、岡村ふくは心の内で「今こそ永年の望みがかなえられて観想修道会に入るときが来たのだ」と考えました。しかし、神のご計画はまったく別のところにありました。

 岡村ふくが一緒に働いていた戸塚富久とともに、土井大司教の所へ伺い、自分たちの希望を伝えると、大司教様は意外にも「それはいけません。あなた(岡村ふく)は聖ヨハネ会を創立して、桜町病院を経営して行ってください。」と答えられました。その時はなんともお返事ができず、そのまま桜町に帰って、数日間祈り、考えた末、自分個人の望みを押し通して観想修道会の門をたたくよりも、自分の望みを捨てて土井大司教のお言葉に従って、出来る限りを尽くすことの方が神のみ旨に従うこととなり、神に光栄を帰する道だとふくは結論しました。
 
 そして、聖ヨハネ会の直接の生みの親は土井大司教様であって、師はいつも有形無形の援助を惜しみなく与えてくださいました。」と言っています。
 
 「神様はたびたび小さな、つまらないものを通して大きな業をなさいます」と晩年、岡村ふくは度々語っていました。
マザー岡村
 土井大司教の命によって修道会の設立を要請された岡村ふくは、戸塚富久、村井しげと共にその準備を始め、指導司祭として着任された神言会のドイツ人司祭プンスマン師の協力によってまず最初に会則がつくられました。
 
 必要な書類をローマ聖座に提出し、会の創立の許可が届いたのは、1944年(昭和19年)2月、戦争もたけなわの時でした。同年6月8日、着衣式が行われ、最初の会員が誕生しました。戦争であらゆるものが次々と崩壊されてゆく時、日本の片すみに一つの小さな修道会が生まれたのです。

 「戦前、戦後の厳しい時代に、このような事情のもとにめばえたばかりの弱く貧しい聖ヨハネ会が、つぶれる事もなく、志願者の数も年毎に増えて行った事は、神の特別のご保護によるもので、聖ヨハネ会の設立が神のみ旨であった事を深く悟り、それにお答えするために、皆が一つの心となって、神への信頼を失わず、神と隣人への奉仕と宣教のため、出来る限りの努力をいたしました。それは、神の大きなお恵みによるものでした。」と、岡村ふくは、当時の事を語っています。
  桜町病院は、社会福祉法人聖ヨハネ会ができるまでは修道会が経営していましたが、経営者としての経験もまったくない一人の女性がその任を引き受けるには、神に対する深い信頼、まことの謙遜が必要でした。そのためにマザー岡村はどれほど真剣に祈ったことでしょう。周囲の人々は彼女が度々敬虔に祈っている姿を見かけました。

 これに応えるかのように、桜町病院は、戸塚師の友人たち、教会関係者、ふくの母校の方々、近隣の商店の方々など、各方面の善意あるご協力を頂いてスタートし、少しずつ充実していきました。


マザー岡村ふくの年表

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The Founder:
The Life Story of Mother Fuku Okamura


On June 3, 1899, Fuku Okamura was born to Takeshiro (a businessman) and Masako (an artist) Okamura. They were Orthodox. One week after her birth, Fuku was baptised at the St. Nicholas Church in Kanda, Tokyo.

Fuku was educated at St. Hilda’s School, established by Anglican missionaries. After she graduated, she made a campus visit with her friends to the Sacred Heart School in Tokyo and was “mistakenly” led to a classroom where an admission exam was taking place. She took the exam and several days later got a letter of admission from the school, which is now the University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo.

The “mistake” was actually made by a mother, newly arrived in Japan from Australia with little Japanese language skills. But she, along with other mothers, was the one who later inspired the young Fuku and led her to Catholicism. While she focused on her studies, she came to wonder what had brought these mothers all the way to Japan. To teach English and mathematics and other subjects? Yes, but it was not only that, for they had a conviction and passion she had never seen before. Fuku concluded that their conviction and passion were based on Christ’ love and she gradually drew closer to their faith.

In the year of her graduation, 1919, she was converted to Catholicism. After graduation she stayed in the school to assist the mothers in language and catechism classes.

Around that time Fuku came to suffer from caries, a bone disorder, and had to stop working at the Sacred Heart School. Then In 1923 the Great Kanto Earthquake shattered much of Tokyo. Fuku’s home was also burnt down. The Okamuras moved to Meguro, Tokyo, after losing their home. A group of Christians led by Fr. Iwashita often visited this new home of the Okamura’s to encourage Fuku, whose illness made her walking difficult and forced her to stay at home. They brought the Sacrament to her and did Bible study with her at her home.

In 1927 Dr. Totsuka moved his clinic to Senzoku, not too far from where the Okamuras lived. Fr. Iwashita also introduced Fuku to Dr. Totsuka who encouraged her to help him in his clinic. Fuku accepted the offer. She gradually learned the work and came to be involved in the clinic more seriously.

Five years later, the clinic was expanded and moved to Nishi-koyama, which was even closer to the Okamuras’ residence. From then on the relationship between Fr. Totsuka and the Okamuras grew firmer and finally Fuku’s parents were also converted to Catholicism. From then on Takeshiro, her father, generously supported Fr. Totsuka’s projects.

In this new phase of Fuku’s life, the Rumanian born Monsignor Vladimir Ghika came to Japan accompanied by three Carmel sisters in 1933. Msgr. Ghika was a close friend of Fr. Totsuka’s when he was in France. He visited the clinic in Nishi-koyama to enjoy a reunion with Fr. Totsuka. Fuku met Msgr. Ghika through Fr. Totsuka.

When Msgr. Ghika’s visit was close to its end, Easter was approaching. Fuku wholeheartedly prayed for nine days prior to the Easter. On the day of Easter, the Monsignor blessed those who attended the mass with the relic of the Holy Crown. Among them was Fuku, who after the blessing found herself walking with ease. She became even more committed to Dr. Totsuka’s project for the care of tuberculosis patients.

Tuberculosis was the typical epidemic in Japan around that time. Fuku went through many experiences with the patients and learned of their dire conditions. Most of the patients and their family were afraid to be known to have the lethal disease. Without help, they were isolated in poverty and hopelessness. She did all she could to
serve those people and, in turn, became even more humble. In the mean time, Fr. Totsuka’s work was ever growing and multiplying. He decided to open a new hospital in the suburb of Tokyo called Sakuramachi in Koganei. He worked frantically to bring the project to fruition. However, his hard work caught up with him and he had a series of heart attacks. In spite of Fuku and his other colleagues’ intense care, Fr. Totsuka passed away in August, 1939, only two months before the Sakuramachi Hospital was to be inaugurated.

Fuku saw the inauguration of the hospital. In the face of her mentor’s death and then the launch of the hospital, she thought it was time for her to enter the path of contemplation which she had long aspired to. She called upon Archbishop Doi to talk about her intent. The archbishop immediately opposed her idea. He urged her to found a community instead to take care of the patients and to direct the hospital. Unable to respond to his advice immediately, Fuku took his words back with her to Sakuramachi. She prayed for days and nights, contemplating what God’s plan for her would be. Finally she concluded that following the advice of Archbishop Doi, rather than pursuing her own wishes, would be the best way to honor God. Thus, the congregation of The Missionary Sisters of St. John the Evangelist was conceived. Fuku later reflected, “Archbishop Doi is the one who gave life to our congregation. He willingly gave us all the support, both tangible and intangible.” She often said, “God does great things through the insignificant.”

The following years Fuku was busy hatching the community while managing the hospital. Working closely with Fuku Totsuka, Shige Murai, and Father Punsmann from Germany, the necessary documents to start a congregation were compiled and sent to the Vatican through Archbishop Doi. Finally in February 1944 approval came from Rome and the following June, Fuku along with Shige and the other Fuku was professed.

Given the devastation of Japan in the midst of World War II, it was a miracle this small convent was born and survived. Needless to say, Fuku, with the support of her friends, alumnae, church members, neighborhood, and community, took painstaking labor to run the hospital during and post war.

In the following years, led now by the Mother Okamura, the members of the Missionary Sisters made strenuous efforts not only to run the hospital, but also to take care of war orphans. The congregation took over an orphanage in 1951, and in the following year their work was legally approved to be a social welfare organisation, now called St. John’s Society, as the new government’s social work law was enacted. In the mean time there was a strong need for special care for those who were intellectually challenged among the orphans. Trying to meet these needs, Mother Okamura and Sister Kawakubo went on a fund raising trip to the United States in 1954. Finally in 1956 their new institute for the intellectually challenged was opened in Hachioji, Tokyo.

In 1963 Mother Fuku Okamura was awarded a state medal for her contribution to social work - a reward for her and her congregation’s constant charity for the “least.”

Mother’s health had been deteriorating steadily. She had suffered headaches from herpes since 1958 but, despite this, she kept working tirelessly for more than a decade. She resigned her post as Superior General in 1973. Even after Mother Okamura retired from official work, she kept serving the patients and the congregation in various ways.

In 1982, embraced by God and cared by the sisters of the community, Mother Fuku Okamura’s life ended aged 82 at the very hospital she started. Her life was that of prayers and compassion for the least, particularly for the sick and marginalised. She committed her life to God’s plan rather than her own until her very last breath.

Chronology

「わたしは主のはしためです。お言葉どおり、この身になりますように。」  (ルカ 1:38)“I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Luke 1:38