The Fukushima nuclear disaster following the Japanese earthquake in March, 2011, continues to affect the lives of many people living nearby. Now, two orders of religious sisters have formed a new convent to support their work there and each other.
The Mission Congregation of the Servants of the Holy Spirit and the Society of the Sacred Heart have chosen Haramachi district of Minamisoma City for their new convent.
The location, some 245km northeast of Tokyo, is less than 25km from the reactor - within the area where residents who did not flee were advised to stay indoors as much as possible in the days following the accident to lessen the health risks posed by radiation.
Holy Trinity Convent, as the new institution is called, will be home to three nuns: Holy Spirit Sisters Kazue Hisamatsu, 75, and Setsuko Hayakawa, 74, as well as Sacred Heart Sister Chiaki Hatanaka, 62. They plan to begin their new communal life in October.
All three are currently working at a volunteer’s center called Caritas Haramachi Base, which the Catholic Church operates in Minamisoma City. The convent is located a mere five minutes from the base by car.
On September 8, Father Masayoshi Kariura, a priest from Nagoya diocese, presided over a ceremony to bless the new dwelling.Sr Tamiyo Murakami, Holy Spirit Sisters Provincial, says Fr Masayoshi told her last year that there was no convent in Minamisoma and that more volunteers were needed at the at Haramachi Base. That was the impetus for the Holy Spirit Sisters to send Srs Hisamatsu and Kayakawa. They arrived in April.
Photo: The blessing ceremony for the new Holy Trinity Convent
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