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80th Anniversary of the Arrival of the First Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame in Japan


This year, the Congrégation de Notre-Dame is very pleased to commemorate the 80 years of missionary presence in Japan. In view of the delicate situation following the nuclear disaster, especially in the Fukushima area, celebrations will be held in simplicity but with an immense sense of thanksgiving!
In May 1932, the Congrégation de Notre-Dame made the decision to open a mission in Japan. The first missionaries, Sisters Sainte-Marguerite-de-l'Enfant-Jésus (Rose Cauchon), Sainte-Marie-Damase (Marie-Laura-Émérence Gauthier-Landreville), Saint-Arcadius (Marcelline Olivier), Sainte-Jeanne-d'Aza (Antoinette Castonguay) and Sainte-Agnès-de-la-Charité (Agnès Ponton) left Montreal on October 2, 1932. They arrived in Fukushima on October 20 at 3:00 p.m.
Some years later, war broke out and life became very difficult for the Sisters. It was only through the Japanese novices' loyalty and consideration that the Canadian Sisters survived the war. During that time, the Fukushima convent was used as a prison. After the war it served as an orphanage before becoming a school once again.
Through the years, the Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame in Japan opened other schools and began working in other parishes. Their missionary zeal also took them to South Korea (1970 - 1972) and later to Paraguay (1997 - 2006).
Currently, about 70 Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame pursue their mission of liberating education in the Land of the Rising Sun. They are responsible for the direction of: Margarita Kindergarten in Chofu on the outskirts of Tokyo; Sakura No Seibo Kindergarten, Elementary and High Schools and College in Fukushima; Meiji Gakuen Elementary and High Schools in Kitakyushu.

At the beginning of October 2012, the members of the General Council of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame will travel to Japan on an official visit. Various activities and events, which began on September 8, will highlight the 80th anniversary and will continue until October 28 in the cities of Tobata, Fukushima and Chofu (Tokyo). The Eucharistic celebration will of course be the primary event in each region. Official meetings with Sisters and Associates, with students, administrations and teachers of the schools, as well as with the many friends and collaborators of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, will take place. In their travels, the visiting Sisters will undoubtedly have the opportunity to see remaining traces of the 2011 tsunami and the reconstruction projects that were started immediately after the disaster.
For further information on the mission of education of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame in Japan, Sakura no Seibo College in Fukushima, go to:

Les pas de Marguerite Bourgeoys dans les sentiers du Japon, by Rose Cauchon, CND, 1982.

The Spirit at Work in the East, Faith Stories and Roads to the CND, by Twenty-four Japanese CND Sisters, CND, 2001.


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