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God in His mission with the Homeless in Japan

November 21, 2017

        When Mother Teresa of Calcutta came to Japan in 1981, she described the spiritual hunger found in prosperous Japan. “The poor are not only those who are hungry for bread or those who have to live on the street. People who are hungry for love, who have been rejected by society, are poorer – even living in the midst of abundance.”
        Five members of the Catholic Club of Shotoku High School with Professor Kawakami and Professor Carmela Rey, had the opportunity to cook and serve food to the homeless in Kamagasaki, Osaka from November 3 to 5. St. Teresa visited this same place when she was in Japan. The students were surprised. Can you think of a reality like this in a country as prosperous as Japan?
 Kamagasaki has been a crowded neighborhood next to the Osaka highway, where the Companies choose day laborers, (homeless) for some jobs and thus avoid long-term employment. Things get worse when the economic situation worsens and the result – increase in number of the “homeless”. The majority of the destitute are men and elderly people camping 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 forgotten by their own families, and others can not afford the high economic level in their own places.
        The homeless is a preponderant issue, not only in Japan, but in the whole world. However, one can not really grasp how it affects a person’s life, until they show you where they are and what their life is like. Let the photos and reflections written by the students speak about God in His mission.

        Reflections of the students …
Ayuka: “I have learned that I must value my life and what I have because things that are ordinary for me, for the homeless, are very special.”
Aira: “It was a very interesting and pleasant experience. It strengthens faith and affects daily life.”
Maui: “I was impressed to see one of the homeless giving his food to others. Thinking aloud, ‘he also needs food but gave his.’ This made me realize that the poor are also kind and attentive to others. I also have to share my food with others and not just think about myself. It has also given me the opportunity to deepen my friendship with Catholics and learn from them. This experience has brought me closer to God, in other clubs we can not have an experience like this.”
Wakako: It touched my heart to see kind people, like the volunteers, who support them. I felt ashamed when I saw the homeless. I have learned through this activity that God is always with us.
Sachi: I thought it was difficult to cut vegetables and serve food, but it was fun to do it with other members of the Catholic club and friends. The homeless were kind, I would like to help them again. I do not want others to treat them with prejudice. We must be compassionate with them. I have a great desire to help people in need, not only in Osaka but also in Shimane or Hiroshima (places closer) even in Shotoku.
        The seed of faith that has been planted by God through the Daughters of Jesus is now immensely evident in the lives of the students, teachers and the entire community of Shotoku School. Truly the spirit of St. Candida is still alive … because she said: “Where there is no place for the poor, there is no place for me”.