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(ANS – Miyazaki) – Yesterday Sunday 10 June Feast of Corpus Christi, the Sisters of Charity of Jesus celebrated the 75th anniversary of their being founded at Miyazaki. Of the thousand or so Sisters (SCJ) in the world, almost 250 religious from 11 countries took part in the festivities also held in Miyazaki.
Celebrations began with a Mass of Thanksgiving at which the Bishop of Oita, Mons. Paul Sueo Hamaguchi presided and the concelebrants were the Salesian Bishop emeritus of Takamatsu Mons. Francis Xavier Osamu Mizobe, the Salesian Provincial of Japan Fr Aldo Cipriani, and 7 other priests. Special guests included the Japanese Provincial of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians Sr Francesca Yukiko Wakamatsu, and the Superior General of the Sisters of the Visitation of Japan, the Institute which welcomed the first novices of the Congregation of the CSJ at the time of the foundation.
During the Mass there were some moments of reflection on the progress made by the Congregation. Bishop Mizobe spoke about the origin of the Congregation mentioning the writings of Venerable Fr Vincenzo Cimatti and the intentions of the Salesian missionary Fr Antonio Cavoli. Mass ended with the reading of a message sent for the joyful occasion by the Rector Major of the Salesians Fr Pascual Chàvez.
After the Mass the Sisters celebrated with the children, the elderly and the personnel of the Congregation with dancing and games. In the evening the festivities continued among the CSGJ themselves: Sisters from each country or Province spoke about their culture and showed in a variety of ways their gratitude for these 75 years of witnessing Charity.
The day ended with the Good Night by the Superior General, Mother Apollinaris Shimura, who referring to the Feast of Corpus Christ said: “From the beginning of its foundation, the Blessed Sacrament, the sacrament of love and of unity, was placed at the centre of the life of the Congregation. I am really happy because we can express our thanks for the grace received together with all the Sisters gathered throughout the world, and we can see the way the link between us has been strengthened.”
The Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus began - with the name of the Sisters of Charity of Miyazaki – on 15 August 1937. At the start of that year, Fr Cimatti, reflecting on the nationalistic political climate developing in Japan suggested to Fr Cavoli the founding of a new Congregation of women. After repeated suggestions by Fr Cimatti, the third time Fr Cavoli took up the idea with the words of St Peter: “at your word, I will cast the net” (Lk 5, 5).
As their mission the SCJ have the propagation of the faith through works of Charity and as their charism they are called to be zealous for the glory of God and full of a spirit of sacrifice and of work. At present they are in 13 countries in the five 5 continents. Since 1986 they have been part of the Salesian Family and in 2008 the Generalate was transferred for Japan to Rome. The change of name– from “Sisters of Charity of Miyazaki” to “Sisters of Charity of Jesus” – took place in 2009.