Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

Sister M. Benedicta

My Name is Sister M. Benedicta Nakaie Miyuki. My family members are Buddhists, especially my grandfather, who earnestly helped to care for the believers in a Jodo-shinshu-temple to which he belonged.

My way to the religious life: When I was in my 5th year of elementary school, the World War Second began, which gave me a terrible shock. I thought that it is a serious problem for Japan. Even though I was a child I thought I must do something.  I wanted to become an army nurse, and to work in the war area. I am short, so I couldn’t go to the Japanese Red Cross Society which required a certain height for nurses. At that time, I lived in Fukuoka, where there was the Kyushu University Nursing School. I wanted to enter this Nursing school, so I studied hard in order to pass the entrance Examination.  Fortunately, I passed the exam, but soon after that the war ended. After I graduated from the Nursing school, I worked for two years at the University Hospital.  Then I was introduced to work at the newly established University Hospital in Tottori, where I stayed for 5 years. At this time I met Father Mesner, S.J.. People called him a Saint. I was baptized by him. As my baptismal Name, I asked to have Anne, in honor of a woman who   cared the leprosy patients.

I was longing for the religious life, so I returned to Fukuoka and started to work again in Kyushu University Hospital.  In Fukuoka there are many religious communities, since one of my friends was Franciscan, I looked for a community of Franciscan Sisters. I found “Hospital Sisters of St. Francis” in a calendar book.

I wanted to visit the convent in Himeji, so one evening after my work I took a night train from Fukuoka, and at 4:00 a.m. the next morning I arrived in Himeji station. I took a taxi to get to St. Mary’s Hospital. Driving a country road, I found shabby wooden building. In front of the entrance, there was a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. No one was there and I could open the door, and I found the chapel-like room. Sisters went into the room, so I followed them. After morning prayer and the Mass, an older Sister, who appeared to be the superior, asked me whether I had a letter of introduction. I was surprised to hear this unexpected question, soon I returned to Fukuoka. I was a member of the Third Order Lay Franciscans, so I asked Father Nagel to write an introduction letter. With this letter I again visited Himeji, then I was invited to work at St. Mary’s hospital.

Soon I wrote a letter of resignation at Fukuoka and explained my plan to start to work at St. Mary’s Hospital.

When I told my mother that I was going to the convent, she cried for a long time, but in her later years she told others “my daughter has chosen a happy life”.

I made my first vows in 1959 and have been completely happy. Last year I celebrated my 60-year Diamond Jubilee. I fully realize this is God’s grace.