Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis
In the Japanese Province, Sr. Barbara Suzaka is well known as a sister of "Pastoral Care". She has been working for 16 years in the pastoral care department in St. Francis Hospital. Sr. Barbara said, "I am only a channel of God. I am only a messenger of God's love. I'd like to proclaim God to all people for the Kingdom of God."
Sr. Barbara was born in Niigata in 1934. Her father was a Protestant. But as far as Sr. Barbara knew, he seemed to be a Buddhist. Others her family were Buddhist.
When she was a high school student, she had a chance to visit the Catholic Church through her teacher. She studied Catechism for two years. One day a priest asked her, "Which man will go to heaven: the man who is a Catholic but a sinner, or the man who is a Buddhist but a good man?" This was a test for her Baptism. She answered, "I think both of them. The man who is a Catholic but sinner will be helped by many other Catholic's prayers. So he will converse to God. The man is a Buddhist but good man will be treated by God, because God is Love." After that the priest said to her, "You can be baptized" This was a turning point of her life.
After graduation from high school, Sr. Barbara entered college of nursing. She had various meetings and partings there. She learned Catechism, shared daily schedule and visited patients with a catholic nurse who also lived in the dormitory. For Sr. Barbara it was a good experience. She made up her mind naturally, "I want to become a sister and help poor souls." She entered our community in 1958 and took her first vow in 1961.
Since 1961 up to now, Sr. Barbara has been working in the hospital as a nurse, administrator, head official and specialist of pastoral care.
Her favorite Word is: "I am thirsty."(John19:28). She says "This Word is my anchorage. I recall our Lord's passion with this Word. Whenever I pray this Word, I feel that the thirst of my soul is healed."
She continues, "I pray that God bless all people whom I meet today, and I entrust all people to the sacred heart of Jesus who may be dying some where in the world."