Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

Sr. Veronica Kataoka

I was baptized before I was born. Really???

Sr. Johanella:  Therese Marie (aka Sr. Veronica), what does it mean, you were baptized before you were born?

Sr. Veronica:  No, the third day after my birth. But I don’t remember!

Sr. Johanella:  When is your birthday?

Sr. Veronica:  February 5, 1932, which is in Japan the feast of the 26 Martyrs.

Sr. Johanella:  Your baptism was January 25, 1932 and your birthday is January 23rd.

Sr. Veronica:  I was really born on January 23rd and the third day I was baptized.  People say that a baby should be baptized soon after birth, otherwise, if they die without baptism the soul might go to limbo.

And a little later they reported my birth and that date was February 5th. So, therefore, official birthday is several days after my baptism. In my hometown, there are many of these situations.

[In the year 1950 our congregation started an aspirant school in Himeji.  In the very first days, Sr. Johanella was taking care of the aspirants.]

Encountering the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis

In 1948 Sisters Clementia and Polycarpa came from China (where they could no longer stay) to see how Japan might be as their next mission.  That time I met they for the first time in Nagasaki.  My first impression was that they were not Sisters, but Brothers because I never saw tall women before.

On February 2, 1950, the aspirant school began in Himeji and our aspirancy began.  We were six aspirants.  Almost everything was in English in our daily living.  We had very little knowledge of English and the Sisters knew very little Japanese.  When we needed to communicate very important things, we had to ask a priest who knows both languages to translate.  After Novitiate I went to Tokyo to study nursing.

In September 1964 I was invited as a guest for the General Chapter in Germany and after that I was allowed to go to the U.S.A. (which was our founding Province) and remain for two and a half years.  I could experience in both Germany and the United States the people’s deep faith and love.  I envied the fact that there were many “older” Sisters in both Provinces I had visited.  Until that time I had not seen older Sisters.  When I returned  to Japan I asked the American Provincial, Sr. Noel, to send two or three of these older Sisters to Japan, but this request was not met because of language and cultural barriers.

Present Time – 2011

I have the role of Novice Directress for our Province; the Novitiate consists of Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese novices.  I called it the Asian International Novitiate!  This interculturality has been in existence for several years.

My Dream

My dream is the dream of Jesus which is the flowering of the congregational charism in God’s time and place.  And this dream might possibly occur through difficult and bitter times and places.