Did you know the disadvantaged women and men who have become homeless in Tokyo are nearly all middle aged? Unemployment, poor health, abuse and other difficulties have landed them in the streets.
Sister Rachel Lauze, MM shares how she uses ‘Art Making for Health’:
“One day while I was visiting in a shelter for homeless women in the big city of Tokyo, my lack of fluency in the Japanese language brought a conversation with one of the women to a halt. The woman longed for our friendly connection to continue. She brought out a piece of paper and began drawing what she wanted to convey. I responded with an image as well. This was a key moment that unlocked a two-way door….
Fourteen years have passed and over 600 sessions of mutual art making have taken place with women recovering from various sorts of trauma. The trauma is something they cannot or choose not to share in words. A regular ‘Friday Group’ has evolved and new comers are introduced to this day as one of “Art Making for Health”. Of the three women currently in the Friday Group at the shelter, two have been rehabilitated and moved into their own apartment with government social welfare support. Yet they requested to be allowed to continue coming to the women’s shelter every Friday.
You see, there are many degrees of homelessness. You don’t have to be sleeping out in the street on a piece of cardboard. You can have a room to live in, but that doesn’t make it a ‘home’. Without family and social connections, you are still feeling in some way homeless. This is why the women come on Fridays to where a community of friends exists: a place of safety and acceptance, a place where one’s creative art expressions are witnessed and efforts appreciated.”
Your gift will give the homeless a place that feels like home.
Art Therapy creates a physiological response of relaxation and improves blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. But more than this, drawing, painting, cutting and pasting of images touch the mind and heart and soul in healing and life-giving ways.
Sr. Rachel has been on mission in Japan for over 15 years. In addition to Art Therapy, Sr. Rachel aids day labourers (people finding work a day at a time) and street people. Among other things she helps prepare and serve food for the homeless men and women who come to the center.
God bless you for your support of our Sisters and our ministries. We keep you in our prayers each day.