As we prepare to gather with loving family members and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, we also remember those who started their lives without these vital support systems.
In Japan’s Kamakura Home for Abandoned Children, where Sister Kathleen Reiley, M.M. has been on mission for the last forty years, young orphans are grateful for the warm and friendly atmosphere offered to them, despite their troubled beginnings. And because of your generosity, they will have even more to be grateful for this year.
Many who benefited from Sister Kathleen’s decades-long investment of love and compassion originally came from homes of abuse and neglect, often with little or no contact with any relatives after arriving at the Kamakura Home.
“Now some of them introduce me to their friends as ‘grandmother’.” Sister Kathleen says.
One example is a woman by the name of Arisa. Arisa met Sister Kathleen when she was four years old. She was brought to the Kamakura Home after police found Arisa and her little brother, Taro in a park having run away from their physically abusive mother.
While in the Kamakura Home, their basic needs of shelter, food, and clothing were met. But because of Sister Kathleen, they also received encouragement, hope and stability.
“Arisa stayed with us until she was 18, then moved on in life to have two children of her own. She raised them as best she could and vowed she would never leave or hurt them. I recently had the chance to meet her youngest, a daughter named Chisako, and attend a special festival at Chisako’s elementary school.” (See the picture below!)
Arisa’s brother Taro also maintained a connection with Sister Kathleen into his adulthood, although he sadly died at the age of 42 from cancer.
People like Arisa, Taro and others who received childhood care from Sister Kathleen and the Kamakura Home team are then more inspired and equipped to care for others as adults.This is how Maryknoll Sisters on mission change the world — one child, one life at a time — and this is what you enable when you share even a portion of your bounty with us.
Thank you so much for joining the Sisters in protecting human dignity and caring for God’s creation in our “One Earth Community”. Your friendship is a blessing we thank God for this Thanksgiving.