“My approach is different from (that of) other missioners; my way is a slow and hidden way. I want to make relationships in quiet ways, and then deliver the message that our strength, our hope, is that God loves us.”
Sister Aiko Oyabu was born in a small Japanese village with no exposure to the Christian faith until her older sisters entered a mission school. After Sister Aiko attended the mission school she found herself drawn to the Catholic faith and ultimately to Maryknoll, which she entered in 1963.
Sister Aiko’s first assignment in 1966, was to Japan. Sister Aiko spent the next five years teaching junior high school English and Christian Ethics classes at the Maryknoll Girls School in Yokkaichi, Japan. She then earned her B.A. in English Literature at Seisen Women’s College and continued to teach until she was assigned to Bolivia in 1984.
There Sister Aiko threw herself wholeheartedly into pastoral work and the formation of Basic Christian Communities, serving the poor and isolated and seeking, in her own, quiet way, to bring into their lives the light and the friendship of Christ. Sister had a special tenderness for children, so it was difficult for her to be faced, on a daily basis, with the poverty and hardship, the drugs and dangers, confronting young Bolivians. Sister Aiko persisted in her work with all the greater love and hope, adding to her pastoral work home visits and a particular attention to the youth.
In 1996, Sister Aiko was reassigned to Japan. Working there with Bolivian and Peruvian immigrants, as well as for the physically and mentally handicapped, Sister Aiko faithfully witnessed, for another ten years, to the love of God in the lives of the marginalized and forgotten.
Today Sister Aiko is a joyful and active member of the Maryknoll Center community; she has been a devoted volunteer in the nursing home ever since her retirement in 2006.