Sister Elizabeth (Liz) Kato
Current Ministry Location: Maryknoll Sisters Center-Maryknoll, NY
Sister Elizabeth was born in Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii on May 13th, 1939 to Setsuko Kato and Keichi Kato; she had three brothers and one sister. In 1957, she graduated from St. Anthony’s High School..
Sister Elizabeth entered the Congregation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY on September 2nd, 1957. She pronounced First Vows June 24th, 1960 and Final Vows June 24th, in 1966, both at the Sisters Center. Since joining the Congregation, Sister Elizabeth has continued to make God’s love visible in her mission country, Japan.
After obtaining a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Rogers College located on the property of the Sisters Center she was assigned to Japan in 1967. Following language study, was assigned to Yokkaichi in 1968 where she taught at the Maryknoll Girl’s school. Her mastery of both the English and Japanese language allowed her to teach not only secondary school students, but adults as well.
In 1974, Sister Elizabeth obtained a Master of Arts Degree in English/Second Language from the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI. Then in 1979, she earned a Certificate from Central Islip Psych Hospital, Central Islip, NY in Clinical Pastoral Education.
In 1984, she focused her attention in Tokyo where she supervised a daycare center for skid row elderly. During this time, she also taught English at a Buddhist junior college, a vocational training school for homeless teenagers, and at a nursing school.
With the influx of migrant workers from the Philippines to Japan in 1999, she joined the Solidarity Center in the Yokohama Diocese to work at the Philippine Desk. She accompanied migrant women who had been abused by their husbands or partners or employers. She also translated case histories, newsletters and reports from Japanese to English.
Sister Elizabeth divided her ministries into four groups where each one catered to the needs of the people whom she shared her life with. She was part of Kalakasan, a migrant women empowerment center where she provided administrative, financial and networking tasks and participated in a bicultural program designed for traumatized children who had witnessed their mothers being battered. She found time to be part of the Oriens Institute for Religious Research publication Japan Mission Journal of which she was a member of the editorial board involved in editing, proofreading and planning for future articles. She also belonged to the Japan Catholic Lay Missionary Movement where she worked with the formation team that trains people for overseas mission in Southeast Asia. She concentrated on helping them improve their English Communication skills. As a member of the Philippine Center at Maryknoll Tokyo, she did migrant outreach, counseling and visiting migrants at police stations and detention centers, as well as engaging in religious education in Japanese for children of migrant workers who haven’t been able to fit into the regular parish system.
In 2017, she was assigned as Personnel Director of the Congregation at the Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY.